Using the UK Lockdown for Personal Development

Since I last blogged, the world has become a very different place. We live in unprecedented times, where our freedoms are limited for the protection of our family members, our friends, our brothers and sisters around the globe. An unseen enemy surges through the crowds, thriving on close physical contact: the Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

I often think that I don’t have enough time to realise my dreams – but now I have all the time in the world, and things still haven’t really been getting done. I started my COVID-19 journal, so that I can write about the changing situation as it unfolds, and I have been trying to complete courses of online study in between attempts at educating my child. So far, I’ve completed an Autism Awareness course with New Skills Academy, but the rest of my time has been spent wondering whether I should get in the hot tub and drown my sorrows, or drown myself.

I’ve spent a huge chunk of time preparing for surgery that I believed would be happening on April 2nd, but unfortunately that is no longer going ahead as the NHS prepares for a surge of patients with the Coronavirus. I lost weight, bought a mobility scooter, packed my hospital bag, and it was all for nothing. I let this get to me for a few days – I’d be lying if I said I was fine!

But I’ve found that my daily studies have allowed me to escape from the intense situation we now find ourselves in. I’m relearning French, I’m studying fitness and weight loss, and social media marketing, and I have a Level 5 SEND diploma on the go too! I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favourite resources so you too can begin studying cheap or free!

  1. Memrise: Memrise is a language learning app which has a whole host of languages to choose from! I’m currently immersed in French, Spanish and Italian. For just £29.99* a year, you can access what I have found to be a super effective learning method. The app gets you reading, writing, spelling and speaking in the language of your choice, covering all bases for potential communication. *price correct at time of writing
  2. New Skills Academy: Regular special offers makes NSA a personal favourite. I follow their Facebook page closely because they often have £100 and £200 qualifications for just £19.99. All courses are accredited with the CPD service, and your certificates can be validated online by an employer if necessary. They have a huge range, from Autism Awareness to Social Media Marketing. The courses are easy to follow and you take a test at the end to prove you have learned from the course, and to get your certificate. Affordable, accredited, what’s not to love?
  3. Shaw Academy: Working on a month-to-month subscription, Shaw Academy offers a range of online courses, so you can study just for fun, or pay to get your certificate. Recently they ran an offer for a heavily discounted lifetime membership which I snapped up, but your first course is free.
  4. Skillshare: Are you a creator? This one is for you. Professional creators share their skills here so you can learn new things and apply them to your livelihood, your life, and your business. The first month is free then membership starts from £7 a month.

Some places also offer free courses too! I’ll be reviewing a few of these later in the week so keep an eye out for that.

We may be stuck indoors, unable to do our normal jobs or having to look after the kids because of the school closures, but it is imperative we find some time for ourselves, and this has been one of my favourite ways of diverting myself from social media.

Learning new skills will help us to bounce back when everything goes back to normal, because eventually, it WILL go back to normal!

Image credit: Penn State University

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