5 ways to stay connected

With the whole world in lock down and almost everyone encouraged to stay home, it’s easy to feel disconnected from one another. The physical barriers separating us may feel daunting, but if you’re privileged enough to access the internet, there are lots of ways to reach out to those you love.

Whether you’re teaching elderly relatives how to use Zoom, or dialling in for video calls with your coworkers only dressed from the waist up, we’re all adapting to this new landscape. WiFi is allowing us to stay with our families, whether we’re isolating from down the street or across continents.

Perhaps you’re now juggling a job, childcare and looking after the vulnerable members of your family. Maybe, like me, you’re having to explore other ways to make a living and volunteering in the meantime. Or, you might be working in a key role to keep your community ticking over, looking after others throughout this pandemic.

Whatever your story, I hope you stay safe and can find some moments of calm in this strange, paused existence. It might feel as though the sky is falling down, but we’ll make it through.

Here are some of the things brightening my days at the moment:

1. Birdsong of the Day with Lucy Hodson
If you’re feeling cooped up and miss those long walks outside, this self-confessed ‘nature nerd’ is the perfect remedy. There is nothing more satisfying than watching her poke a puffball mushroom. Not only are her captions entertaining (‘flirty butts’), but you’ll learn a lot from this kooky conservationist. Although her outdoor explorations have become more localised as the restrictions have tightened, she’s still finding plenty of wildlife on her doorstep. Follow her if you’d like to get into the spirit of Spring and identify those whistles outside your window.

Follow: Lucy_Lapwing on Instagram

2. The High Low podcast with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes
The joyous duo are back from a hiatus with a bumper edition (1hr 51mins), discussing the revival of the baked potato and how to embrace ‘full ferality.’ They are proactively helping the NHS charity’s Covid-19 appeal by donating 90% of their merch sales to the cause. However, expect their usual eloquence and silliness, putting a delightful spin on the lockdown by describing it as a ‘lock-in,’ and making a trivial but oddly touching list of all the things they’ll do when life returns to normal.

Follow: The High Low on Twitter
Listen to: The High Low podcast

3. The Scummy Mummies aka Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson
You don’t have to be a mum to enjoy the antics of these two. The comedy pair regularly make me snort, with a parody of Joe Wicks’ daily PE lesson (hello Joan Wicks), jumping on the bandwagon on a hot cross bun recipe, and daily updates of ‘blissful’ family life. Their playful skits, which sold out at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Fest, reveal a less-than-perfect reality to make us feel better about not writing a novel in our ‘incubation’ period. Expect sweet moments like the panting Spiderman cheering up the neighbours stuck indoors.

Follow: Scummy Mummies on Instagram
Listen to: Scummy Mummies podcast

4. For Fox Sake Pub Quiz by Sophia Pavelle
Another one for the animal-lovers, this weekly quiz on Instagram Live is becoming a bit of a sensation. If you want to test out your knowledge, tune in on Wednesdays at 8pm (British Summertime is GMT +1). With competitors such as legendary naturalist Chris Packham, you’ll need to bring your ‘A-Game,’ and then some. She is also making her own bee-friendly DIY projects for the garden and posting glorious wildlife photos which will add a splash of colour to your feed.

Follow: SophiePavs on Instagram
Quiz: Every Wednesday at 8pm (BST) on her Instagram

5. How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, featuring Mo Gawdat
This particular episode gave me a boost when I needed it most. I had just discovered I’d been laid off, my twin’s wedding was cancelled and we were agonizing over whether we should/could travel back to the UK as the borders closed (we didn’t). Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer at Google X, developed an algorithm for finding happiness so it’s fitting I found some after listening to him. His perspective of discovering ‘committed acceptance’ before taking action made me feel a bit less woozy in the face of all this uncertainty.

Follow: Elizabday on Instagram
Listen to: Special episode of How to Fail
Read: Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy, by Mo Gawdat
Read: How to Fail, by Elizabeth Day

There are loads more rays of sunshine, such as the No Such Thing as a Fish podcast by the witty QI elves, the free 30-day Yoga with Adriene, and of course, Desert Island Discs with Lauren Laverne. On my Netflix wishlist, I have Mae Martin’s Feel Good, Ozark and La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) to watch.

What is making your days brighter? Comment below and let’s connect!

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