Self care in isolation with Ilkin Kurt and Elle-louise Burguez

The second instalment in our self care in isolation series. Fashion buyer and RUSSH muse Ilkin Kurt on the lost art of letter writing, photographer Emma Hoareau on how to embrace boredom, and artist Elle-louise Burguez shares her immune-boosting recipes.

Ilkin Kurt

Fashion buyer, consultant

Strange times ahead. I have been trying to absorb what has been happening and how it has affected us already. Kind of mother nature screams to stop, to be still, to listen: we should all go back to basics, spend time with our loved ones and basically focus on spreading love and kindness.

On the lost art of letter writing ...

The very best part of this period is that I have started to write letters to my loved ones. It is amazing how out of practice we are when it comes to handwriting. Since we are constantly typing on our cell phones or computers, we very rarely get to write. Unlike a text message, a letter is a tangible piece of communication. You actually think about process, patience, persistence ... these are words lost today. Letter writing is one of the few crafts where we can actively develop those skills in ourselves.

On her self isolation playlists ...

Self-isolation has been great to remind myself about how small things could make you really happy. Going through your old magazines or vinyl archive is actually quite relaxing. For the last couple of days, I have updated my Spotify list, went through some old albums like Fiona Apple When the Pawn and Alanis Morrisette’s MTV unplugged 1999 to William Basinski's Melancholia album. Found some new artists like San Mei which has been a bonus.

And the YouTube documentaries ...

Then I found myself jumping into YouTube world and have started to watch old documentaries. Works of Calder, 1950 by Herbert Matter, The South Bank Show - John Galliano, 1996 and Philip Glass on working with Aphex Twin and David Byrne are good ones to watch. Vogue Italy has just released their archive online, strongly recommend everyone to check it out. HEAVEN.

The go-to apps to while away days ...

One of my favourite app on my phone is the The Talks, they just released bunch of amazing interviews and such a blast to read / listen to those creative minds. A very recent one is with Bill Conti who is an American composer. Also, Alec Baldwin’s Here's the Thing has been one of my favourite podcasts lately. I have been re-listening some of the episode’s with Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze. Fun.

“Quarantarantino Time’’ ...

I have re-watched three Tarantino films with my mum, and she came up with greatest name for our mum-daughter session "Quarantarantino Time’’.
I have been trying to set up an account dedicated to Prada Defiles from 1988 til now but haven’t progressed much! It takes so much time …

Kurt’s favourite moves for good health in isolation ...

Installed Melissa Wood’s MWH method and I have to say it is quite effective, get onto it if you don’t want to attend your Pilates class anymore. Also drinking heaps of water, taking supplements daily and making tea are my daily routines.

Emma Hoareau

Photographer, beauty blogger

I’m mainly spending the time doing a slow Spring Clean of my space - going through drawers and boxes I haven't for ages and ridding myself of things I don't need. I had planned to do this anyway but since I have so much more time at home now I feel I can do it properly and not in a rush.

On the benefits of boredom ...

I'm also trying to embrace how interesting it is to be bored again, something that strangely - and wonderfully - reminds me of childhood. Of they joy of just looking out the window and listening to the birds, of doing nothing: no thing. I am on my phone of course but in a different way, I am video calling lots of friends I would normally just text, we are having much deeper conversations, and I've spoken to my family more than I have in months.

On books to take you outside ...

I've found the calm has helped me feel more creative and I'm doing so much more reading, letting my imagination wake up again. Take the pressure off being 'busy' and allowing myself to lie in and read my book, something I always say I'll do at the weekend but then 'never have time' to do. This is the gift of time. I'm currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing (after hearing so many good things) and the focus on nature in the book is reminding me of the beauty of the the little things.

This whole situation seems surreal, like we are living in an episode of Black Mirror. But also it feels oddly positive, like we all needed to slow down, look inward and re-assess. Of course it is devastating, but I'm choosing to focus on the good that can come of it.

Elle-Louise Burguez

Artist, musician

I have been taking care of myself by leaning in to this whacky time with trust and trying to laugh a lot. At the start of the week things felt quite intense and after some outbursts with loved ones I now feel we are addressing old patterns ... having to face them - which is scary but also leading us to learn and practice how to live every day with peace.

On her recipes for wellness in isolation ...

I love to be at home and create. I just moved into a new unit near the sea and it’s so relaxing here with the ocean breeze flowing through the windows. My boyfriend and I have been looking after ourselves by taking lots of stuff like Camu Camu, Blood Dragon, medicinal mushrooms, magnesium and more. I have found that drinking pomegranate juice or black cherry juice has kept me feeling strong and hydrated as well.

For my mental health I am keeping busy with creating music, art, reading or learning French. I find if I am not busy I can start to really judge myself and be afraid of the future. When I’m making art it is like I am completely in the moment and every thought that arises turns into a colour, pattern or melody... there’s no room for sadness or anxiety. We are also walking to the beach each day and swimming, praying for ourselves, everyone we love and the world! We play checkers and uno and shoot hoops inside. Laughing is SO helpful.

I am cooking pasta a lot and beetroot soup. Eating a lot of chocolate as always too!

On what she’s reading ...

I have loved a new book I’m reading by Rachel Cusk called Saving Agnes. It was written about 27 years ago and it is still so relatable! I find myself cracking up and crying throughout it.

On her self care in isolation affirmations ...

I’ve been writing songs about showing and telling my boyfriend how much I love him more.

I’ve been watching documentaries about ancient civilisations and aliens.

I’ve been asking questions with friends about life and death and spirituality.

I cried in the car because I felt like no one listens to me and I don’t speak with enough confidence.

I cried because people I love are going through hard times.

I cried with laughter playing games with my partner

I’m remembering how to find joy in every moment no matter how mundane it may seem ... Like saying hi to my neighbours’ grey cat or hugging my parents for longer.

I watch anime and this show called ‘Shrill’ which is very funny and real.

The biggest epiphanies lately have been that I must choose each morning and every moment to feel as joyful as I can. I must feel each emotion rather than distract myself from them and when I do that I will realise that my fear hurts more than my reality.

I also was thinking about life before life. Where was I before I was born? If I am so scared of death - maybe it is OK because I lived what seems like an eternity before I even came into this world.

This is such a vulnerable time. It feels precious almost. Like we have to tell people we love them more and see through much kinder eyes.

I also have been revisiting my old writing and resonated with this a lot:

Eyes softly stinging, we shared the towel and watched the ocean a little longer. Cross-legged I showed you the shells I had found in the morning sun. The water calmed. I was ready to jump back in again. A few fears arose: losing you, my mum, my dad, everyone else. Time slowed as if I were an eternal goddess. I gently through each of my shells back to the mer, one by one, with a wish and a strong promise that this is where we would all meet again.


See more of our self care in isolation series here.