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I N S T A - S L O W A N D E R L U S T E R

10 Things to do while self-isolating.

Following a recent post at the Facebook group of our building community, I decided to share some thoughts in response to the frightening ongoing events of the past few months. A few days back, one of our neighbours took the initiative to ask the rest of the group members, in advance, if need be and isolation measures intensify, how many nurses or doctors we have in the building and if we are eager to assist each other when times get tougher. I found it genius.

For the past couple of weeks I saw myself overwhelmed and wondering if a Catastrophe is what it takes for rehabilitating the balance; if a disaster of any sort will help us return to our roots. And although I'm already passed the 'Vanity of Vanities, all is Vanity' phase at a certain degree, I still am in shock. Vanity can easily overtake wisdom, yet I caught myself reevaluating aspects of life that we put disproportionate emphasis on without being able to realise their true significance, or insignificance to be more accurate. And admittedly, there were moments where the separation between what is truly important from what is of passing value was surprisingly clear and strong.

In the midst of this 'bloodless civil war' and its uncertain ultimate outcome, a lot of questions are raised. When and how does this end? What is the right thing to do or prevent ourselves from doing? What kind of world are we bringing children into? Is this bad timing to think of our future? With all the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus and the rest of the world shutting down with social distancing being advised, it’s easy to choose absolute self-isolation. However, a lot of people find it difficult to stay in whilst this is not only advisable, but even more necessary. Since we are currently spending most of our time indoors, I decided to be creative and this morning I put together a list of things one can do while self-isolating at home. I am hoping that with this, we can all try and make good use of our time at home more sincerely, and invest in giving/sharing and bonding with loved ones and not only. At the end of the day, a neighbour can be one of the closest people you have during this difficult times.

In the meanwhile, life in London continues as if nothing has changed and while the rest of the world is in quarantine we still commute to work every day, interact with hundreds of people on a daily basis and spread 'bad news'. For those of us living in big demanding cities, modern life was already feeling hectic, and at times relentless. The longing to restore some form of balance into our everyday lives is a reaction to a world that demands so much doing that it can often feel like there is little time left for being. It's times like these, you learn to live again. For now, the change begins at our sanctuary, our home. And we are staying home.

  • First off, stop following the news and the social media! Stay informed potentially by checking out the news twice a day, and be careful not to fall in the loop of becoming paranoid or living your life in constant stress. There is nothing worse than living in fear.

  • Resourcefulness: It seems that the Virus is making everyone go crazy with buying toilet paper and pasta. And while I get that carbs are most people's soulmates, I don't seem to be able to comprehend the empty shelves at the supermarkets. Someone could think that spending more time indoors would be a great opportunity to make amends towards nature, be more sustainable and recycle as much as you can. So let's try to use less paper, prepare our own homemade food and reduce waste to the maximum of our ability.

  • Self-care: Being at home is a great opportunity to look after yourself, with care. Get a good amount of sleep on a daily basis and eat healthy. Be creative with the food essentials you store in your cupboard and choose ingredients that will help you prepare inspiringly tasty goodies. Stay hydrated, take a lot of vitamins and more importantly practice good hygiene!

  • Mindfulness: Undergoing a difficult situation doesn't mean giving up on ourselves entirely. Being surrounded with fear may sometimes result in giving up in life, but try to remain strong physically and mentally. Try out some home workout, follow some yoga lessons or download an app that will help you meditate. Carving out space in our minds to reconnect with ourselves is the beginning of slowing down and living a little more mindfully.

  • Green lovers: At about this time every year, I envy those with a garden or a back yard. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones, it's a great opportunity to delve into gardening and give your plants a boost. Besides the fact that gardening increases our life expectancy and offers mental and physical health benefits, it can also strengthen our immune system and our heart as it can help build endurance and increase stamina, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. At the same time, growing season is just around the corner and for those with indoor gardens like myself, it's the right time to start growing some seeds!

  • Mastermind your home: Spending more time at home feels like the right moment to do some serious cleaning, from clothes' wardrobes to storage rooms, to redecorating your home and doing all the things you never had the time to actually do.

  • Relaxation: Amongst those things we can also include hobbies. From DIY crafts to art making, knitting and reading your favourite books, you can experiment with all sorts of things. I always find writing relaxing, but it occupies a lot of my time. Fortunately, most online shops seem to be working fine for the moment, so you can supply yourself with all the equipment you need, upgrade your bookshelves and feed your imagination.

  • Be social during social distancing: Human beings are hyper-social beings, so one of the things we will all struggle the most with is the lack of socialising and the ability to be in contact with friends and family. The luxury of being able to travel and commute is now more appreciated than ever. Try to build a network with your loved ones, online. It may sounds impossible, but currently is one of the few solutions that's been offered to us. As Darwin once said 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change'. Watch an online movie with friends, have some laughs and drinks. Play video or board games online. I know Carlos has perfected the latter for decades now, maybe it's about time for some of us to give it a go too. Could be fun!

  • Togetherness: Our home has always been the number one place associated with the warmth of being together i.e. being at home. Away from the time-restricted gatherings that occur in public spaces, at home we are free to slow down, take our time, and be together on our own terms. It is under the most difficult times that people come together and appreciate the importance of family, the power of sharing and the value of love and of being loved. So try and remember that.

  • Within this restricted lifestyle frame people tend to become self-absorbed and greedy, so remember to always offer help to those in need and be there for them. Whether a friend of yours is the one in need, your neighbour, or a homeless person on your way to work.

The desire for spending more quality time at home is ultimately the desire for a more considered approach to everyday life. Our home reflects who we are. It is ultimately the place we are most free to be ourselves, and it’s the place where we welcome others into our world. We are probably living the worse health crisis of our generation. Unspeakable things are happening and we are incapable of taking any control over the crisis. Our homes become our refuge, and when they are carefully designed to serve our needs and how we wish to live, they become more than just spaces we inhabit.

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