These are unprecedented times. Isolation is something that is very alien to most of us but for many people being on your own, at home is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn something new, a language perhaps, a craft, to finish that novel that you have always wanted to write. Our Features Writer Rob Bullock looks at how to turn survival into enrichment.
The power of technology
A recent newspaper article explored how even fifteen years ago, the current self-isolation we are all enduring would have been very different. High speed internet was still a few years away, social media in its infancy, video calling just a dream and internet shopping just beginning. Today we can all stay connected via apps like FaceTime, which my 94 year old mum-in-law has taken to like a duck to water, we can binge watch all the telly and movies we have never had the time to watch before and even our brilliant local shops can deliver straight to our doors after just a quick click. Here are some ideas that can make staying at home more than just survival, but something that really enriches our lives forever.
Check out the Lancaster District Isolation Support Directory to find shops that deliver.
What did people do before the telly and internet? They got crafty. In our area we had the ‘terrible’ knitters in Dent. People embroidered and quilted. They sewed and crocheted. In my village the Knit and Natterers, who we featured in the Lancaster District Magazine two years ago, are still busy knitting at home but they are having to catch up with each other by phone!
Fabrix in Lancaster and Northern Yarn in Lancaster are both offering home delivery.
Get learning with online courses
Our wonderful internet offers so many opportunities to learn these days and one of the best platforms with courses to suite a variety of budgets is https://www.futurelearn.com which is part of the Open University. Universities all around the world and especially the UK, including Lancaster, are members of Futurelearn and offer courses by some of the world’s leading experts. The subject range is vast from Business and Management to the Creative Arts and Media, from History to Science, Engineering and Maths and you can do a short free course or even enrol on a degree! All from the comfort of your own home!
You don’t need to feel isolated
Isolation doesn’t have to make you feel isolated. Communities are pulling together like never before. Community shops and local business are offering more and more support services almost every day and just a quick internet search will show what is available in your locality but some national charities are already offering support services
Age UK offers a Call in Time telephone befriending service which is a national service where a volunteer befriender will phone an older person at an agreed time for a chat. Please see https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/sign-up-for-telephone-befriending/ for more information and details on how to sign up. Find Lancashire Age UK HERE.
But you can call up people you know yourself. Maybe you haven’t spoken to an older relative for a while so why not use this time to reconnect? Maybe you can ring, text or email old friends that you only occasionally catch up with. This period of isolation could be a brilliant opportunity for us to get back in touch with the people we’ve lost contact with.
As an author I am using this stay at home time to write, write and write. I finished a rewrite of a new children’s novel for my literary agent last week, I am hard at work on my novel for my PhD and I plan to finish a series of new children’s stories about a young Viking and make it available for readers online as soon as possible.
Finish your own book
And, if I can do it, so can you. Whenever I do events people stop me and tell about their book idea. Sometimes it is a family history, sometimes an adventure they have been inspired to create. My reply is always the same! Finish that story! And that advice is even more pertinent now. What is stopping you?
Isolation can be positive!
So, isolation need not be something negative, it could be a very positive opportunity. Why not get crafty if your talents lie in that direction, why not draw or paint seeking inspiration in your garden or why not get writing! And if you don’t have anyone there are many organisations with someone at the end of the line for you to talk to.
During this time of increasingly uncertainty children around the world have been painting rainbows as a sign of hope and support for each other. ?
Creating the signs is great way to spend some quality time with the kids and talk to them about what is happening in a calm and creative atmosphere in a way to ease their worries. ??
So grab some paint, pens or whatever you have and get creating!! Find out more and look through pictures of rainbows in local windows on the Rainbow Trail Lancaster + District Facebook page.
Share your tips and ideas
As this situation unfolds I intend to revisit this story and offer new and interesting ways to survive at home so let us know if you have any tips and ideas you would like to share. You never know, we might be in touch to do an interview – over the phone of course!