I’ve officially been furloughed which means, for those who don’t know (and I didn’t), that I can’t work at the moment. Technically, while Corona does its business, there isn’t enough to go around – so I’m having an extended holiday.

Luckily for me I’m being fully paid under the Job Retention Scheme so I don’t lose out financially. I know many people aren’t in the same boat or as fortunate, so I’m keeping that in mind and am very grateful that I’m covered.

If I’m honest, I have mixed feelings about the furlough (anyone aware of that word before all this shit?). I’d always rather be working and filling my time with something meaningful, but right now there’s nothing I can do. I’ve little choice but to come to terms with it and make the most of this time off. I mean, when else will I have a period like this? Probably not until I’m retired.

I’ve signed up to a load of online courses, most of which are free, and I thought I’d share them below because, who knows? Maybe you’re in the same boat as me. Or, very likely, you’re at least quarantining for the foreseeable.

Skillshare

Writing

I’ve done a bunch of creative writing courses in the past and I’ve always had fun with them – so why not? Journaling also appeals at the moment, not least because my anxiety is through the roof (like so many people) so I think getting some of my thoughts onto the page might be helpful.

Art

I bloody love drawing and after October’s drawing challenge (Inktober), I’ve really wanted to branch out a little. I’m not very good but that’s hardly going to stop me. We’ll see what comes out of some of these classes – who knows I may even share them on here. Lucky you.

Open University

Free courses

I’m particularly excited about the graffiti course which:

draws on a wide range of graffiti examples, including mystery zebras in Hackney, fish graffiti in Morecambe, ‘tags’ in a Milton Keynes underpass, a McDonald’s advert and exhibits at a highly established art gallery, the Tate Modern. Students will consider different arguments for and against the perception of graffiti as a form of art or as vandalism and explore how graffiti has been used as a form of communication and as an articulation of protest.

Cool, huh?

Coursera

Well-being

I follow author Laura Jane Williams on Instagram and saw that she’s being doing this free course, put together by Yale University.

In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.

Anything’s worth a shot right now, right?

Centre for Excellence

Psychic & Supernatural

I’m already half way through the Advanced Wicca course and loving it. I’ve also got my eye on the astrology and tarot, which I see as an extension of the learning I’ve already done. These courses aren’t free but they are always on offer or heavily discounted which is lucky, as times are tough for everyone.

So this is what I plan to focus on over the next three to five weeks, although I do reserve the right to do absolutely fuck all whenever that feels right. Along with the learning, I’ll be writing as much as I can and taking regular naps. These are important according to The Nap Ministry and I’m not about to argue with that.

How’s your quarantine going?