My Top Three Isolation Inspirations

How I Spent Lockdown, and How I Was Inspired In Isolation

Image supplied by author

In deciding what I was going to do in the strange time of lockdown and isolation I asked myself: How can I make the most of this time? The self-feedback I received in answer was that I wanted to do the following three things — which are actually six things, because well that’s what came to me, because they all seemed like good ideas, because they’re things I can combine, and because I can.

My Top Three Isolation Inspirations


Embracing being at home and indulging in pure unadulterated me time, to my absolute delight I discovered all thirty-four of the previously screened episodes of Inspector Montalbano were available on iPlayer. I’m a huge fan, so of course, I decided to work my way through them — there is a little work involved as it’s in Italian with English subtitles. As I’d watched them before I wanted to create a sense of purpose around re-watching them, and so I decided I’d read each book first, then watch the episode.

My reasoning behind this was two-fold:

  1. I want to read more fiction, and mysteries are a life-long favourite genre. Beginning from a young age with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books, then moving on to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple detective novels, and many, many more in-between.
  2. I have an idea for a mystery book, but I have no idea how to go about writing it, and so I’m setting out to learn just that, and what better way to do it than by embracing my love of literature and film/tv.


Before the pandemic hit, I’d planned a road-trip around Ireland along with exploring France by train. While this of course has to go on hold, I thought I could still prepare, and as this is something I could multi-task on, I thought the best combination would be with home-exercise. So, I got my Michel Thomas Irish and French Language CDs, along with my Jane Fonda and Callanetics DVDs off the shelf, dusted them off, put on my leg-warmers and got going.

Image supplied by author


I decided I’d use this time to learn how to take better photographs. This is simply because I love photographs, but I’ve never been very good at taking them. This seemed like the perfect time to try out my new iPhone that I’d bought because of the camera function, which was reportedly good for both photos and videos. I created a project which I’ve called ‘Capturing The Beauty In Everyday WorkLife’, and as we’re allowed to exercise outside of home, I thought I’d combine both. How am I doing? I’ll let you judge – from the photos I’ve shared in this post.

Image supplied by author

Book Wisdom

So, what wisdom am I gleaning from reading mystery books and how could this be helpful in my WorkLife? Looking at the first book in the series of Inspector Montalbano (The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri), Donna Leon, an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice, Italy, said: “The novels of Andrea Camilleri breathe out the sense of place, the sense of humour, and the sense of despair that fill the air of Sicily. To read him is to be taken to that glorious, tortured island.”

Alongside exploring how to write a mystery book, I’m also working on my next book, called WorkLife Book Club. The setting for each chapter will be a different restaurant, as the group discuss WorkLife stories and featured books. I need to learn how to breathe out the sense of place for each setting — wish me luck!

Words of Wisdom

In the midst of times of uncertainty and disruption powerful shifts are going to come about, people are going to make big changes. You may not have the clarity on what you could, should, would do, if you only knew what that was, and that’s OK. Focus instead on how you should think about making decisions when the time is right for you.

Sage Wisdom

Down moments are sometimes when the greatest opportunities arise.


This chapter of my WorkLife has just begun. In time I’ll reflect on what it meant for me, what I learnt from it, and what changes it effected in my WorkLife.

I leave you with a couple of questions for you to reflect on at whatever stage you’re at, at this chapter in your WorkLife.

What do/did you want to get out of this strange, bizarre, challenging time?

What do you want to remember from this time?

Through reflection and self-feedback let the answers inform your isolation inspirations in whatever you choose to do.

In time should you choose to make changes in your WorkLife, ask yourself: How should I think about making these decisions?

Today’s featured book is: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of School Of WorkLife Books & Your WorkLife Your Way: Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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