What we learned about ourselves in lockdown

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The past few months have been undeniably difficult for so many people around the country, and we’ve all been trying our best to navigate hard times. While the situation has been horrible, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it feels like we’ve all been paying more attention to our mental wellbeing, which I feel has been a silver living.

I’ve been writing a lot about mental health on my personal blog, so I thought it would be great to ask my fellow VL’ers what they’ve learned about themselves during lockdown. Here’s what they had to say:

Sally Newman, SEO Specialist

Sally Newman - SEO Specialist at Vertical Leap

“The one thing I learned about myself in lockdown is that my life is quite busy. Whilst that’s not necessarily a bad thing, by having less commitments and seeing people less has made me appreciate the things I have done and the people I have been able to see (from afar). I’m vowing to do less and perhaps say ‘no’ a little more.”

Lee Wilson, Head of Services

Sally Newman - Head of Services & SEO Specialist at Vertical Leap

“The one thing I learned about myself in lockdown is that small human interactions can have a big impact. When you are isolated from others it’s often the little things such as asking (or being asked) how are you are feeling, seeing if somebody needs a hand, and generally listening more attentively to answers is important. When you are busy it’s easy to ask questions like ‘are you ok?’ and ‘do you need help?’ without actually listening properly to the answer. I think many people are guilty of this – they want to know everything is fine, but often are looking to verify that it is, rather than explore the true answer. I’m certainly guilty of this, but trying to improve 😊.”

Michelle Hill, Marketing Manager

Michelle Hill - Marketing Manager at Vertical Leap

“The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself through COVID is that I CAN actually just be at home. Usually, I’d be planning stuff to totally fill my days, always thinking I need to get the most out of every day, go for a walk, go down the beach, get out on the board, etc. Since COVID, I have learned to happily sit in the garden for an hour or so and enjoy doing nothing a bit more. I mean I couldn’t do nothing all day, don’t get me wrong, but I can sometimes do nothing now.”

Matthew McCullough, PPC Specialist

“I’ve learned that I can still learn new stuff. I’ve been learning the guitar… at the beginning of lockdown, Henry (our Senior Data Scientist) kindly donated his old Squier Stratocaster that he no longer needed (repayment in the form of gin!) – since then I may have bought a second, and have been learning more!”

Kirsty McClean, Head of Creative

Kirsty McLean - Head of Creative at Vertical Leap

“I learned that when I have more time available (due to not commuting), I can finally get round to the things that are just for me, rather than only having time to prioritise work or things that benefit my family. I’ve taken up new hobbies, gotten involved in local politics, and started the process of getting fitter (couch to 5k) since March and feel like a much more well-rounded person because of it.”

Verity Maton, Web Developer

“I’m not sure that I’ve learned anything new about myself, but I have been able to work on myself in a way that I wasn’t able to before.”

As for me, I’ve learnt that I deserve to take time to myself, and that nurturing my health is the most important thing I can do. While it’s been great to keep busy and write on my blog, it’s been invaluable to rest, and invest my time in things I enjoy for myself and myself alone. For example, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time developing my painting skills while making my way through my bucketlist of films to watch, which has been great! By doing these simple things, I’ve been able to disconnect from the negativity that social media and news sites can bring, and that has improved my wellbeing massively.

Seren Kiremitcioglu profile picture
Seren Kiremitcioglu

Seren began her career in marketing and PR in her first year of university, diving headfirst into projects which needed writers, digital marketers, and PR outreach. Living in Plymouth at the time, Seren attended hundreds of shows across the city for local companies such as Barbican Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth. After quickly gaining traction with her skills and reputation, she began working professionally for newspapers, blogs, magazines, digital companies, and other online publications. Seren was soon headhunted to work full-time for the University of Plymouth’s Student Recruitment Campaigns team. Here she worked on national advertising campaigns involving print publications, large outdoor advertising, online strategy, and content creation. In her spare time, Seren writes for her own blog on mental health and disability advocacy, championing for the end of stigma and discrimination. Along with writing for several mental health and disability charities such as Time to Change, Mind, Scope, and Young Minds, she is a Crisis Volunteer for Shout Crisis Text Line. Moving to Portsmouth, Seren joined VL in February 2020 as our Social & Digital PR Executive. She enjoys bringing fresh ideas to the table, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and thinking of ways to elevate campaigns to the next level for our clients. Outside of work, you can find Seren studying for an MA in Creative Writing, exploring nature, or watching the latest Netflix documentary with her boyfriend, Charlie, and their two cats, Teddy and Bug.

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