A Guide to getting creative and staying sane
These are such strange times. Just as we were coming to terms with being in lockdown and getting used to new routines and putting new habits in place we now have a shift to the guidelines. Or do we? I think we’re all a bit confused as to what the next few days and weeks will mean for us.
For many of the people I have been in touch with, lockdown continues, but with new worries about our safety as the restrictions look to be lifted in phases. I think we’ve all found new ways to manage our stress during these times. Below are some of my getting creative and staying sane coping strategies during this time of lockdown limbo.
I’ve been trying not to get bogged down with my list of things I’ve been meaning to do. There’s this weird feeling that we’ve been given this extra time that we need to use to either get lots of things done or do relaxing very well indeed and read lots of book. It’s too much pressure. Instead I’m looking for small, and more importantly fun projects that will feel like a manageable win by completing them. I found that just painting the front door a different colour (see previous post: Photographing The Home) made me feel like I was doing something productive without it feeling like such a big job that it stopped me from doing it. And the results are immediate. Doing things with an end result is much more therapeutic than doing things where you don’t know if it’s worked or not.
More manageable and more fun than a To-Do list is a ‘20 for 2020’ list inspired by Gretchen Rubin and her podcast ‘Happier’. This is a list for the year of things you can do that will help to make you happier. I have some work based ones on there because I know that by doing them I will be happier but most of them are enjoyable, easy things, like re-reading my childhood favourite book series ‘The Brambly Hedge’.
Get creative in the kitchen
There’s been a lot of talk about baking and bread making over the last couple of months. I’m both vegan and gluten free. I also have no willpower. So there hasn’t been a lot of baking going on in our house but we have created some new foodie rituals during this time, one of which is Monday night pizza night using the outdoor pizza wood fired store. My partner has a ‘normal’ wheaty cheesy pizza and I have a gluten free one with vegan cheese. And it is wonderful. And my clothes smell of wood smoke the next day.
If you’re struggling with ideas of what to make and want some healthy options using things you’re likely to have in your cupboards, head to Stephanie Harrison’s How to cook Instagram where you’ll find recipes in the story highlights. The chickpea oat crackers are divine and so unbelievably simple to make. Utterly delicious paired with some homemade Mahammara (red peper dip) or wild garlic pesto (loads of recipes for these on Pinterest).
Start a small project
A small project which has a beginning and an end is a lovely way to enjoy all this stay home (or should I say ‘stay alert’) time. I find painting to be the perfect, mindless and calming task and I’m now going to take my paint brush to one of the living room walls and to one of our bedroom walls. And the side benefit of this is that as an interiors photographer who can’t currently get out to take photos, I’m more inclined to photograph my house if it’s looking a bit fresher!
If you’re looking for something of a bit more crafty nature then I can’t recommend Jenny Adin-Christie’s embroidery kits more. When we first met we discovered that we had a shared love of the Brambly Hedge series and having meetings whilst sat cross legged on the floor. We work well together.
I had the pleasure of photographing her delightful creations for her newly launched website and they made me feel like I’d entered an enchanted world. Pictured below are two of my favourites, the Hill Top Garden kit and The Wordsworth Harp Needlecase kit. Jenny also recommends making your own designs. Start by sketching a design with pencil and then just doodle with stitches …..”and the rhythmic motion of putting needle and thread through fabric is so soothing.”
“When I started stitching, listening to a good audio book at the same time, I realised that hours had slipped by and my heart rate had gone down, my mind felt freer and I felt generally a whole lot calmer and able to cope!” - Jenny Adin-Christie
My next instagram challenge follows on from our last one of looking for mundane corners of your home. This time, I’d like you to look at the mundane and find something enchanting or abstract within it. Reflections, light patterns, a washing line, evening light throwing shadows on the wall. But please don’t be a perfectionist about it, have fun and get posting using the hashtag #thelockdownhome.