Creativity is such an incredible stress-reliever. But sometimes, we can get caught up in producing the perfect end product that we can struggle to get in the zone. I can't tell you how many times, during the various lockdowns here in Melbourne, I attempted to paint or draw something but put way too much pressure on myself that I was ultimately left defeated and uninspired.
Artist, Bobby Clark, shared a lovely series about loop drawing and then filling in the spaces. The purpose of the exercise is to release the shackles we place on ourselves to produce the perfect end product and encourages you to immerse yourself in flow - quite literally! Once I let go of the expectations around what the result needed to be, I gave in to the creative process and had fun!
Takeaway: Focus on the process, not the end product.
Get your Masterchef on
Since we're all friends here, I can safely admit that I'm no Masterchef or cook of any sort. In fact, I find it incredibly difficult to get creative in the kitchen. That was until I got my hands on Jessica Prescott's book Vegan One-Pot Wonders. Oh my gosh, did that change my kitchen life! For the first time, I found myself enjoying creating in the kitchen and bonus points for when the meal turned out edible! I now own a few other cookbooks and continued my newly acquired lockdown skill.
With my newfound joy of cooking, I actually enjoyed my trip to the supermarket during lockdown. I love the challenge of finding strange and unique ingredients I'd never really heard of before. My favourite lockdown creation is from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, featuring a delicious dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney. So good!
Takeaway: Don't discount your abilities. Sometimes you just need a little extra help to develop a skill. Keep persisting, and you'll surprise yourself with how much you'll enjoy yourself.
The Comfort Range was inspired by lockdown - all I wanted to do was wear clothes that weren't restrictive but didn't look like a complete slob at the same time. I made a point of creating pieces that made you feel comfortable yet elevated. My husband kept calling it luxury comfort wear, which it totally is!
Takeaway: You don't have to sacrifice style for comfort.
I finally got to reading the mammoth pile of books living on my bedside table (no judgements, guys!) The forced downtime was the perfect opportunity to escape and immerse myself in worlds beyond my own. A few of my favourites are:
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
One Day by David Nicholls
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (Still reading this one!)
The Yield by Tara June Winch
Takeaway: Embrace the change of pace.
While it can be fun not to have a routine, it's also important to honour your close relationships by setting time aside for a date night - lockdown style! My partner and I made an effort to dress up once a week, put on some nice music (we even created our own date night playlist), set the table, lit some candles and dine on the delicious takeaway from our local.
Takeaway: An experience is what you make it. All you need is good food and good company.
I don't need to speak much on how hard it can be to stay motivated during lockdown. With routines and rituals out the door for days and weeks on end, it sure is easy to fall into a Netflix time warp and forget what day or year it is. What I found helped is to stick to my daily 60 minutes of movement. Even just getting outside into some fresh air did wonders to re-energise both my body and mind. I loved going on long walks with no particular destination in mind. I would literally stop to smell the roses!
Takeaway: Lockdown provides you with the time to stop, reflect and take the pressure off being somewhere. Embrace it!
Words: Lois McGruer-Fraser