Social Isolation: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The good

I accept that it is nigh impossible for some to find any ‘good’ in these times when only uncertainty, fear, and death seem certain. Sadness and despair are not enviable constants to have in a life.
By writing about the good that can come from this global crisis I do not wish to minimise suffering, nor appear to be making light of such very dark times.

The most important positive that we are being given is Time: this can be a double-edged sword for some, but it is well if we use it to our advantage.

Pleas for “More Time”, “I need more Time”, “If only I had more Time” are all too common in today’s fast-pace existence. Well now we have it, and for some it is hanging very heavy in their hands.
When life is spent whirling around on a packed roundabout it is a shock to the system to suddenly find yourself alone on the swings.

This is not going to be a suggestion list for stuff to fill your days and nights. I don’t know you, nor what resources you have, nor what you like to do, and especially not what you’d like to be able to do.
It is a “show and tell” of the stuff that gets me through.

Time to reflect

Mindfulness has become a buzz word, and I’m totally against the ‘McMindfulness’ culture, but taking time to savour the moment, breathe in the beauty of nature, feel the earth under your feet, and just be in the moment is something we all have time for now.
Take time over your morning coffee, listen to the sounds outside, take a leisurely shower or bath. Whatever your routine is, just slow it down.
I spend time each day doing my ‘breathing space’ exercise, as well as time in my massage chair. All in all it definitely makes me slow down.

Time to grow

Seeds and bulbs and sets are in the shops, and whether you have garden space, acres of land, a balcony, or a window ledge think about the possibility of growing something to please the eye, or please the stomach.
I’m growing for the stomach with onions, courgettes, marrows, and carrots. Well, they’re not actually planted but …

Time for listening and reading

This is a perfect time to check out TedTalks. It is free and I defy anyone not to find something of interest. Talks range from 10 minutes to over 30, but not much longer. I have watched talks on mental health, autism, physics, climate, diet, astronomy. If you are interested in a subject then so are a whole lot of others, and you’ll find a talk on it.
If you don’t own a Kindle or KindleFire is it possible to access their e-books on a tablet, laptop, or a PC. Again, the range of reading material is huge although this isn’t always free. I have downloaded novels and short stories by Atwood and Weldon, books on natural beauty, hand sewing, jewellery making, and bi-polar disorder; we have the travels of Captain Cook and Charles Darwin, and the list goes on.

Time to learn a new skill

With shops closing, and usual supplies dwindling I thought I’d take time to cook up a tea-time treat and learn to make Danish pastry. I had the ingredients – it’s basically plain flour and butter, loads of butter – and I certainly had the time. All in all it was a whole day learning curve but with so much resting time and chilling time (that makes the whole experience sound pretty relaxing and, looking back, I think it probably was) that the prep + physically doing things + baking was only about three hours.

Time to create

Having decided to compose a ‘Vernal Equinox’ image I unpacked my Powertex resources after a lengthy break. For those of you who have not heard of it, Powertex is a hardening medium for fabrics with which to create 3-D sculptures and images. Unlike clay it does not require firing, and also unlike clay it can be quite forgiving. There are other brands that are available in other countries, so best advice is to search online for ‘fabric hardening medium’.

My representation of the Vernal Equinox: chilling Winter transitioning to life-affirming Spring

Not only is it a fun medium to create with, it is also a great way to recycle materials like plastics so that they don’t go into landfill. In the Vernal Equinox panel I was able to incorporate ‘junk’ like plastic straws, scraps of silicone, and those awful glittery bits that come in craft packs.

Time to reach out

We only moved here six years ago but found, almost immediately, that the locals were friendly. We have been humbled by offers of help from the young men who have come to do work for us, especially as they have serious family problems of their own. Local tradespeople, shopkeepers, and delivery drivers have all been so accommodating and helpful.
In turn, we have reached out to help others as best we can.
This is a perfect time to appreciate who and what we have in our lives – and to show our gratitude. It is easy to do and has such lasting benefits for all.

Final thoughts and thanks

I count myself very fortunate, and on many levels.
I live with my husband who is also my carer; we look out for each other, even when things are stressful.
I am a phone call away from my sons and their families; we have put their Easter visits here on hold, but we are pragmatic and look to a better future.
I can step outside my door and witness the beauty of nature as it unfolds into a glorious Spring, heralding a promising Summer.

We are living through difficult, stressful times but I hope that we can all find something to get us through. If you have found something of hope in my words please like, share, and comment.
Thank you for reading.
Stay safe, stay well, stay apart.

Published by Marilyn

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder after fifty years in the mental health system I decided to share my experiences and consider the impact my health has had on my well-being. Being creative is the mainstay of my life and it's how I express my deepest emotions. Photography, writing, and design challenge me and help keep me rooted in the present.

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