Keeping up with your interests when you can’t go out…

By | March 23, 2020

With all the “social distancing” we’re being asked to do at the moment, it’s easy to feel a bit cut off.  And not just from friends and family, who you can (and should!) keep in touch with using services like Skype, Facebook and Messenger.

There are all sorts of hobbies and interests that it’s hard to keep up with when you can’t go out and socialise with people.  But this week I’m going to tell you about a couple of things that can really help. The first is forums…

What are forums, anyway?

Forums are special websites designed to help people chat online about particular topics.  There are forums on just about anything – music, film, TV, arts and crafts, World War II re-enactment, football, cars, business, money, diabetes, travel, poker…  The list is virtually endless – whatever you’re interested in discussing, there’s probably a forum about it.

A lot of club and membership websites have their own forums, too – so if you’re already a member of a club or society, it’s worth looking at their website in case they have one.

A forum is basically just a big list of questions or topics, each with comments underneath them.  The big list is called a “board”, and each topic or question is called a “thread”. Other people can post replies or comments on a particular thread, and it keeps all the relevant bits together.

It’s usually very easy to sign up for a forum – you just need to give them an email address and create a password.  Then they’ll send you an email with a link in it. All you need to do is click the link to confirm your email address and Bob’s your goldfish!

If you’re not sure where to start, you could try a general forum.  There’ll be plenty of people on there chatting at the moment (although you might find a lot of the conversation is about the virus!).  Here are a few general over 50s forums that you might want to have a look at:

If you want to try a bit harder to get away from all the Covid-19 talk, or you’re keen to keep up with your particular hobby, there are loads of more specific forums to try.

If you’re into cars and motoring, I recommend the Pistonheads forum.  Or if you’re of the green-fingered persuasion, Gardener’s Corner is a really friendly forum. Your best bet is to search on Google for whatever your interest is, followed by the word “forum” – and see what comes up.

Why not try learning something new?

Another way to brighten up your day if your usual pastimes are out at the moment, is to try something different altogether.

Maybe have a go at a new craft, or learn a foreign language.

There are various places online where you can sign up for paid courses in this sort of thing – you could try udemy.com or alison.com – but there’s plenty of free stuff around, too.

YouTube is full of great tutorial videos and classes.  All you need to do is go to youtube.com and search for e.g. “candle making tutorial” and plenty of results will come up.  If you find that you like the way a particular person teaches, you might find that they’ve got a “YouTube channel”, with lots of similar videos for you to try.

And don’t worry about not being able to go out and buy candle wax or embroidery thread or whatever other supplies you need – it’s all available online!  Anything you need, you’ll be able to get delivered straight to your door.

All the best everyone, and stay well.  And stay tuned for my email at 11am today about our new book How to Shop Online with Confidence

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