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Hope found in Lock-down Hobbies

Crocheting, couch to 5k & lockdown businesses: how has the pandemic brought out the “hobby” side of us?

By Emily Louise-Cain

Fly dragonfly via Google images

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on us economically, financially, socially and regarding our mental health. Over the past year, life has been filtered through screens, from working or studying online, regular Netflix streaming and excessive social-media scrolling. However, while the effects of Covid-19 have been mostly negative, it has not been all doom and gloom, with many of us seeking relaxing, fun or distracting hobbies to keep us from our TVs, laptops and phones and to lift spirits as much as possible during such an unpredictable and difficult time.

Understandably, exercise has had a major role in maintaining our mental and physical health during lockdown, with many people taking up exercise as a regular activity for the first time.

Figures show a dramatic 92% increase in downloads of the Public Health England app ‘Couch to 5K’, with almost 1 million downloads from March to the end of June.

Designed for beginners and those who do not exercise regularly, the app aims to help people of all ages and abilities become fitter through weekly runs. While it may not be for everyone, the guided commentaries, easy progress tracking and the chance to get outside and be active with friends or family makes the app worth giving a go. Other fitness apps, such as ‘MapMyRun’ and ‘Strava’, have been widely used, as well as countless workout videos from the likes of Joe Wick on YouTube; his ‘P.E with Joe’ series being especially helpful due to its all-age inclusivity and versatility during repeated changes to the restrictions surrounding Covid.

The pandemic has not only encouraged more of us to become more active but sparked a surge in creative and artistic hobbies too. Many of us have turned to reading or drawing, while others have opted for more traditional hobbies like knitting or crocheting. The latter has become something of a passion for Sara Young, an English Literature student, who said: ‘I had to do something to help relax for my mental health because nothing else was helping. Everything was online and I needed something away from screens. When I started crocheting, I realised there was no pressure to it. I could sit at home, keep my hands busy and not worry what others thought, which really helped my mood. Not only that, but it felt rewarding to have something tangible that I had created. I especially loved that it’s something I could do during winter. All we could really do was go on walks but that was dependent on the weather.’ Not only has this become a source of comfort and relaxation through such a trying time, but in her new-found hobby she has found a passion she hopes to continue with post lockdown. ‘At first I began making gifts for friends and family but as I’ve grown to love it, one day I think I could turn this into a small business by selling my creations online. Lockdown has been hard, but without it I may not have found this new interest of mine.’

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has and continues to test us, but it is clear it has also given us time. Time to rest, time to exercise, time to explore interests and hobbies, old and new.

Having our freedoms to socialise, go to pubs and restaurants, work or study the way we have been so accustomed to stripped away, has shown us how essential the arts are for our well-being, amongst other things. While it is unclear how much longer the pandemic will continue, what is clear is that our hobbies are helping us get through this time.


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