I swear down, if I hear one more headline about this disease I may scream. Fear mongering, panic buying, death. The very worst aspects of human existence are being exposed. While it seems the world is turning inward, panicked, trapped and confused, the planet is healing at a remarkable rate. The affect of grounded planes, quarantined people and less international movement is doing wonders for our planet. So there is a silver lining.
But that’s not what this blog is about. I have seen a lot of talk about boredom, people ignoring the advice to stay in or at least social distance. I get that, the thought of being kept inside indefinitely fills me with dread. Being outside, active and productive is absolutely key to maintaining my often fragile mental health.
I would kill to be purely bored, to under occupied in the wake of possible countrywide shut down. As a self employed freelancer I know I am among many others when I say I that I am anxious and depressed about what the future holds for me and my business.
As I write this post Boris Johnson has just announced a total lockdown on the country. My heart is pounding, my mouth is dry and an unpleasant feeling is spreading slowly through my body. Up until this very moment I have been able to convince myself that whatever happens I will be able to get out and shoot, run on the beach and continue life as much as normal.
Over the last few days our new reality has started to sink in and I am working hard to adapt as quickly and easily as I can.
I think some of the key things to remember during this absolutely bizarre time is that no one is alone in this. The entire country (and most of the wider world) is feeling the affect of this virus. The world as we know it has stopped for everyone, with some affects more detrimental than others. It is also key to remember that we will get through this. Whether that be in the preferred days, weeks or even months; it is going to end and the only way we can speed this up is to listen and act on the advice we are being given. I live up in the North of England, right near the beach with next to no one around. I cannot tell you how tempting it is to sneak out and shoot. But for what? For a quick buzz, some photos I may use. To risk the wider community its just not worth it, something I have to constantly remind myself.
I am rounding up a few tips I am finding super helpful during this unsettling time. I do want to reiterate that there is no “normal” way to feel. In fact, I think this statement is very true for every aspect of life. My mothers favourite saying is: “Normal is a setting on a washing machine” which as well as always making us laugh, rings very true as we get older.
My first tip is to go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to adjust and settle in to working from home, or perhaps not even working at all at the minute. It’s a surreal feeling for a lot of people, and a worrying time for anyone who is self employed or building their business. So go ahead, binge your favourite series, eat chocolate for breakfast, sit in your pants all day. Whatever makes you feel safe or comfortable in the situation.
Secondly; use this unexpected free time to learn a new skill, or tackle something you’ve been putting aside for months. Maybe its cleaning out your fridge, or sorting your garage, or cleaning out your wardrobe. As for skills, they’re endless! Learn a new language, take up yoga, start working out, watch YouTube tutorials, enrol on an online workshop (Strohl Works is a personal favourite) take up meditation; Headspace is a brilliant app and I have been using it for a few months now (thanks to my Mother!)
Look toward the future; I get super excited thinking about all the amazing things that will come out of this situation; planning my next trips, writing notes of things I want to achieve as soon as we get back to some normality, searching for destinations I haven’t explored yet, creating mood boards, discovering new creators.
My final, and most important tip; STAY CREATIVE! This is honestly a lifeline for me. Step out of your comfort zone, if you live in a city (Londoners I’m looking at you) use your daily exercise to shoot some city scapes, play with light and take the opportunity to shoot spots that are usually crowded with people. If you live in the countryside, or a village (as we do) head out and shoot portraits with your siblings, dogs, parents. Anyone you have to hand. Wake up early, shoot the sunrise, local wildlife. On days that you can’t face heading out, potter around your house, looking for sun traps, little corners that the light hits especially beautifully, take selfies, practice self timer portraits. Remember in all of this, you’re not looking to shoot the next master piece, or your favourite photo ever, it’s about trying new things and staying stoked.
For those of you who don’t take photos, or write or blog. Try knitting, drawing, painting, singing, creating goofy videos. Anything that makes you happy, no matter how stupid it may seem.
For me, its always been super important to see results from what I have done every day, whether that be photos I want to edit, a fully crossed off to do list or a completed blog post Ive been putting off.
Remember, there is no normal, and there is no right or wrong.
Stay safe, stay happy
(Blog written in partnership with Pala Eyewear)