My Life in Lockdown: how hobbies have kept me sane

As lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to ease it is looking likely that I will be back at work within the next few weeks. The past three months have been very strange, as I had to leave my work and my home and moved in with my boyfriend and his housemates, and thus found myself a little lost and without purpose. For the past 12 weeks I have experimented with different hobbies to busy myself during this very uncertain time and I thought it would be fun to share with you the new things I’ve learnt and some of the positive experiences I can take from these odd three months.

1. Knitting

I have always wanted to be able to knit! It always struck me as something which, if you did not learn when you were very young, you’d probably never learn! As a keen crafter it somehow felt wrong that I didn’t know how to do it, so with ample time on my hands during lockdown I decided it was time to start!

I ordered a kit from a company called Stitch & Story. The kit included a knitting pattern to make your own pair of woolly pom pom slippers, as well as all the necessary knitting supplies including the needles and the wool. I was so impressed with the quality of this kit. With the help of the website’s online tutorials I was able to quickly learn the basic knitting techniques and within three days had a new pair of cosy slippers! I then ordered some leather patches to sew to the bottom of them to make them more substantial. I highly recommend Stitch & Story to anyone looking for a fun and easy way to learn to knit.

Since making my slippers I have also completed a hot water bottle cover and have started knitting a scarf (all just in time for Summer weather!!). I find the hobby incredibly therapeutic, it’s something you can easily do in front of the telly. It is very calming and repetitive, and thus helps you switch off from the world for a little while. It is not a hobby for the impatient, however! I had to restart my projects from scratch multiple times because I kept making unsalvageable mistakes! If you can breathe through these frustrations, however, it may well be worth taking up this tried and tested hobby!

2. Yoga

I admit that yoga is something I tried at the start of lockdown but have not persevered with. I began by doing Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Day ‘Home’ program on YouTube. This involved just taking 20 minutes out of my day to reconnect with my body and stretch out any tensions. We do not have a garden at our house so it was a valuable form of exercise and really helped to centre and ground me through the early days of lockdown when I was feeling anxious. I am sad that I have not had the motivation to persevere with this hobby as I could undoubtedly feel the benefits of daily practice, but I do feel that yoga is a valuable hobby that I can turn to in times of need, rather than one that I will do daily.

3. Digital Drawing

If you have been following my account for a while you will know that I have always been into drawing, however learning to draw on my Ipad has been, and continues to be, a lengthy process!

As I have been living away from home I have been separated from my many art supplies, and I have therefore been using my Ipad more and more to create digital pieces of artwork. This has led to new sticker designs and commisions for my business, but more than that, it has entertained and calmed me for hours on end!

I recognise that buying an Ipad and an Apple Pencil is a hefty expense, but I highly recommend it to any artist. Digital drawing allows you the creative freedom to experiment with any style, and if you don’t like what you’re making, you can just click undo!

As part of my digital art work I have also been exploring the medium of animation. My boyfriend is a singer-songwriter so we thought it would be fun to create a music video for one of his songs. I haven’t finished it yet, because animation is a very slow process, but I’m really excited by the results so far and look forward to sharing the finished video with you once it is completed!

4. Running

Three years ago or so I was very into running, but as life has got busier I have really neglected this hobby. 2 years ago I ran my first 10k race and since then have done very little running at all. With more time on my hands and as exercise was one of the only ways we could leave the house I decided to give it another go. This was also heavily encouraged by the social media campaign that saw people running 5k and donating £5 to the NHS. I was so proud of myself for getting back into running so quickly and within a week was running up to 8k each time! I hope that eventually I will be able to run 10k again and compete in another race.

5. Games

As a child I really enjoyed video games – I was obsessed with playing Pokemon on my Gameboy Colour! With so much free time I have really enjoyed playing old games that I had as a teenager on my boyfriend’s PS4. I also invested in a Nintendo Switch – quite possibly the most expensive impulse buy I’ve ever made, but I do not regret it one bit! I have become obsessed with playing ‘The Legend of Zelda’ – it is such an amazing game and a very easy way to pass by the hours!

We also picked up an old version of Trivial Pursuit in a charity shop just before lockdown started. This has provided hours of entertainment! We even bought a modern version of the game too so that we’d have double the amount of questions. Playing board games and card games together as a house has been a really lovely way to stay entertained and connected as a household, and makes for a healthy break from technology.

6. Cooking and Baking

We have allocated every Sunday to ‘family day’ in our house. This is when all of our housemates (there’s six of us) get together, cook a big family meal and play games and watch a movie. Each week we have picked a different cuisine from a different part of the world. We have tried Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Zanzibari, Chinese and Mexican. I am not much of a cook but have taken on the responsibility of baking a pudding a few times. I’ve made a wicked cherry pie and apple and blackberry crumble. The churros during Mexican week were less successful…! These Sunday meals together have been such a lovely way to mark the end of each week in lockdown and spend real quality time together.

Whilst I know we are all anxious for this pandemic to be over, it has been refreshing in some ways to take a bit of time for myself to explore some new creative endeavours and find new hobbies. To anyone that has been struggling over the course of lockdown I have tried to encourage them to take up a hobby. It helps pass the time and keep your brain active. For me, hobbies have been my saving grace for the past three months!

On that note, if you’re interested in hearing more about the brilliance of hobbies – you can check out The Hobbycast. It’s a podcast celebrating a huge variety of hobbies and I appear on episode 4!

That’s all from me for now. Hope you’re all keeping well and much love,

Meg x

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