Hello! Welcome back to the FEMININE BOUTIQUE blog!
So, unless you’ve been in a deep meditative state since December 2019, you know that most of the world has completely changed. We’re all spending, well, a lot more time at home. And taking measures to remain sane. I am here to discuss that very thing: our sanity.
Our Dear Friend, Capitalism
In the beginning stages of the world accepting that it had to change, there was a wave of pressure to “make the most” of the “extra time” we all have. And I fell for That B*tch Capitalism hook, line and sinker. He told me things like:
- “You have so much time now, so don’t waste it”
- “Use this time to build a marketable skill!”
- What if this is happening so you can write all those episodes you’ve been needing to? Or [insert whatever thing will make you money in future]?
- If you don’t come out of this with 3 new songs, you would have wasted this opportunity
Any of this sound familiar?
Singers were posting live performances, actors were posting TikToks and everyone was posting their home yoga/dancing/workout videos. I was in a frenzy, mentally. The internship I’d just begun was changing and I had to start training from home. The deadlines did not change to accommodate, you know, THE FACT THAT THIS IS A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC AND MAYBE IT’S A LITTLE HARDER FOR ME TO WORK? And I could not see this time as the glorified, strangely-forced holiday people seemed to be making it out to be.
Thankfully, other people felt the way I did, and encouraged me to make peace with everything going on inside my head. One such was this post:
After seeing this, I made three big decisions that I do not for one second regret. These decisions were based on what I believe we all need. I’d love to share this with you.
**DISCLAIMER: This is mostly applicable to people with parental support, a source of income or enough money to survive a good few months**
We need to…
1. Accept that we’re all processing things in our own ways and paces
Some people felt more creative, immediately. Some were excited to put more things out there, or talk about how they were dealing with the situation. I was simply not there yet.
I decided to give myself a week off of social media
All I’d been doing was comparing myself to other creatives who had very different circumstances. My schedule had barely changed, my time was not all my own, and I was an emotional mess. It was not the time to watch people glamourise self-quarantining as a creative retreat, albeit a strange one (which is fine, by the way, if that is the way you cope).
I allowed myself to feel uncertain, overwhelmed. I let the waves come and go. I cried when I needed to, I called my mom and sisters a lot. I allowed myself the privacy of good moments and bad ones, without feeling the pressure to share them. I got in touch with what I needed (more on that in point 2.)
And I went back when I was ready, in a much better place to celebrate the great things creatives were doing without letting it mean that I was a failure.
2. Listen to ourselves on what helps us cope
There are well-meaning self-care narratives encouraging a brand of positive thinking that make you feel you have to see the good side of this every day. And that’s the thing: these sometimes work. The workouts, the challenges, the positive spins on this pandemic. We get to make our own meaning. But we, alone, know what is best for us at each given moment, if only we listen.
I decided to say no to ‘opportunities’
I turned down some creative collaborations. I told my agents no for last-minute self-tape auditions. Those people, though well-meaning, were coming from a different place. A “let’s make the best of this” place, a “we all have time now!” place, and I was not there. The best I could do at that time was show up for work every day and watch my beloved sunsets.
3. Draw boundaries, with others and ourselves
I felt the pressure to be at people’s beck and call. I’ve never been one to answer spontaneous video calls, but I felt compelled to do so because “I’m quarantined alone” and “I have to talk to people more.” But I found myself overwhelmed by the sudden increase in calls (I’m still an introvert!).
I also realized that I needed to take care of myself in the ways I’d decided to, consistently. I had to write my morning pages (from The Artist’s Way), I had to take my post-work walks, I had to shower before work even if I’d overslept. I had to sleep before midnight. Because these small things made a giant difference to me. But I needed to do one more thing:
I decided to stop working overtime
It seemed that having constant access to our work made it acceptable for us to be working all the time. I risked being “difficult” or even fired and spoke up at work. After having spent the first weekend of the official lockdown working on an impossible deadline, my superior being completely okay with my weekend working, I knew that that was unsustainable.
Thankfully, the company is great, and they adapted the new approach. I now allow myself to log off at 5pm and not a minute past, even if my colleagues want to go over. It’s done absolute wonders for my mental state.
What’s Best For You
I 👏🏽 DON’T 👏🏽 KNOW 👏🏽 BIH!
There is no one-size-fits-all to surviving and thriving in quarantine. But I do know that you know what’s best for you. After I stopped putting pressure on myself to create, and just did some basic journalling and stayed away from reality for the time I needed, I actually started creating. I naturally felt inspired and excited to do things. And that’s how I knew it was coming from within and not without. You wanna do yoga? Do it! You wanna have a movie marathon and write reviews? Do it! You wanna write an EP’s worth of songs? Fam, DO IT! But do it because you feel inspired to, not because Capitalism said you need to monetize every breath you take.
I SAID WHAT I SAID!
So, on that note, I’d love to hear in the comments all the small/cute/big/significant things you have done to stay sane during quarantine.
Psst: There is no wrong answer.