One of Kate's Hutchinson's many roles is as Regional Officer for Diversity Role Models and is normally extremely busy running workshops around the country educating in schools about LGBTQ issues. During lockdown, Kate is on furlough and experiencing a different and new 'norm'. I got to chat with her about her day, any concerns or struggles she faces with lockdown and also to see what tips she had to share for anyone else going through these challenging times. Kate featured in our section on 'Ordinary people living extraordinary lives' section and it was wonderful to catch up with her now.
AL: What differences are you noticing since lockdown?
KH: I'm used to being very busy which isn't always great I admit and sometimes my self-care takes a knock when I'm too busy. I'm now missing physical interaction as I love walking my dog alone in the country park near me as it's so quiet, however I also realise that I only have face-to-face contact in the local shop once a week. My neighbour and I will shout to each other to see if we need anything and ask how we're doing which is lovely and if they can't get anything shopping wise then I will try to help.
My partner lives 35 miles away in Stoke-on-Trent so am missing her and therefore I'm sharing my living area with my cat and that has been challenging for so long.
This time has offered me much more time for reflection which is a challenge at times. I've suffered with depression on and off and am aware of depression creeping into my consciousness. It's great that I'm further along now in my self-awareness which has been helped by meditation and mindfulness so I can now recognise the behaviours and patterns which lead me to depression. This could be sleeping a lot and not having much energy so I'll do a check in with myself top to bottom just to see how I'm feeling.
AL: Do you have any tips to share with others?
KH: Routine is good for me. That means writing lists as I am a compulsive writer of lists. In a notebook I bought, I write down lots of things such as the jobs that need to be done around the house, what do I want to do that I'll enjoy doing. This gives me small goals to complete during the day but it isn't rigid so I'll only do it for as long as it's fun.
It's important for me to vary what I'm doing during lockdown. So, I'm enjoying time with my cat, grooming him as well as grooming myself. My personal care is important to me too and that lifts my mood and some days I've dressed up much more than I've needed but when I've looked in the mirror, I've liked what I've seen and that's lifted me.
Music is helping me too as I've brought my guitars out which I haven't played for a while. I used to do lots of gigs so I have lots of instruments and equipment.
I've also enjoyed sitting and being giving myself time to think. It was a lovely sunny day yesterday so I did some work in the garden and then I went to pick up my phone. Instead, I decided to not put my focus there but to simply sit and focus on my breath to be calmer. As I live near a country park, I could hear birds and buzzards around me which helped me settle my monkey mind by grounding myself through feeling my feet on the ground.
AL: I've noticed from Facebook that you enjoy gaming. How is that helping?
KH: I can be obsessive about my gaming so I have to set a timer so I limit my time on it. It can also be used for good and one of my Diversity Role Models colleagues is fundraising through his gaming. I'm not sure I can do that on furlough but I'm looking into what I can do and want to do something for 26th April fundraiser aimed at saving UK charities.
AL: What else are you planning?
KH: I've been buoyed by the positive energy on social media around the positive and compassionate things being done around the world and wondering what I can do. So, I've had thoughts around doing online zoom sessions like a Q and A with the LGBTQ community. A lot of people could find themselves in situations where they can't be themselves so I want to help by seeing what others need. I'm a firm believer in helping others also helps you help yourself and I'm always looking to see how to make the biggest positive difference in the world that I can.
Isolation can be a big issue for a lot of people within the LGBTQ community especially if they are used to meeting friends within their local community so I will also do 1-1 sessions with people as well as live online sessions.