How I’m coping in the crisis

Sara Pickard was enjoying theatre rehearsals and getting to grips with her new job – then the pandemic struck. How did she adapt to the restrictions and find new interests?

On 23 January 2020, before we were aware of coronavirus, I wrote my last article for Community Living and submitted it for the spring issue. At the time, I had decided to write about what I felt had been my achievements over the past 10 years. Near the end, I wrote: “And so to the future! Well, who knows?”

None of us could have predicted, then, what a strange year 2020 was going to be. I was very excited to be starting a new job on 1 March with Mencap Cymru as the external affairs officer. I had a great first couple of weeks… then, on 17 March, I was furloughed and lockdown started. So, how have I coped? I feel I have been proactive and having a routine has helped me to get on with things. Every morning, I have caught up with my emails and done some reading around my work, especially Community Living articles.

I have also enjoyed spending time on some new interests. I have really enjoyed walking in our local area every day and discovering new paths and places that we never knew about, even though I have lived in this village nearly all my life. At home, I have spent time enjoying playing word games with my family,  such as Double Quick and Scrabble. I  have found Zen Colouring a very relaxing and therapeutic way of spending a little time as well as my passion for listening to music.

Like most people, I have found online video calls a great way of keeping in touch. I have been able to keep up with my duties as a community councillor through online meetings. I really enjoy my weekly Odyssey Theatre sessions online. Even though our next show has had to be cancelled,  we love working on new ideas and being creative.

I have also discovered the Our Voice – Weekly Check-In run by the Down’s Syndrome Association, which I find really inspiring. On the first call I did, I didn’t know many of the young people involved but, now I have been on more of the calls, I am getting to know them even more, and I always look forward to the calls each week.



What have I missed most?
In the early days of the lockdown, I know that I missed the face-to-face contact, especially with family, even though doing regular video calls helped. I’ve missed being in my work setting and seeing my colleagues who I get  along with really well and rehearsing  with Odyssey Theatre Company in our regular way.


Now and looking ahead

So, how do I feel I have coped, and what am I looking forward to most? Overall, I feel that I have coped really well, keeping myself busy and having a routine, while at the same time doing things that make me feel relaxed when I am doing them. So, yes, I feel that I am happy and coping just fine.

I am really looking forward to be  able to see my boyfriend, Simon, as  I have only been able to see him on our Odyssey video calls up to now. Actually spending time with him and my best friend Becky is also something I am looking forward to.

Most of all, I look forward to being able to return to normal life when all of the pandemic is eventually over.