For a time where my Facebook would usually be filled and amplified by friends travelling to Europe, it has now been replaced by pictures of successful sourdough bread bakes and hand-painted creations. Who would have thought that a picture of bread would create more FOMO for me than ever before, in a time where I now have time, but I haven’t. Isn’t it crazy to think that I could have made bread because I don’t need to be at that coffee date at 11 am or that baby shower?
It is coming up to the end of week seven, and I am now finally feeling the complaisant of these isolating times we are living in but also a realisation that I am finally in the mood to do something, like writing a blog post. Yes, this blog post.
There have been times in isolation where I have tried to create a strict routine to minimise my fear of putting on weight, especially from all the comfort eating. I am fortunate enough that I currently work for a business that has allowed me to Work From Home, which has helped me remember what day it is, well at the least Monday – Friday.
If you know me, I am that person that thrives off a fast-paced lifestyle, even though at times it seems to stress me out, I don’t enjoy slowing down. I find it hard because I always want to achieve something. So when faced with this current situation where the government is giving us permission to stay indoors and buy essentials such as puzzles to keep sane, yeah, nar, this is not happening to me.
But this attitude or way of life has had to come to a halt. It has had to be paused and reevaluated. So what have I learnt about myself throughout this time of being advised to slow down?
Nanna & Nostalgia
When the whole panic buying palaver began (Yes, remember that time where our conversations with friends and family were filled with toilet paper stories, empty shelf photos and what substitutes we were going have to use in our dinner as we couldn’t access certain staples), I had to take a step back and decide to embrace Nan’s way of preparing food.
Her unique way of preparing food was always made fun at the time but now looking back was a lifesaver in this time. She would freeze food; she would use cheaper cuts of meat and use what was in the pantry. She adapted to what she had on hand and what was in season. These may have been some unusual flavours in recipes that I wouldn’t usually use together, but it was ok. We ate the food she prepared with love, and it was ok. We survived and created memories from some of these unique dishes.
These time has made me change my behaviour. My inner Nanna was coming out, preserving and not wasting anything. Which meant my husband was always finding carrot ends in every meal we consumed, and now we were eating the same dish, multiple days in a row. I have appreciated slow cooking with cuts of meat I wouldn’t usually consume as I wouldn’t know what to do with it and consuming different types of marmalades instead of the humble avocado.
A craving for nature
Nature has a way of somewhat being intertwined throughout our nervous system. There is no other connection on earth, where our immune system opens up a feeling that allows us to feel a certain way when standing in a forest or touching leaves. There is a spiritual transaction that flows through our body and sinks into our skin. Even continually to work from home, I have now realised that I need nature and it is essential for me. As much as I love my indoor space, surrounded by my multiple indoor plants, it just does not spark that same connection. I had made a point of stepping away from my laptop, turning on do not disturb and switching off from society. I needed to spend time with nature. Not only do I return happier but after spending time going for a walk but also calmer.
Using space intentionally
It was week two from working from home, my husband Steve chatted about the need to have his own space moving forward. He was feeling like we were spending 24/7 with each other. When I found out I had to WFH permanently, I moved all my work belongings into his office and settled in, not realising at the time that his space had been intruded. I appreciated that he expressed this and made me aware that throughout this time, the area we lived in was going to be adaptable in this new situation. We had to use our space intentionally to be able to put up with each other. I remember when I was studying Interior Design, my lecturer would bang on about having a flow in a space and how we place furniture not only to look aesthetically pleasing but allow us to live out our lives comfortably. This concept was especially important in a time like this. We recently moved into our house in January, and at the start of Covid, we are still setting up our space. We were lucky that we haven’t experienced that decluttering of house stuff that many people have done throughout this time. We are fortunate we sold everything when moving overseas and have come back to just basics and even have a spare room. I have now moved into this space and set up an office. This area had become not only a place to work but also space to be and escape when needed. I have read books on the floor and have now got the privilege to fill that space with objects that bring me joy. I have also found that I cannot spend a whole week in an office. I have moved around our home and evaluated how different rooms made me feel. Some spots created more light in the morning, and this had been uplifting on a busy day ahead, or if I felt the need for comfort, I would work on the comfy couch with my throw around me. It has made me appreciate my home space and how it can make me think and feel.
In a never-ending state of the so-called “wellbeing.”
Throughout isolation, my state of wellbeing has felt like it has been a constant pendulum, swaying from one extreme to the other. The ISO time has made me cook more fruit crumbles more than ever, consumed multiple blocks of chocolate while regularly exercising numerous times a day, feeling inspired by buying more activewear and doing many yoga sessions. So yes, a rather mish-mash of self-care and whatever you call the complete opposite to that.
Times in ISO has made me appreciate life and started documenting memories. After reading “The Art of Making Memories” by Meik Wiking inspired me to capture and write down memories which engrain these in our mind, and we have a higher chance of remembering these times. I have found myself writing when I have felt anxious, and it usually has a way of calming me.
Yoga has allowed me to stop and focus on breathing. Breathing and meditation are often overlooked in everyday life. Still, I have found it helpful, not just in regards to exercise but also being reminded that we are only human. Breathing allows us to ground ourselves. Taking the time before work, that is usually time commuting had now been replaced by breathing and scanning oneself to see how I am feeling.
I have had to shift my ways of doing life. It has been uncomfortable with doubt, created an anxiousness about the unknown, but it has allowed it to realise what is essential at the end of the day. We have everything we need to get through each day. We can still eat; we still have community over technology and even have the privilege to stay home to stay healthy.
It has allowed ourselves a time in history to realise how important it is to be with others, that physical transaction of a hug or a handshake. We have now experienced a time in life where we have had to find ways to express ourselves, no matter what that looks like.
So what does it look like moving forward, when we are released from isolation?
The shops may slowly open; we will step out of our doors to embrace work-life, and we continue life, as we know it.
It may mean that moving forward, our constant flow that has been slowed down continues in the same direction, but then a new trickle occurs, it begins to steam off and flow into something new and unknown.