In this week’s column, please help us recommend things to help us all find a smile.

Hello and welcome to Wellbeing Matters. Here at Film Stories Towers we’re aware that things are a bit ropey in the world right now, and that there’s a lot of fear and isolation happening. Anxiety is high, and we’re all a bit on edge, wondering what tomorrow is going to bring.

We may also be self-isolating to keep ourselves and our loved ones well. Chances are we’re all seeing a lot more of our own four walls, and could be for some time. This week, let’s recommend stuff. Any stuff, to keep us occupied while indoors. I appreciate you can’t put links in Disqus comments, but keywords to Google funny stuff would be brilliant.

A taste of what’s keeping me entertained. Wild Rose over at Amazon Prime is brilliant, though you may find yourself calling your nearest and dearest a fanny for days. I’m also binging The Expanse, a rather intelligent space opera.

There’s a bunch of Studio Ghibli animation treats over on Netflix right now. I am wallowing through The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which has surprised me with how well it balances the sweetness and quirkiness of being a teenage witch with genuinely dark undertones. And then there’s the episode of Doctors with the multiple Joe Pasquales…

Recommend funny stuff on the Internet. Check out Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Youtube channel for his happy hints on self-isolating. Find some mindfulness videos to chill too.  Or blast a Spotify playlist that gives you a pick me up. Me, I’m playing all my ancient vinyl Rainbow and Scorpions albums, and bellowing along to anything that sounds like it could feasibly soundtrack The Witcher.

Dig out your forgotten To-Read pile, check your Kindle for forgotten gems. If you have Prime, make sure you are signed up for your free monthly Amazon First Reads book. I’m rediscovering all my Arthurian legend books, stepping through time into the mists of Avalon one more time. I’m also reading Mike Carey’s take on The Furies, from The Sandman universe. I forgot I even owned it. And speaking of Neil Gaiman, he’s put a bunch of free stuff up on his website here.

Take a virtual museum tour round The Louvre, The Smithsonian, The British Museum. I rather enjoyed watching the video for the Ashmolean’s Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft exhibition. Walk the halls of The Smithsonian, The Louvre.

Try a free online course. Want to try writing in a structured way? The Open University has a great free module to start you off, here. Sill got that drawer full of crafting / art stuff I mentioned cracking open a few weeks ago? Here’s a chance to make a mess and get creative.

But mostly, don’t forget to talk. Use all the tools at your command – Facetime, Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, a good old-fashioned land line – to check in with people. Just hearing a voice can pep someone up who’s sat on their own, wondering when the dark will lift. Drop an email, a physical postcard, a message below the line. Whatever you know will connect with someone in a meaningful way. Something to bring a smile to people.

Tell us what is diverting you (keep it clean!) in the comments. Suggest podcasts (there’s a few good ones around these parts), books, comics, movies, games, TV series – anything that has given you comfort or joy, new or old, that might appeal to anyone in isolation. The cheaper, the better.

From the bottom of my heart, take care. I hope you and your loved ones, your friends, neighbours and colleagues are all doing as well as you can. Check in and talk to us. Scream blue murder if you need to. Virtual hugs to everyone.

Jane

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