COVID-19 restrictions have been a wild ride for everybody. A lot of our lives revolve around a pressure to be constantly creative and productive. It’s okay to use this time to clear your mind and spend some time with yourself. It’s also okay if you find this abrupt stillness unnerving and if you are desperately searching for a creative release.
Below is a list of things I’ve done to try feel a little bit more like a human being. Hopefully, you can find some inspiration.
1. CHANGE UP YOUR LOOK.
After begging my mother for three years, she finally caved and bought me my first pack of dark brown box dye at around age 13. Since then, I’ve had dark hair and a thick fringe. It’s a bigger part of my identity than I am usually willing to admit.
A few weeks into isolation, I decided I needed to add a drop of drama into the monotonous sea of my isolation life. After a five minute chat with the girl at my local hairdressing supplies store, I decided to buy some bleach.
After the first two rounds of hair frying, it looked okay. But, boredom takes no prisoners.
This weekend, I reached for the peroxide for a third time. Now, I look like a barbie doll who put a fork in a wall socket. But it was undoubtedly very time-consuming and gosh do I feel alive!
2. DO SOMETHING YOU’RE BAD AT.
I’ve always really enjoyed making things. I’ve never been great at illustration, but I put pen to paper. I mainly focused on drawing friends and family. Staring at images of loved ones for hours trying to sketch out their features almost became a fitting substitute for seeing them in person. Failing at capturing their likeness was hilarious for all involved. But, more importantly, it reminded me that you can create just for yourself.
As a journalism student, I am always writing to beef up my portfolio or creating to maintain my GPA. My escapades into illustration reminded me that you can create for yourself. It’s completely okay to be bad at something and still have a shot.
3. LEARN A FAMILY RECIPE. MY TAKE ON MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER’S PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES.
Not only will this let off some creative steam, but you also get to feel a little bit more connected with your family.
My family migrated to Fremantle, Western Australia in the 1930s. Their primary source of income was a market garden just south of the city. Their primary source of social currency
was the delicious Italian foods they would make and gift to their friends.
One of my absolute favourite things about going home to Perth is picking up a jar of pickled green tomatoes from my grandfather. The recipe, which belongs to his mother, is very rigorous and takes three full days to complete. I spent an entire day just slicing tomatoes! My lunchtime wraps are now ten times more delicious, and my grandfather learnt to Facetime just to tell me how proud he was.
4. LOSE HOURS TO A VIRTUAL WORLD.
Animal Crossing is a game where the user has almost limitless opportunities to build and customise their deserted island.
‘New Horizons’ is the newest instalment to the series, and it’s available on the Nintendo switch.
I usually try to stay away from these types of games. I get a little obsessive. I lost most of the early 2000s to the Sims series.
In the last two weeks, I’ve spent over 80 hours earning bells, catching sea bass and breeding hybrid flowers. Being the resident representative of my own Nook Inc Island has become a full-time job.
Under normal circumstances, this would be ridiculous. But, when you can’t leave the house and interact with people in real life, a virtual world can offer some much-needed respite from reality.
It’s important to remember how privileged you are if you have your health, a safe place to live and the resources to practice new hobbies. It’s important to remember there are millions of people working full-time during this pandemic, with many barely making a living wage.
But, that doesn’t minimise the restless anxiety experienced by people around the world whose lives have come to a grinding halt. Take care of your mind, take care of your friends and remind yourself this won’t go on forever.