What’s Getting Me Through Lockdown
I keep reminding myself of a quote I heard in a video by Shot From The Street’s Lizzy Hadfield; ‘The future is bright, if we ebb with the flow’. I found it to be a beautifully poetic line, and a gentle reminder to keep rolling with the punches when times are feeling uncertain and tough, as they are for almost all of us right now. So, I thought I’d share a few things which are helping me ebb in this new flow:
I’ve written about letter writing before (here), but finding new ways to creatively interact with my loved ones really is bringing joy to each week. Sometimes it’s writing out a simple letter with words of encouragement and using the pages as a safe space to voice concerns, and sometimes it’s unique approach to digital letter writing – I can highly recommend this approach if you want to put a smile on the face of someone you miss. It’s also a great opportunity to share a list of your favourite Netflix, music and podcast recommendations; I’m certain I make up at least fifty percent of the ‘Friends’ worldwide views on Netflix, so maybe it’s time for something new…
As much as I hate to admit it, social media really is one of the things pulling me through. Being connected to millions of people all going through a shared difficulty really does help to make me feel a part of something. Seeing the minutiae of my friends’ everyday life brings comfort and normality, looking back at fun times I’ve had and reminding myself that I will one day be on a plane on the way to an exciting place really does make me feel more hopeful, and the meme video of the Italian man ‘chin-chinning’ himself in the mirror? Well, that’s going to make even the most anxious person laugh for a moment at the absurdity.
The right kind of book
Obviously being safe indoors (I’m trying to reframe and not think of this time as being ‘stuck’ inside…) is the perfect opportunity to make a dent in the books which have been sitting untouched on your shelves for years. However, making sure to pick up the right kind of book right now is so important, for example, reading about beaches and romance might not make you feel much better about sitting in your living room unable to see your boyfriend who is self-isolating in a different city. I’ve been reading The Better Half: On The Genetic Superiority of Women by Sharon Moalem. A fascinating book about the genetic difference between men and women, and it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever had an interest in reading before but I am loving it; I sit with a cuppa in one hand and a pen in the other making furious notes about the development of the brain and the importance of Vitamin C with such fervour as would only make my secondary-school biology teacher proud. Using this time to enrich myself brings each day a new excitement and makes this whole experience feel a little bit less like a waste of three months and a little bit more like a productive opportunity to better myself.
I’m seeing more and more people working out at home and filming time-lapses of jump squats and yoga contortions, but I don’t feel like I’m seeing anywhere near as many people talking about how important mindfulness is at a time like this. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Making a concerted effort to notice the small things around you instantly lifts your mood and rather than aiming to take me away from the current moment, as tough as I may be finding it, I’m finding the joy in being present. Yesterday I spent a good five minutes staring at tiny bubbles floating around in my iced coffee, and the day before that I spent at least ten minutes closely watching a tiny bug go for a walk across my desk and it was the most at peace I’d felt in a good few days. So as important as it is to do your sit ups and get your blood pumping, don’t forget to smell the roses (just remember to stay two feet away from other passer-bys on your way to them).
Seems like an obvious one, however, I don’t mean an extensive skin care routine and a glass of wine, no no. I’m talking real self-care. Staying indoors twenty-four-seven can make it hard to find the motivation to take care of basic needs, so ensuring you have a daily shower as you normally would, dressing for the day as you normally would (these Levis in the image above, which I picked up for £3 from a charity shop a couple of months ago, are the comfiest ‘real’ trousers I own, and make me feel like I have my sh*t together considerably more than my PJs), and making sure you eat good food. I spoke on Instagram recently with @freyaandelarereallyswell about how no one seems to talk about loss of appetite during times of stress, though we keep seeing memes about coming out of isolation as a half-man-half-snacks monster. So making sure to eat good healthy, balanced meals during the day to ensure my mood and immune system are staying in tip-top condition is keeping me ticking along and helping so much more than I ever thought it would.
And there you have it. If you’d like to see any specific products, TV shows, books etc I’m loving at the minute please let me know by commenting or DMing me on Instagram. Keeping ebbing, lovely lot, and we’ll be through this in no time.