Wednesday 18 March 2020

How to pass the time when self-isolating - by Lu Hersey

Many of us are now stuck at home, either by ourselves or with our families. Self-isolating. Days spent away from our usual work, friends and entertainments. Maybe weeks. Hopefully not months. Self-imposed prison sentences from an unseen enemy, where toilet rolls could be the least of your problems. My son already thinks he might die from sheer boredom.

In the (global pandemic) circumstances, I thought the most helpful thing I could do would be to list some ideas on how to entertain yourselves while you sit it out.

1. Write something different. A change is as good as a rest. Have you tried writing short stories? There are a surprising number of short story writing competitions around, and if you win one, some great prizes. Two of the best still open for entry this year are The Bristol Short Story Prize, with cash prizes for the top 20 stories, which also all get published in an anthology - and The Bridport Prize, where the winner of the short story prize gets £5K (which might help cover loss of usual income).
You could also try writing in a different genre - adult fiction, non fiction, flash fiction, interactive fiction that works with smart phones... a friend even suggested writing dinosaur porn (she was joking, but apparently it's actually a thing. Please don't go there)

2. Yoga. Even if you can't get out much, you still need to stretch and exercise, and yoga could be the answer. There are plenty of yoga sites on YouTube, but probably the most popular, with free instruction and various online classes is Yoga with Adrienne

3. Crochet. If you can't crochet already, again there are plenty of YouTube videos out there to help you learn. No wool? Unravel a jumper or two you don't like much. Which is what they did in the war, apparently. If you don't have a crochet hook, make one out of a coat hanger or something. You can learn almost any skill you don't currently have from YouTube, from putting up shelves to navigating by the stars. Admittedly so far I've only learnt how to clean my wood burner using wood ash, but it's come in very handy.

3.Make your own jewellery. This is something else they did in the war, carefully winding strips of foil or magazine paper to make beads. If you stocked up well, you should have toilet paper if nothing else.

4. Make percussion instruments from tin cans and spoons. Try not to kill each other while practising.

5. Learn a language. Duolingo covers most of them. Keeps the brain active and if the isolation goes on long enough, you could learn to get by in several countries, even if you can't actually visit them.

6. Research for the future. One of my daughters spent time watching Vacuum Wars on YouTube. For real. She watched 3 hours of it before deciding on her new vacuum cleaner. (I had no idea she was that nerdy or cared about vacuuming that much.)

7. Masking tape painting. Youngest daughter is becoming a master. You need a canvass (though cardboard will do) masking tape, paintbrush and acrylic paint, so stock up fast if you don't have these things available already.

8. Read. How many books are in your tbr pile? Mine would probably kill me if it toppled. And if you can't stop buying books, many independent bookshops will post to you. So as long as the postal/delivery services are working, you don't need to suffer from a shortage of reading material and you can help independent booksellers at the same time.

9. Final suggestion (except maybe practising mindfulness or meditation - again a multitude of classes are available for free online) is to stay in contact with friends and family via phone or social media. It's horrible to feel isolated, and fortunately there are many ways to keep in contact while avoiding face-to-face contact.

Good luck people. May you survive the apocalypse in good health, and with increased knowledge of many useful things. Even if it's just choosing the right hoover.

Lu Hersey

1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Hello Lu! Thanks for this morning's post. An obviously interesting one!