Pandemic brings new normal, new hobbies

Keep Calm and Garden On: Dennis Kathol in Calgary on June 10. Kathol is trimming the dead twigs off his tomato plant. Kathol has a green thumb and has been gardening every day during self-isolation to help the time pass. (Photo by Ashley Avery/The Press)

When self-isolation came into effect, people started to pick up new hobbies and skills to keep themselves busy during the pandemic.

Self-isolation has caused people to develop cabin fever and forced people to try new things. New hobbies that they would have never tried if it wasn’t for the pandemic.

Jill Lennox is a stay at home mom and has multiple hobbies that relate to art. She does her own forms of art work, window painting, and rock painting.

Prior to COVID-19 she developed a hobby where she makes ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts. During quarantine, she developed a hobby called window painting.

Lennox joined a Facebook group called ‘Easter Egg Hunt Quarantine 2020’ that was organized by the catholic church in her area.

“I’ve never painted a window before that,” said Lennox. “Every week they [the catholic church] have different crafts for people that are staying home with children, so we started painting windows.”

Lennox has multiple hobbies to keep herself and her son busy throughout the day.

“During the pandemic, we’ve done a lot of rearranging and painting our windows different scenes,” said Lennox. “We’ve got our kitchen window, it’s just an abstract one, with a cross in the middle and then the outside is just little triangles and stuff, different colours and things like that.”

Lennox plans to keep these new hobbies up after self-isolation is over and is looking forward to all the new creations her family can do.

“We have a lot of free time and of course my son is still small so he doesn’t understand not touch a lot of stuff when we go to stores,” said Lennox. “He’s used to going to stores and getting to pick out his own items.”

Vanessa Wilson is a criminal defence paralegal at HD Law Group. Wilson is responsible for calling her lawyers’ clients to be sure that they are aware of court dates and making sure that her boss is prepared.

Wilson has recently applied for her Bachelor’s degree for professional arts and criminal justice. She hadn’t thought about going back to school since she was 17 years old but the pandemic has shifted her perspective.

“I went from being ridiculously busy, between my full-time job and some volunteer hours at night, to nothing at night and it just felt like my brain was withering away,” said Wilson. “Think about it more and more, instead of taking like a fluffer course, I should go all in.”

For Wilson, it’s mainly day to day operations for her as she is considered an essential worker so she was never truly self-isolated.

“I’ve been at work pretty much every day since COVID happened,” said Wilson. “I’ve worked from home, I think, twice, but other than that, we’re in the office.”

Self-isolation has been a little different for Wilson than for everyone else. More isolation and not so much self.

Wilson volunteers at night with local youth organizations but operations have stopped in March due to the pandemic.

“I’m a supplies officer for World Canadian Air Cadet program in the southeast Calgary,” said Wilson. “We curate out of Forest Lawn so it’s a lot of more at risk youth.”

A Little Dirt Never Hurts: Dennis Kathol in Calgary on June 10. Kathol has always had a green thumb and due to self-isolation, he’s out in the dirt every day. (Photo by Ashley Avery/The Press)