I’ve recently been feeling like I’ve had my creativity drained from my body. I’m sure I‘m not the only one who feels like this. As such, I’ve been really struggling to write for the blog. Before lockdown, I had so many great posts planned – the next few were going to be about my trip to Liverpool, how I style midi skirts, and tips on managing anxiety at work. But with my trips cancelled, living solely in baggy tees and leggings, and having anxiety at an all time high, I would feel disingenuous writing about these things. It’s hard to write about normal life when normal life doesn’t exist right now.
With all this “free”/locked at home time, I’ve been in a little battle with myself. On one side, I have my anxiety fueled, workaholic self, who is annoyed that I haven’t been productive. Then on the other side, I have my self-care driven self, who is pushing for more naps and more snacks. Sometimes, the scales tip and I end up falling down one of those holes. But for the most part, I’ve been finding joy in balancing between the two! Although normal life has been pushed to the side, I’m beginning to get a kind of new normal routine, balancing my productive and self-care priorities. So, let me tell you what I’ve been up to in these weeks of self-isolation, between working from home, looking out of the window, and video calling my family.
I’ve spent a lot of my time sitting on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, and watching good ol’ Netflix. I devoured Tiger King over two days – I love a good documentary, and it was one wild ride. My housemates and I have also started watching Breaking Bad, purely because half of us have never seen it before. We’ve just finished Season 1 and I am currently hooked; I look forward to the slot after dinner as that’s Breaking Bad time!
It’s only taken a global pandemic and a country on lockdown for me to start working out and looking after my skin. Catch me doing yoga in the evenings and I’ve started following Joe Wick’s weekday workouts – they are so fun but also so tough, I really feel I’ve done a full body workout after one of these. I’ve also been making sure my skin has been getting some extra TLC, as it’s been pretty dry and dull thanks to the lack of sun and air it’s getting. Now, it’s looking the best it ever has.
On the more productive side of things, I’ve decluttered my living space! Over the past few months, I’ve let certain tasks slide because I’ve been ‘too busy’ (that translates as ‘too tired and lazy to do anything after working all day’). Now, in between Zoom meetings and Netflix, I’ve managed to organise my wardrobe, redesign my pegboard, put up art on my feature wall, and generally did a big tidy, clean, and declutter of my bedroom. The room finally feels like what I’ve wanted it to look like for months.
As a youngling, I learnt an instrument at school. Not your usual flute or guitar or piano – I learnt to play the mandolin. I started at age seven, joined the school folk group, then regional groups, and ended up playing in folk groups in sessions, gigs, and concerts. Since heading to university, subsequently graduating, and battling the adult world, music practice has kind of slipped into the background. However, it’s now worked its way into my pandemic routine! I get such a burst of joy when I pick up the mandolin and go through all the tunes I have stored in my head. I can spend hours looking for new reels or jigs to play, and it fills me with a nostalgic comfort to just sit and play.
What’s the one thing I knew I’d get done during lockdown? Reading, and lots of it. So far, I’ve finished Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (which made me weep), and listened to the Audible version of Taylor Jenkins-Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six (an excellent and vibrant story). To keep me company when working from home, I’ve downloaded Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere on Audible. Although I’m only a chapter in, it’s got my attention so far! For a physical read, I’ve picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read since it’s been out – Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Two chapter’s in and it’s already made my list of books that everyone should read.
Finally, I’ve turned into the hippy wine aunt. I’ve purchased an oil diffuser, and if I’m in my bedroom, it’s on. Not only does my room smell like lemongrass or peppermint or lavender, I genuinely find the oils help to chill me out if I feel an anxiety spike. Plus, the little bubbling sound it makes is so soothing. And I’m now a very happy plant mum! Pre-lockdown, I bought a potted ivy plant which subsequently dried out, so I’ve been learning how to care for it. I also had an aloe plant delivered and am just obsessed with how lovely these small plants make my living area look and feel.
So, although everything is nerve wracking and anxiety-inducing, I’ve managed to find moments and things that keep me occupied. I can feel my creative cups starting to fill again, and I’ve really enjoyed writing this post, which is a good sign! Hopefully, I’ve found the balance that will keep me going in these times of lockdown and self-isolation. Let me know what you’ve been doing in self-isolation to keep yourself well and occupied.