Living in Lockdown
Sara in the Bondi Wash store before her three month lockdown in Milan, Italy.
A period in lockdown can be a time of great adjustment as we look at ways to balance our emotional, mental and physical well-being. Our staff in Europe know only too well the extremes of lockdown with Marija enduring three long months in Bologna and Sara in Milan, Italy. They share their experiences from the other side of the world as inspiration for us here in Australia who are in a similar situation now.
When trips to the supermarket count as an exciting day out, it’s little wonder that food features highly on both Marija and Sara’s coping strategies. Sara used the time to experiment with more involved recipes that usually require a lot of time like breadmaking – something many of us can surely relate to here! With time on her hands, it was the perfect opportunity to make stocks and sauces – things that could be frozen and used in the future. “Fun fact,” adds Sara, “we all had the same idea in Italy and beer yeast has been out of stock for weeks!" Now there’s a side hustle worth further investigation.
While we could understand the temptation to keep the comfort food coming, Marija chose to focus on healthy recipes which proved helpful during periods of high stress – a good way to support the immune system.
It’s clear that exercise was important, not only to keep in shape, but also to cultivate a positive outlook. “Whether it was yoga, cardio, or simple exercises, it was always the best stress relief”, said Marija. “If regulations allow outdoor sports, it can be a great chance to start riding a bike, go rollerskating or jogging in the neighbourhood.” Following online courses like those by Pamela Reif on YouTube made the process easier, improving motivation and follow-through. Sara adds, “During the first lockdown I started practicing yoga and meditation. Training really helps to manage stress and balance hormones – it was a crucial part of the day for me”.
Marija exercising outdoors during her three month lockdown in Bologna, Italy.
Not surprisingly, routine helped both Marija and Sara cope during their long time at home. Setting a schedule similar to pre-lockdown afforded them both a sense of order during an otherwise chaotic time. “It was very important to me to have a routine to follow – from early morning to late night. I was never a person who liked to sleep late or go the bed late, so I didn’t let lockdown and all that free time change that. I kept getting enough sleep, getting up and going to the bed at the same hours. I followed my usual skincare morning and night routine and tried many new natural masks for body and face which was fun!”, remembers Marija. Sara adds, “It’s a very good habit to have a schedule. Get dressed when you work and give yourself a limit with series binge watching!” Perhaps easier said than done!
With streaming entertainment on high rotation, ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ came in very handy inspiring Sara to give her apartment the once over. With time on her hands, the lockdown was not only a time to declutter, but to deep clean too.
As humans we are hardwired for connection so it’s little wonder staying in touch with family and friends featured high on Marija’s list. “It’s most important to stay connected with your loved ones, call them regularly, have a virtual coffee with them! Social life is one of the biggest parts of our lives and it is vital that you don’t let lockdown take that away from you. We are lucky enough to live in an era where virtual communication is so accessible.”
“Use this time to learn new things, try and make the best of this extra time”, suggests Sara. And keep positive adds Marija. “I know that there are many interesting books and videos on how to stay positive during hard times, so if you’re not a positive person as I am, it may be useful to follow some of the professional tips… try to help someone, learn a new skill, practice something you haven’t had time for before or just take time for yourself.”
Wise words indeed from those who have endured some of the longest and harshest lockdowns to date. We can take comfort that they have come out the other side with renewed hope for the future. Remember though, it’s completely normal to feel under stress at this time and if you need help, there are many resources that can help.
Head To Health (Victoria only): 1800 595 212
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Headspace (for under 25 year olds): headspace.org.au
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or chat 7pm to midnight
Beyond Blue: 1800 512 348