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Our Creativity Knew No Limit In Lockdown

Coronavirus has forced people around the world to change the way they live their lives. In Britain we have been spending most of our time at home, attempting to educate our own children and leaving the house only for essential reasons. What has kept us going? Here are eight things British people have been doing to cope with life in lockdown.

new online skills!

With almost half of Britons (48%) reporting that their wellbeing has been affected by the coronavirus crisis, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), large numbers of us have been forced into finding new coping strategies.

Probably unsurprisingly, top of the list of things people say are helping them is staying in touch with friends and family.

Almost eight in 10 respondents (78%) cite contacting important people in their lives over the phone, social media or video conferencing as a key factor in coping while being at home, according to ONS survey data collected at the end of April.

And individuals have also been flocking to a variety of platforms to stay in touch.

Britons are spending more time on social media, with almost half (47%) doing so, according to polling from Ipsos Mori.

And video-conferencing tool Zoom and video-chat app Houseparty have seen huge rises in take-up.

Zoom says its global daily users went from around 10 million in December last year to a massive 300 million in April, while Houseparty has revealed that its app has seen 50 million sign-ups.

helping others

Community spirit has also grown, ONS data suggests, with eight in 10 adults (80%) saying they think people are doing more to help others than before the pandemic began.

cooking, gardening, reading

More than four in 10 Britons are turning to cooking, gardening or reading (45%, 42%, 44%) – or all three – to help deal with current restrictions, according to the ONS.

News that many of us have turned to baking may not come as a surprise, with supermarket shelves stripped of flour since March.

British grocers saw a 92% increase in purchasing of flour in the four weeks to 22 March, according to consumer research company Kantar. That’s an extra 2.1 million people who bought flour in those four weeks compared with the year before.

There has been a surge in demand for baking ingredients overall, Kantar’s analysts say, with sales of suet up by 115% and sugar by 46% in the month to 22 April. More than 40% of the consumers polled by the company say they are doing more home-baking now than before lockdown.

But along with baking ingredients, people are also craving instruction. Demand for bread recipes rose dramatically on the BBC Good Food website in April, with all the top-10-viewed videos relating to baking or bread. Nine of the highest rising recipes were also bread-related, with traffic to “easy soda bread” increasing 2,700% on last year.

“The motion of stirring, beating and kneading can be meditative and the results are very rewarding, which is why we are seeing a surge in people wanting to learn new baking skills,” suggests Lily Barclay, editor of bbcgoodfood.com.

As well as cooking, gardening has also proved popular, with seed companies across the UK reporting huge spikes in sales at the beginning of lockdown, with some halting new orders altogether.

Since then, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says it has seen hundreds of thousands more people use its gardening advice pages compared with last year.

Over the past few weeks, a third of a million Britons searched for tips on how to grow potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries at home, while traffic to compost pages has increased by nearly 500% on the previous year, the RHS says.

DIY & learning something new

With some Britons in lockdown now having more time on their hands, almost a third (32%) are using those extra hours to do DIY tasks and more than one in 10 (14%) are learning something new, according to the ONS.

The internet is awash with guides on upskilling, from home improvements, languages and instruments to dance, crafts and coding.

But other platforms awarding official qualifications have also reported a surge in enrolments, such as those providing “massive open online courses”, or Moocs, such as edX, FutureLearn and Coursera.

Many, including the World Economic Forum, believe this shift away from the classroom towards educational technology, or “edtech”, among all ages could well have changed the way we all learn and educate ourselves forever.

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