In the last couple of weeks I have been thinking very much about isolation. I am lucky because I work in an office with other people but I used to work from home alone. I knew when I needed to get out and meet with like-minded people because any phone call would become an opportunity to talk AT somebody. I was craving the social contact that only a face to face encounter can give you.
In September I attended the first Creative Breakfast in Hertford. A small group of us got together without any particular agenda (although over time I’m sure we will have things we want to achieve). Our backgrounds included the arts, retail, local council and my Heinz 57 career of PR/editorial/entrepreneur. And you know what, the hour flew by because we had so much to talk about and to ask each other.
Fast forward to the beginning of October and the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. The show is a perfect chance to catch up with yarnies, designers and other lovely people all under one rather glorious roof. It was so busy that I didn’t manage many in depth conversations but sometimes it is just enough to have a hug, share a smile and know that people are still around.
There are endless academic papers on the internet that look at the need for social interaction in the young (to help brain development) and in the elderly ( to keep the brain sharp) but all agree that social interaction is vital both for mental and physical health.
As designer makers it is all too easy to become so wrapped up in your work that you barely exchange two words with another human being throughout the day. Social interaction is important for inspiration and creativity. It is possible to be so focused on working alone that you get stuck - unable to see how to realise an idea or complete a piece. Sometimes just walking away, taking part in an exercise class, a book group or anything that gets you talking to other people, helps you through that impasse.
As a Life Coach, Clare Wildman helps people from all kinds of backgrounds realise their potential: “Just as a change in scene can stimulate creativity and new thoughts, so can social contact. Nothing beats speaking to someone face to face, sharing ideas and enthusiasms, brainstorming and encouraging each other. “
It’s also one of the reasons that many designer makers enjoy teaching workshops. There is an opportunity to discuss your work with other people and if the class is the right size (6-10 say some) there is the chance for everyone share their own experiences as well as learn something new. Hearing other people’s stories can be inspiring and help your ideas gel, as can the questions that you are asked in workshops.
Finally Clare has come up with some great tips for us all
When we think about work life balance we tend to focus on work versus leisure but perhaps we should also think about solitude versus time with people.
Anyone fancy meeting up for a coffee?