We are in an unprecedented time. The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting every single person on the planet in a multitude of ways. I wanted to share some resources I’ve found helpful – please share with your colleagues, networks and friends who run small businesses, arts organisations or are self-employed freelancers, especially folk in the creative industries.
Creativity helps us finds solutions to problems as well as explore what it means to be human and have fun! I believe everyone is creative though sometimes we need a little help to tap into it.
We’re really going to need our creativity in the coming
months years while we find our way through this storm.
I’m also disabled. I have a chronic condition (fibromyalgia/chronic pain) and, like my friends in the chronic illness and disabled community, we are bosses at coping with the unconventional, like how to work and play when bedbound, housebound, ill for long periods, or shielding. Social distancing? We got this!
FYI I’m based in Scotland, so some resources are UK-based and I’ll add more as I find them. Feel free to email resources to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add them.
Why has it taken a pandemic to provide ubiquitous online access to events and education, plus the flexibility of working from home?
Please be aware that disabled and chronically ill people have been fighting for years for many of the measures that are swiftly being put in place for everyone since Covid-19. And while it’s wonderful to see the campaigning, listening, community support and digital access, it’s been equally frustrating and upsetting to experience harmful ableist language and things like the sudden flood to digital, live streaming of events, education & classes or ‘of course you can work from home’ as a forced plan B or only for ‘healthy’ people/ableds. It never had to be either/or. Access should be for all, not a privilege. (Read this article in the Ecologist by Laura C Elliott.) Be aware of your privileges and consider how you can be a better ally.
Wishing you and your loved ones the strength to weather the storm (plus the wisdom and energy to help create lasting change).
BTW, links on this page do not open in a new tab
Mental and physical health
- Mindfulness apps: free/freemium | mixed list 1 | mixed list 2
- Mindfulness for the Deaf community (BSL)
- See also the section under ‘Rest and pacing’
Bereavement and grieving – community and support
Living with Long Covid
Welcome to the chronic illness community! There is some great community support out there. There are many energy-limiting chronic illnesses, including rheumatological and neurological conditions, terminal illnesses, sickle cell disease, and more. Below are some links with further resources. While you may not identify as disabled, if you have a chronic illness which has a significant impact on your daily life, you may be entitled to certain reasonable adjustments at work/study and disability benefits.
- Long Covid Scotland
- Your Covid Recovery NHS UK
- LongCovid.physio (international patient-led association of Physiotherapists living with Long Covid)
Resources by/for people living with chronic illness
By people who are chronicaly ill with energy-limiting conditions (own voices):
- You Look OK to Me (Jameisha Prescod): Instagram | Website
- Natasha Lipman: community advice | Instagram | Website
- This Thing They Call Recovery: Instagram | Website
- Tips from @TweetTipsForME
- Tips from CreakyJoints.org
- In-depth tips from Yellow Readis
- The Mighty (blog and community)
For people who are chronically ill with energy-limiting conditions:
- Chronic Illness Inclusion (UK)
- Ehlers-Danlos Society (USA)
- Action for M.E. (UK)
- Fibromyalgia UK
- AIMS UK (Auto Immune and Multiple Sclerosis)
- Pain UK (links to numerous charities + research)
- The Brain Charity UK (includes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME and Fibromyalgia)
Rest and pacing
Rest and pacing is vital for people with ELCI (Energy-Limiting Chronic Illness) but can be useful for everyone to know about and incorporate into their lives.
- Pacing for Long Covid (own voice physiotherapists)
- Pacing for M.E. – Action For M.E. booklet (PDF)
- Pacing for M.E. booklet (Ehler-Danlos.org PDF)
- Pacing for fibromyalgia (own voice blog post)
- Natasha Lipman on pacing (own voice podcast and transcript)
Rest and relaxation, during flare-ups, periods of low-energy, recovery or illness:
- For reminders to rest, follow the Nap Ministry on Instagram
- Binaural music
- Noisli app
- Digital radio
- Restful playlists on Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc
- Audiobooks (libraries lend audiobooks)
- Use an eReader if holding a heavy book is tiring, eg Kindle, Kobo (libraries lend eBooks)
- Poetry: Scottish Poetry Library | The Poetry Society | The Poetry Foundation…
- Books & journals – please try to support indie publishers and bookshops – many local bookshops offer online/delivery services….
- Support new and independent magazines, like Gutter, Extra Teeth, Sick, Shoreline of Infinity, Bed Zine (Instagram)…
- Many publications publish some of their prose and poetry online, including The Selkie, Litro, Middleground, The White Review, Ambit…
- Reading lists/inspiration
Fitness and exercise
- Please seek individual guidance from your GP and health advisors
- Graded exercise is no longer recommended for people living with ME, Long Covid, CFS and post-viral fatigue syndromes
- Physiotherapy Pain Association (more links)
- Chair-based pilates (NHS)
- NHS Fitness Studio
- Many local practitioners are providing online classes/activities
Helpful resources for creators and freelancers
Creative Freelancers Illustrated Guide (general guide, UK)
Check with your local councils, arts bodies and sector organisations for grants and support.
Creative activities and happenings
Literary happenings past and upcoming (digital, in-person, hybrid):
- Scottish BPOC Writers Network
- Crip Collective Facebook Group (UK)
- Lighthouse Bookshop events (Edinburgh, online)
- Event Horizon online – Shoreline of Infinity (sci-fi)
- Many large book festivals are now also online or hybrid – yay! Or have digital archives. For example Edinburgh International Book Festival, StAnza, Cymera, Brooklyn Caribbean Lit Fest, Bocas, Fiyah Con…
Creative happenings past and upcoming (digital, in-person, hybrid):
- The Remote Body (online) art, reading, performance, workshops – ‘fostering community and hosting remote events for the isolated in the current crisis and beyond, for all but prioritising chronically ill and disabled folx.’
- Day of Access (Scotland, online)
- Curating for Culture – a public archive for India during the pandemic
Medical and government resources + news
Scotland and UK latest advice and info:
Huge thanks to all frontline medical staff, especially nurses, doctors and cleaners. Big up all our keyworkers – teachers, scientists, store staff, rubbish collectors, postal staff, delivery drivers, journalists, parents, carers, creators, volunteers, activists and everyone making sacrifices/creating spaces and you – whatever small thing you can do makes a difference.
UK practical help
Covid Mutual Aid UK – find your local community group
Don’t panic-buy! Donate your overflow to food banks. Support your local grocery stores
Grocery shopping online? Many elderly, vulnerable, chronically ill and disabled people were unable to get home delivery slots during 2020 and 2021. Please only shop online for groceries if you’re physically unable or find it very difficult to pick up shopping in-person.
Scottish Government Business Support Helpline: 0300 303 0660 (Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 17:30 pm)
Connecting in isolation – video calls
Large groups, hosting meetings, delivering interactive workshops:
- Zoom (unlimited mins free 1-to-1, or 40 mins free for group calls up to 100 people)
- Cisco Webex (50 mins free, up to 100 people)
- They both cover lots of needs, from live interactive classes, to recordings, captions and much more. Download the PDF.
Simple 1-way live streaming or class delivery:
- Use Live features on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to get some (limited) interaction via text chat; or upload pre-recorded videos.
Pairs, small groups (everyone needs an account):
- Houseparty works for up to 8 devices.
- WhatsApp is great for up to 2-4 people.
- Messenger does group calls.
- There are lots of 1-to-1 video calling apps, such as Skype, Google Duo, iOS Facetime.
Hopeflly some of the above resources have been useful. If you have a resource that should be on here, please contact me. Look after each other. ❤️