For many artists and freelancers, staying at home is second nature. So we called in the experts - writers, painters, creative thinkers - for their guides to staying well in isolation. Without further delay: we present their tips on grocery (liquor) shopping, make-at-home health tonics and maintaining sanity despite the news cycle.
On isolation vs. isolation
Isolation and spending countless hours in my head is something I am quite accustomed to as the studio is a very solitary space, and I’m in there every damn day.
But in saying that, being encouraged to stay home and self isolate still feels weird - to get through these strange times I have a stack of books, podcasts, journals, trashy TV shows and a well stocked bar.
On reads to lend perspective
I’m currently about to finish The New Me by Halle Butler which is a very dark satire of office life and the colourless monotony of it all. Which, depressing as that sounds in times like these where we’re encouraged to stop and actually have time to reflect, it can offer a great deal of perspective. And could even give you that nudge to break out of the routine, and do something different- now that you’re looking at life from a distance.
On podcast escapism
Listening to the BBC’s Desert Island Discs podcast is a classic favourite, and it comes with the added bonus isolation activity of choosing which discs you would take if sent to a desert island, which book, and which one luxury item.
On the grocery items you should be shopping for right now
Stock your bar at home. And if you don’t have one, what a great time to create one. Whilst everyone’s lining up for toilet paper and rice - take to the liquor isle and grab some gin, vermouth and Campari because you can have cocktail hour, at home, at any hour.
On channeling your high school self
Finally, use this incredibly strange time, which I like to think of as being stuck in maths or religion at school where the only place to go to escape the sheer boredom of what’s going on is into your head, into your imagination.
Boredom is a profound place that we rarely get to visit in these modern times, with iPhones and instant distraction gratification at every turn. So lets get bored and delve deep into the imagination, where ideas are wild and limitations are boundless.
It’s like being stuck in traffic and all you can do is listen to music and surrender - that’s where all the epiphanies are hiding.
Contributing Editor / Founder, Words of Note
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On finding familiarity in isolation
I’ll be honest, self-isolation looks a lot like the everyday life of a freelance writer. Working from home in my PJs by myself is pretty much business as usual – breaking up my day of solitary confinement and cerebral burnout with a walk outside (sunshine, my mother always said, SUNSHINE), learning to perfect a flourless chocolate cake (folding egg whites correctly is remarkably technical it would seem).
On staying social
Although I rely on my one or two weekly social outings to stay sane, I’m finding it kind of relaxing having nothing in the social calendar after a busy couple of months. Having said that, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and to continue to support the hospitality industry. I might start having FaceTime dinner parties where we all order take away to our respective houses from our favourite restaurants. One thing I will say in all seriousness though is that, for me anyway, limiting time on social media is crucial for mental health. It’s so easy to get caught in the vortex of collective anxiety and misinformation. The constant stream of alarming posts isn’t helping anyone.
On freeing your mind in manic times
I’m choosing to keep up to date with developments via one or two relatively reliable news sources maybe once a day, and the rest of the time focus on staying healthy, mentally strong and creative. For me, upping the ante on meditation is the most effective means of counteracting the background noise of impending doom. I can’t underscore this enough, it’s the most useful tool in my mental health kit generally but especially in times like these. It takes me out of survival mode and switches the setting to creativity. Might even use this time to write that novel I’ve been putting off for 20 years (now would not be a good time to hold your breath.)
On her morning wellness tonic
Taking control of my health from within, I make ginger tumeric garlic pepper chilli and lemon in warm water to start the day.
Stretching, dancing and pilates at home.
On using this time to manifest
Sorting my studio / clearing my wardrobe. Doing my taxes and getting on top of my small business plans and dreams for the futute Fleurette, with ideas and initiatives in these changing and uncertain times.
On entertaining oneself
In more recent days I've spent my time in the kitchen or thinking of the next meal often dressing up too, to stay home; cooking, creating, reading and drinking loads of wine.
Founder, Jerico Contemporary
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On staying connected
In these strange times of self-isolation I have found myself more in touch with friends and family than ever. In my moments away from work, I have been touring my mother’s vegetable garden, catching up and checking in with my friends in Europe and having wine with girlfriends down the road via FaceTime.
On how to do nothing
I have taken advantage of French Films on SBS On Demand, I love to watch films with subtitles as it makes me sit and focus without distraction. I’ve just started reading How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, never has a book seemed so timely.
I’m on Facemask eight (you can never do too many right?) and I am practicing yoga online in my lounge room. For some reason my rabbits find this very curious and run all over the mat during my practice, so there is an added level of difficulty and amusement there.
On getting dirty
I resurrected my vegetable garden, which has been ignored of late to say the least. There is something very pleasurable about having your hands covered in dirt, and there is the added motivation to keep them alive, as I may need to rely on them in months to come. I’ve also been cooking a lot, and used our slow cooker for the first time because before this I have never remembered to put it on eight hours before I wished to eat. Slow cooked vegetable soups have been building my immunity, as have my plethora of Orchard Street tonics, teas and elixirs.
On sweet novelties
For me, staying home is a new thing. I have never spent so much time in my apartment and there are so many small changes I would like to make. I have already painted the interior of my bathroom cabinet with plans to paint the kitchen and rehang my art collection. It’s a time to nest.