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This Girl Can Week - June 2021

Like most people, the last 18 months have been very challenging. I have a body designed for squishy hugs, not a face for zoom. I found it hard not being able to socialise as much as pre-pandemic and I was worried about what was to come in the future.

As a Student Paramedic I tried to balance university work with part time work at the local Emergency Department to do my bit for the NHS during Covid-19. At a time where a lot of people enjoyed some time off, I felt super busy and buried with work which was hard to manage. This only got worse when my student placements stopped and I was working more hospital shifts to try and gain some clinical experience. I remember being very stressed and finding it difficult to cope (like many people), especially without being able to play sport to help relieve this stress. I particularly missed being able to play squash.

Lockdown walks turned out to be my saviour. Rather than meeting friends and family for meals, we would go for long walks with the dogs which they also enjoyed! I'd smash my daily 10,000 steps target but it didn't feel like enough exercise. I decided to give some online fitness classes a go but I much preferred keeping it old school and doing Just Dance or Zumba on the wii rather than Joe Wicks.

At the start of the year me and my family tested positive for covid-19. Being confined to 4 walls isn't my style, it made me go crazy!

Although we had symptoms and felt unwell, we were pretty lucky compared to others. However, the fatigue and shortness of breath lasted longer than we initially expected and it was over a month before we were back to our normal selves. Just the thought of going back to zumba classes was enough to tire me out. Thankfully now I'm back enjoying gym classes.

Whilst I was still waiting for team and indoor sports to start up again I started the couch to 5k running app… again… but this time I finished it!!! I did this in preparation for the virtual London Marathon that I signed up for to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Charity. I'm absolutely not a runner and completely hated running at school so it's probably the craziest thing I've ever signed up for. It may only be small to some people but running 5k is something I didn't think would be possible before starting the app. It may not be pretty or fast, but it's a huge personal achievement.

As well as jogging, I've bought a paddle board and have enjoyed exploring the local rivers and seas. Like jogging, I'm also not very good at paddle boarding, but it's great fun and hilarious when friends fall in! Something about floating on the water and listening to nature made me feel great and helps me to forget my worries. In the last couple months I have also returned to the cricket pitch and the netball court for the first time since leaving school - I think it's fair to say that I have a lot to work on.

The last year and a half has definitely taught me to make the most of every experience and not to take things for granted. I've applied to be a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games next year so hopefully I have something to look forward to. It's highlighted the huge role that physical activity plays on people's health and the importance of being able to exercise and clear your head. I still believe that you should do what you want and not care about what others think of you. I recommend trying out new activities even if you do look like a tit.

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