Hello, my lovely plant-based friends, I’m Grace. I’m a blogger, a cat person, a power walker, a book lover, a Lushie… and a ‘high risk’ person who has been advised by the NHS to stay inside, alone, for the next 12 weeks at least.
I was seriously shaken up when I received a text from the NHS (and then a letter, a few days later) telling me I was in danger of contracting ‘serious illness’ in this pandemic. The first week isolating alone was rough; I cried on and off for days, called the parents and then hung up when I got upset because I wasn’t with them, and nearly threw my beloved laptop out a window after losing a precious delivery slot with a supermarket because of a glitch in their system. Now though, two weeks in? I’ve actually adjusted to it pretty well, and if you don’t mind, I’d really like to give you some advice based on my experiences of intense isolation so far…
Get Zoom/Google Meets/Houseparty/WhatsApp!
I’m very fortunate in that I live alone, but while I am grateful to have my own space and am relieved to not be crammed into a house with two or three other people, and will always say I’m happy on my own and love the independence living alone gives me… I do get lonely sometimes. I have learned something very important about myself in the past two weeks - I NEED other people. I thrive in social situations; I happily absorb and bounce off others’ positive energies and I get seriously good vibes and confidence from having a nice, long conversation with friends. I then need alone time afterwards, to collect myself and recharge by resting and spending quality time with my own mind. Well, right now all I have is the latter. How can I get my social buzz in times like this!? I’ll tell you: virtual hang outs! I was sceptical at first, because I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoys a phone call, and doesn’t dread them at all; I’ve never seen the point in FaceTime or Whatsapp video calls, because why must you see someone’s face when you’re talking to them but not physically with them? Well, it turns out my weekly Zoom chats with my work team are making me so happy (and them, too - we’re all pretty extroverted). I love it when a friend signs into the Houseparty app and requests to chat with me while I’m making my dinner, or wants to watch the latest episode of Drag Race together and discuss it with me. I made an appointment last night to have coffee with a friend I hardly ever get the chance to chat to, as we normally have hectic schedules - well, not right now! What a weird kind of blessing, eh?
Sure, video chats are never going to be quite as good as real life quality time with your loved ones, but they’ll do the trick for now.
Set small goals.
It’s all over social media that this is ‘the perfect time’ to crack on with big creative projects, give your garden a full makeover, become a star baker, or start a podcast. All that ‘productivity’ talk is creating a terrible pressure to DO STUFF. Please let me assure you - you don’t have to do anything. (unless you’re working from home, in which case, maybe keep doing your job)
Now more than ever, we really don’t want to be putting any pressure on ourselves. If anything, this is a time to stress, rest, and get back in touch with our own minds and bodies (oi, don’t be cheeky. Or do, actually!). I am personally quieting the voices in my head that are yelling at me to fill up my diary with tasks, and instead just putting one or two things in my notebook to do each day. Some days, those things are ‘do virtual yoga class’, ‘read for at least an hour’, or ‘finish writing a post for my favourite vegan cafe’s blog’. Other days, they’re simply ‘have a nap’, ‘face mask and bath’, or ‘climb onto the rooftop and sit in the sunshine all day’. Go with your instincts, listen to your body, and give yourself a break.
Take care of yourself.
As mentioned above, I am scheduling in quality face mask time (only the best and freshest from LUSH, obviously), regular luxurious baths, good meals packed with veg (and perhaps the occasional takeaway pizza, mmm), and just today I put a pause on all my freelance writing work so I could go out onto my rooftop and bask in the sun. I also make my bed every day, so I don’t get into a lazy mindset, and I get dressed every morning, rather than staying in pyjamas (although if you wanna do that, go ahead!). I’m not bothering with makeup, because I want to give my skin a break. I’m planning on treating myself to some new plant friends for the flat next payday (from Patch Plants, the online plant shop who deliver, FYI). I’m demanding that the parents send me photos of the cat regularly, because I miss him terribly.
Sorry, I hate to rant and rave, but in order for it to be worth all of we 1.5 million ‘high risk humans’ staying home 24 hours a day and separating ourselves from everyone else, all of you who are given a bit more freedom in these tense lockdown times, you have to adhere to the rules, and not go out unless you absolutely have to. Please listen to the government, and the brilliant NHS, and stay home. Stay safe.