Holy moly, how quickly things changed in London and around the world.
You’ll need to forgive me for the feature photo and the ones I use in this post, they remind me of better times and freedom before this global pandemic and lockdown. Long gone are the days I can stroll around my neighbourhood, dodging tourists and complaining about slow walkers. None of that exists now, London is literally a ghost town and what you’ll hear is silence and sirens.
Nothing more, nothing less.
So as Covid-19 continues to take over the world, hitting over 3 million confirmed cases that we know of, many are asking, how do you stay sane (and sober) during this global pandemic?
It’s a great question and I’m going to go over the list of things that I’ve been doing to survive this period.
Accepting the reality of my new reality.
Coronavirus hit my radar in January thanks to my various subscriptions to media outlets across the world. Wuhan in China went in lockdown and I watched the vlogs by random locals living there. I even went on the geo location tag on instagram to cross examine the situation. It was getting real but life went on as usual around the rest of the world. Then cases started popping up outside of Wuhan and then I started to freak out. Could the rest of the world shutdown and be in their own lockdown like in Wuhan? It started with Italy and once the whole country was in lockdown, I knew the extreme measures would eventually reach every other country. It was officially real. I knew that eventually it would come to the UK as confirmed cases soared and as each day passed, less and less people were out.
Towards the end of February taxi drivers were telling us that business was extremely slow, unlike anything they had ever experienced before. I went into Harrods, barely anybody there. Staff were petrified, you could see it in their eyes but they still had to show up to work and serve customers, dangering themselves and/or other people. It was a really strange time to be in London, one of the busiest cities in the world… fading into a silence as each day passed.
Then the whispers started around the UK, it was going into lockdown. By this time (second week of March) I had already been living in an 80% lockdown, I stopped going to the gym and stayed home as much as possible. I even cancelled Afternoon Tea at the Tiffany’s popup in Harrods with a girlfriend, it was time to take things seriously. My area, Kensington and Chelsea, for weeks was the leader in the Covid-19 numbers in London so I was paranoid but prepared.
My husband on the other hand went through his own process of accepting the new coronavirus reality.
“I want to go to the gym…” No.
“I want to meet up with a client in Mayfair…” No.
“I want to go away to Dubai…” No.
Everything he wanted was met with a firm ‘no,’ but I understood because we were used to so much freedom so when Mr Boris Johnson literally told us we must stay home, most people couldn’t fathom staying home all day, everyday. My husband and I live pretty active and social lives so for us it was a big shock. My husband took about two weeks to accept the lockdown and understand the virus. It was a process to say the least but it helps us deal with the whole situation.
How did I prepare for lockdown?
Back in mid to late February, there wasn’t as much information on the virus as there currently is today however, there were a few independent media outlets reporting on it as the mainstream was still focused on the scandals surrounding Wuhan in China. I tried to gather as much information as I could to understand the nature of Covid-19. Knowledge is power and you only fear what you don’t understand. It was a bit scary because in the beginning a lot of leaders of countries were dismissing Covid-19 and just the flu, some even mocking it. Little did we know that it would eventually disrupt the global economy and force countries into a strict lockdown. I even went down the conspiracy theory route just because I wanted to listen to other points of view and form my own opinion.
I’ll admit, I would refresh the Covid-19 worldometer page several times a day and my heart would break as Italy’s numbers soared. Not long after that Spain started hitting the same numbers, the UK, USA and now France. But I wanted to know, I didn’t want to run away from the facts. I guess I can attribute this to my addiction recovery where the only way forward was to face the darkness.
I’m finishing this post on the 7th week of Lockdown in London and these days my head is less focused on the pandemic and more focused on things that make me feel happy, less stressed and positive. I naturally have gotten over the over-information of the news cycle.
This post is about how I’m staying sane during this pandemic and I’ve listed things that have most likely driven you crazy. I understand, everything in moderation. There does come a time where you do need to stop watching the TV or get off Facebook because it’s already detrimental to our mental health to begin with, let alone during a global pandemic. It can get very overwhelming.
If you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed with everything going on, practice some social distancing from your mobile and television. Get stuck into a book or find a hobby, I literally started baking keto desserts. Who would have thought I would figure my way around a kitchen?!
To Instagram or to not Instagram?
As my husband works in finance and is fully aware of the global economic implications of Covid-19, I was in the know first hand through him and Bloomberg. It put me in a mild depression, surviving the virus is one thing but what about the recession (or depression as mentioned on Bloomberg) that follows?
The world is not going to be the same.
I didn’t want to continue to show up to my instagram and pretend like nothing is going on or that I’m not aware. I set out a series of poll questions asking if people still want to see my posts, what they’d like to see and for any further feedback. Literally everyone got in touch as asked me to continue posting like normal. I had numerous outfits that I’d never worn or had planned to wear on a few trips we had planned this year that will unfortunately never see the daylight unless I brought them out for a home photoshoot. While this sounded a little out of my comfort zone because I wanted to only take pictures outside my home, I decided to adapt to the demand. It was also a good way to stay connected with people, no matter where they are in the world, everyone is the the same boat #Lockdown.
Fortunately I’ve had a great response and if you can believe it, my audience on instagram is growing!
Every few days I’ll do my hair and makeup and take some pictures of myself in outfits I’d currently be wearing and post them online. It actually feels nice to look nice and make some kind of effort with my appearance. The first 2-3 weeks of the lockdown I literally looked like I was living in a bunker, hair up in messy bun, no makeup and loungewear. I even ditched my skin care routine basically throwing in the towel to life. I decided to stop with this behaviour and start to care about myself a lot more. I started using Charlotte Tilbury skincare products. I am absolutely in love with her Magic Night Cream, my skin is in it’s best condition ever. I also use her Magic Cream and Magic Eye Rescue Cream daily.
I also had a request for my designer shoe collection haul which I am slowly revealing. You can watch it in my highlights here. And of course, my husband’s cooking which I called “Luka’s Kitchen.” Instagram has been a great way of staying connected with my friends as we are all experiencing the same thing no matter where we are in the world. It has been a very positive place.
However, I still believe you can spend too much time on instagram where it’s not healthy. I try avoid instagram during the day and get as much vitamin D as possible, taking long walks without my mobile and literally just enjoying the cleaner air in London while it lasts. Ironically, the weather in London during lockdown has been phenomenal and fortunately we are allowed to exercise outdoors as long as the social distancing rules are obeyed.
Staying in contact with loved ones
I think that this global pandemic has really exposed how fragile our lives really are. Up until lockdown, it seemed like nothing could slow us down, we were all unstoppable. Now the freedom to live our lives as we once knew it has been stripped away and we’re left wondering when will it all go back to normal? What will our new normal look like? When will lockdown be lifted? Will there be a second wave of Covid-19?
While these questions remain unanswered, staying in touch with those who matter has been important during this lockdown. Whether it’s through Instagram, WhatsApp or a video call, it is now more important than ever to check in with people and see how they are doing.
Accepting that it’s ok to do NOTHING!
In life pre-lockdown, like many people, I had off days where I didn’t want to do anything except stay in bed and watch Netflix all day. These days were not common but I had them, they are normal. When lockdown began, I noticed a lot of people promoting the hustle culture, shaming procrastination or doing nothing and staying super productive. I am all about productivity and kicking goals however, on your own terms. You shouldn’t beat yourself up because you weren’t in the mood to finish a post or create content for social media. These are such uncertain times and they can really dampen your mood, it’s ok to feel like you want to hibernate for a bit and recoup your energy. It’s not healthy to compare your live and productivity to others.
I started writing this post when Covid-19 had just passed a million confirmed cases worldwide, we are at over 3 million now. My mood has been very high and very low. When I don’t feel well, I don’t show up to social media, I stay away from my mobile and I respond to messages much later than usual. Checking in with yourself and your own mental health is extremely important and you need to recognise when things need a reset in your life. Something that I’ve come to realise I enjoy now is taking a bath. I just feel so relaxed afterwards.
When I’m feeling flat, I go into my office and literally colour all day in my adult colouring book. I’ll listen to something on YouTube that’s a little light hearted and meditate on better thoughts. This has been one of the ways I have stayed centered.
Exercise and Keeping a Healthy Diet
Pre-lockdown, my exercise routine was at a level that I was really proud of. My body was starting to look really good and perfectly prepped for the summer ahead, all that was missing were a few sessions of body contouring. Once we entered lockdown, I like many people figured it wouldn’t disrupt my exercise routine as much but I couldn’t be more wrong. I struggled to find the motivation to train at the level I once did and it demotivated me more and more as the days passed by. Eventually, I did snap out of this and one of the luxuries of living in central London is that there are so many beautiful parks and landmarks around that I can walk to.
Last Saturday I decided that I wanted to walk from Chelsea to Tower Bridge. It sounds far but in reality it’s only about 12,000 steps straight down the River Thames. On other days I take a long walk through Hyde Park or walk by Buckingham Palace. While it’s sad to see London so quiet and empty, I know that it won’t always be like this.
In the mornings, I also like to do a yoga class. Yoga with Adriene has been my go-to channel.
My diet has also played a large factor in this pandemic, my husband and I have maintained a very healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat from our local small businesses on Pavilion Road. We try to be as keto as possible and if we must, we will have one cheat meal a week. We are both still intermittent fasting in the mornings and drinking plenty of water. We both want to keep our immune system up so are really careful on the choices we are making during lockdown in London.
A relapse during Lockdown?
To be honest, alcohol hasn’t crossed my mind during the lockdown in London. I believe I’ve set the right foundation throughout my recovery and healed that urge to drink within. I am fully aware of the price of a relapse to my life and it’s one I cannot afford.
I understand there are people out there who are less fortunate than I am and who are reaching for a bottle of wine to cope with the world around them and my heart does go out to them. I truly hope that people reach out and seek the help they need.
Alcohol is never the answer.
Stay safe & stay well x