Being a Creative During Lockdown
I’ve become a real homebody over the years, well before Covid became a thing. So, when lockdown became a thing, I figured I’d be okay. And, for the first couple of weeks, I was. After all, being a creative during lockdown means that I have everything I need in my apartment. Even after a month had passed I was still okay with being home all the time. Sure I missed going out to coffee shops to write and wandering around the small businesses where I lived. However, I thought would get to do that sort of thing again in a short amount of time. Boy, was I wrong.
Starting the second month, my mental health really began to suffer. Not being able to go out and being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD made everything extremely difficult. Sure, I could’ve gone and taken a walk, but living in Florida this northern-girl wasn’t going outside to sweat. So, all my living is in a 950sqft apartment with my husband and two cats.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in a place of privilege to have my own place and not have to leave my house to work. That being said, staying inside and day after day, not even wandering down the aisle of the grocery store was really difficult for me. My mental health got worse and there were several days where I did little more than stare at the TV.
Eventually, I knew I needed to get myself out of the funk, especially since my debut novel publishing date approached. I needed to come up with a routine, something to get me into the mindset of working toward my goals. After a lot of trial and error, here is a very loose routine I’ve been using.
- Wake up
- Make coffee/morning pages
- Work on the most difficult thing first (or the thing that would take the longest)
- Watch my sister stream on Twitch
- Finish whatever work I needed to
- Eat dinner and spend time with my husband
- Go to bed
There is no set time to any of those tasks except the Twitch stream. I do what feels good and what my body needs that day. I’ve gotten a better handle on how much I can do in a day and I no longer overload my to-do list with too many tasks. Instead, I’ve scaled back and put less in my planner so I can more easily accomplish everything and when I do have a day where I just need to relax and take care of myself mentally, I don’t feel so behind. Though all this, I have learned that being a creative during lockdown means being kind to myself.
We’re now at least seven to eight months into Covid and there’s a second wave of lockdown in the not so distant future. While it would be easy enough to point fingers at who didn’t do what, but that just takes up our mental capacity for following our creative pursuits. Instead, we should look back at the things we struggled with the first time around and prepare ourselves for this next round.
If you don’t already have a routine in place, go ahead and come up with some fun and relaxing things you can do to help give yourself a sense of normalcy. Do you need to make sure you put less on your plate during the workday? Do you need to schedule dance breaks to get yourself up and moving? Look at things that make you happy and incorporate as many things as you can into your day. Remember to be kind to yourself and take things one day at a time, there’s no reason to put extra stress on yourself right now.