Surviving Lockdown

There have been so many hot takes on how to get through lockdown, from the ridiculous “if you haven’t achieved then you never lacked time, you lacked discipline” to the “don’t worry if you spend all of your time in bed, this is a difficult time for all.” We have all had our own problems, whether you have had to look after children while also working from home, or if you’ve been living alone and have had to deal with being lonely and bored.

I have been incredibly lucky, with both my boyfriend and a flatmate living in my flat, and having enough work to do on the flat to keep me occupied. To get to my workshop I can just jump over my back wall, and though I have no commissions coming in, I have had the time to get on with my own projects.

I have also been lucky to have worked for myself for the past nine years, so have always had to build a timetable and daily routine. This has made it easier for me to set aside time when working through the lockdown, setting myself tasks and maintaining a daily timetable. I’ve found that I’ve been less able to settle to a task, though, often breaking off to look at my phone or make a cup of tea. I also constantly worry I’m doing the wrong thing – whenever I’m doing DIY I feel I should be reading something interesting, but if I do that I feel I should be making, if I do blacksmithing I wonder why I’m not relaxing, and if I relax then I worry I should be achieving more.

There are questions about whether we will come out of the other end better, less seflish, less consumerist, or whether it will end in a dystopian nightmare. Here is an interesting piece of writing on that.

Some other things that have helped me are –

Grayson’s Art club – it is a joyous and funny experience, with a combination of artists and comedians making art and talking about their experiences.

Interesting articles – a few friends have sent me recommendations of articles and books – Bruno Latour, this about Futures in Long-termism,

I have really enjoyed reading the Landscape Institute’s Journal, particularly the Winter Issue which has a series of pieces on the ground we stand on. A few people share their routes to work, tracing journeys they took every day (but can’t now) and there is a lovely piece on cobblestones by Will Jennings.

I have been trying to steer clear of instagram and twitter. They make me feel like everyone else is achieving far more than I am, and make everyone feel like they should be living lockdown to someone else’s rules. But I really like both @ArchaeoBeach and @PoetDeanwilson6  who have been finding incredible things on beaches and making me feel excited about the world outside waiting for us.

Growing plants in my garden and my window sill has been a great benefit – we have a shared garden space, with a sloping lawn full of weeds and some beds around the edge. I’ve been tending to the roses and peonies, planting wildflower seeds and fritillaries, as well as courgettes, tomatoes, rhubarb, mint and rosemary. Although it’s much easier with a garden, I’ve grown a number of these in the window before. Watching things literally appearing out of the soil is such a boost to my mental health.

The reduction in car traffic, and increase in people walking and cycling, has allowed cities to put in place extra cycle and pedestrian lanes. These are mostly temporary at the moment but fingers crossed these will stay!

Finally, I’m on an excellent new podcast by Heather McDermott called How Scotland Crafts – listen here.

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