WY-FI Project

West Yorkshire – Finding Independence | Supporting people with multiple needs

WY-FI beneficiary cooks their way through lockdown

Samantha (name changed) is a West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WY-FI) beneficiary in Calderdale has been receiving support for multiple needs around substance misuse and mental health.

With WY-FI’s support, Samantha has been abstinent for around two years. She’s now using cookery to manage her mental health and maintain her recovery during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Here, Samantha tells us a bit more about her lockdown experience and how her new hobby is helping her get through it.

How has lockdown been for you since it started?

I normally avoid watching the news because of my anxiety, so when it started I didn’t fully understand the situation. A phone call from my son really brought home how serious the virus was, and I started to feel really overwhelmed and anxious.

That’s when I started to plan my days better, getting out for my daily walks and thinking about trying something new at home.

What made you decide to give cookery a try?

I have a few digestive disorders and because I can’t see my consultant at the moment, I thought I’d try cookery as mean of self-help. I’m used to eating convenience food and I’m conscious that cooking good healthy food will improve my diet and wellbeing.

It’s also great for my mental health, which I’ve struggled with for a long time. I look forward to watching cookery programmes, adapting recipes and creating dishes. It really helps me focus and I’ve opened up a whole new world for myself. Before this I only used one pan and hadn’t used my oven for years!

How does it make you feel whilst you’re cooking?

I was anxious to begin with but now I feel excited and confident. I give myself lots of praise for producing such good food, and feel so much healthier physically and mentally. Even producing simple meals gives me a real lift. I know long term this will really benefit me.

Samantha’s home-made Bread and Butter Pudding

What has it been like learning something new during lockdown? How has it helped you?

I won’t lie it’s been hard to push myself into doing something new as often I’m too anxious and lack confidence. I think I’ve definitely gained a lot of positives and I’m a lot more confident now. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying something new?

Give it a go! You have nothing to lose and if you find it’s not for you ‘kick it in the bin’ and move on and try something else.

Open up your mind to new things and let some new ideas in.

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