It’s okay to just be

As a Girlguiding volunteer, looking after your own wellbeing right now should be your number one priority

07 April 2020

If you’re a Girlguiding volunteer feeling under pressure to achieve while you’re in lockdown, remember that the most important thing you can do right now is look after yourself.

This week marks the third week of being on lockdown, and many of us had already been working at home and limiting outside contact before it was announced. In such a period of uncertainty, lots of us have been turning to the internet for advice and inspiration for ways to fill our time.

The internet – and particularly social media – are full of endless suggestions for ways to do this. Most are focused on how we can use this time to improve ourselves: how to make the most of the pandemic. We are being encouraged to foster our creativity, learn a language, clean our houses, take up new hobbies and acquire new skills.

It’s okay to say no to socialising

And then, on top of all the self-improvement, many of us feel an obligation to take full advantage of the wonderful technology we have access to by staying connected to all the friends and family we can’t see physically.

Many of us are finding ourselves in a strange place where our social commitments have, if anything, increased in isolation. Between back to back work meetings on Teams or Zoom and virtual dates over FaceTime, meet-ups on apps like Houseparty plus virtual book groups or quiz nights, you can be left with not much time for yourself.

It is, of course, essential to both our emotional and physical health to stay in touch with the outside world; however, there is no shame in acknowledging when the constant contact becomes too much.

It’s okay not to be perfect 

It’s important to remind ourselves that being at home does not mean that we need to achieve every goal we have ever had. In the current situation, all of us are dealing with increased stress and anxiety on top of an already full plate of responsibilities.

Some of us are still having to go outside to perform essential roles, others must balance working full time with childcare and education, and many are dealing with job loss or reduced income. We are all living in a massive period of uncertainty, fear and anxiety that needs extra care and attention.

If being creative, working hard, learning new skills and sticking rigidly to a schedule is what helps your mental health, that’s brilliant. But it’s okay to recognise that, while these things can be helpful and healthy habits, they don’t work for everyone. For some, feeling the need to reach a standard of personal perfection in quarantine could even be making things worse.

It's okay to take a break from volunteering

If keeping up your volunteering commitments with Girlguiding is helping you get through this period then that’s wonderful – and we are so glad.

If you decide, however, that you need to take time off as a Girlguiding volunteer during lockdown, that’s okay. If setting up and coordinating virtual meetings with your units feels too overwhelming, that’s okay too. It’s part of the reason we introduced Adventures at home – to ensure that girls can carry on with guiding activities at home under their own steam.

At Girlguiding, we want you to prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing first and foremost.

As a volunteer, you are incredibly precious to us and we don’t want you to feel under pressure to carry on as normal – because the truth is: nothing is normal right now.

We want you to know that it’s okay to stop doing and just be.

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