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Our latest Keeping in Contact blog Rose has some suggestions for getting through lockdown living.

Hi I’m Rose. I’m the Leadership Projects Coordinator at Contact. My job alongside Rory, Leadership Development Manager is to support all the amazing young creatives that the Leadership Development team work with. This includes this year’s incredible Future Fires cohort who are mid planning for their own socially engaged art projects,

At the moment, we are being inventive and finding new ways to work together under the current circumstances. It’s definitely a challenge when a lot of our normal activities involve making and sharing ideas in a space together. It is however, a challenge that the Future Fires have definitely stepped up to – providing their wisdom and some much-needed laughs in Whatsapp groups and Zoom meetings.

Although some aspects of project planning are up in the air, it’s amazing to see how focussed the group still are in making their work happen in different ways. Creating social media accounts has been pushed further up the list, as has finding new ways to engage with the people they want to reach (Follow @That2thisTP, @Jakeybowen on Twitter and @chagossiansofmanchester on Instagram for some of these journeys!).

We are all acclimatising to variations to our routines – whether self-isolation is a totally new concept or if you’re a dab hand due to unreliable health. What is new to all of us is the situation – and it’s a bit scary. It’s more important than ever that we figure out how to support each other from afar and in the process, preserve our mental health. It can be all too easy to end up in a social media loop when there’s so much being announced each day.

Along with regular updates and check ins with the Future Fires, here are some of the things that are making me smile and keeping me going.

Looking after plants

Although it’s tempting to stay in the know all of the time, taking moments out is very important. This is a great chance to get to know your plants and take care of them properly – read up on what they need and what you can do to help them thrive!

Following cute animal accounts

One constant in this is animals and how they’re just cracking on with being cute and nice as normal. I’m a big fan of Chihuahuas and follow a few accounts on Instagram which bring joy. I’d recommend @lolitathealien, @chihuahuastagrams and @ao.mono for the chihuahua newbie.

If you’re still not sold, follow this advice with an animal you really like.

Be creative – but only when you feel like it

I love to draw stuff and, at first definitely felt pressure to create with all this extra time to. Normally, what inspires me to create is visiting new places, seeing new stuff and reading stories about different things. This is tricky with the whole quarantine business. If this is you too, try and give yourself a break. If it happens then great! If not, take it easy and watch old episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It’ll come back when you’re ready.

Get absorbed in a different world

Put things on pause and check out a different world, whether this is a game, book or tv series right now! There are some great options out there (Tiger King right??) and it can be a lovely opportunity to share these with friends. You could start an online film club or something if you were keen! Netflix does have a watch together option.

Go to a remote gig

There are some brilliant bands doing remote performances through Instagram live such as AJJ, Martha and a host of great line ups through Specialist Subject Records, Manchester Punk Festival and Girl Gang Leeds to name a few. Being in a space with a live chat rolling full of great people experiencing the same things is really special. Plus these bands are sharing some amazing songs and their experiences too.

It’s a tricky time so keep an eye on how you’re feeling, take a break when you need to and check in with your pals and family. What this situation has shown is the lengths we go to support each other from afar.

It feels important too to flag that there are some people who will always be more isolated due to their health, it’s imperative that when this is all over we don’t forget them. For a lot of people remote gigs and online events have given new engagement opportunities. We really need these to keep happening once this is over.

That’s all from me! Keep an eye out on Contact’s social media for updates on the amazing Future Fires projects, watch Tiger King and spare 46 seconds to watch a Chihuahua.