Updated: Jun 2, 2020
by Rachael David
Social media is awash with people recommending how best to use the current lockdown. Learning new skills, setting reading challenges and getting fit are are some of the top suggestions. On the other hand, many are taking the opposite approach and recommend using the quarantine as a time to rest and look after your mental health.
I'm taking what you might call a hybrid approach to this time. I have a list of things I want to accomplish; mainly to do with SISI as well as some small home improvement projects, but I am also using this time to chill out and take care of myself. I've also taken on some fun challenges like teaching myself how to do Mendhi and taking an online Entrepreneurship course from MIT. I do think it's important not underestimate what the potential impact of living through global pandemic and an enforced lockdown could be on our psyches and I don't think its bad to prioritise rest and recuperation over accomplishing a lot.
Some of the ways I'm taking care of myself and getting things done during lockdown include:
- Improving my space
I do this by taking one room or area of my flat at a time and de-cluttering. So far I've done my bedroom and the spare room / laundry / makeup studio. For inspiration, I like the space at Bidhaar (pictured below) in Peckham, especially as I move on to my balcony, where I'm trying to get a similar vibe going. The space feature potted plants against brick walls printed black. On sale are some artisan homeware from London-based CopperDust and Kemi, the latter make fine earthenware crockery round the corner from Bidhaar in the Bussey Building. Whilst looking for small ways to brighten up my kitchen I spotted these cute Ankara print oven gloves from Bespoke Binny.
- Immersing myself in culture
So far I've watched a lot of really good TV but also a few amazing films. Atlantics by Mati Diop is a masterpiece which won the Grand Prix at 2019 Cannes Film Festival. I just bought a copy of Daughters of Nri, a fantasy debut by Reni K Amayo. If you buy it from the publisher's website she'll sign it with a personalised message for you. Other amazing books by African writers I could recommend include Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and a real classic, A grain of wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.
- Doing a moderate amount of exercise
Typically this involves going for long walks through the lovely parks nearby, a virtual Pilates class and/or squats with my kettlebell. The motivation to exercise usually comes to me after seeing someone with a good body wearing some nice workout clothes. @DamiHow's Instagram feed is one of the best.