The 20s Surrealism

I’m sitting at Hyde Park feeling the sun on my too-white legs from staying mostly indoors for what will almost be three months in Covid-19 lockdown in London on June 23. I can hear the sounds of angry protests demanding justice for Iran, and the trees gently rustling as if they were telling secrets to each other. Many others are also having socially distanced picnics and their voices blend with the wind. An ambulance rushes somewhere; hopefully to save someone.

I recently told an online English student of mine that she should practice writing so as to improve her English language skills while expressing herself. I truly believe that becoming a better writer will help you evolve into a better speaker; whether you are learning the English language now or are a native speaker.

I encouraged her to write specifically about how she was relating to everything that was happening in the world right now. We are living in an incredibly unique and important moment. And immediately afterwards I realised that I am not practicing what I am preaching to my student. How often does this happen to you?

So I decided to write. And then I decided to stop. Now, it is August. A couple months have passed but it feels like a couple years and it also feels like a mere couple days. Weird how time feels sometimes, even during “normal” life.

However, the quarantine/lockdown/post-lockdown pandemic makes time feel extra gooey sometimes. I’m still hearing ambulances. But this time in my flat, after a Zoom Monday night Ashtanga yoga class which by the way has become a habit I’ve been keeping up since my neighbour friend, Raquel, started teaching it in March.

Diving deeper into yoga and meditation this lockdown has helped me (though let’s be honest, not cured me from) not feeling confined in the walls of my studio flat. The daily practice of both has been something I look forward to, and after repeating it for the minimum of 66 days it takes to form a habit, it is now easier to not make excuses to skip it.

Another habit I have formed is taking greater care of those I love. Even though the world is at one of its most isolated periods it has ever gone through (hello 2 meter distance!), I feel closer to the people in my life than ever before. Thank you internet, for making this possible. I’m not sure how any of us would survive this pandemic without WiFi connecting us together.

How To Not Go Crazy While In A Car Or Plane or in Quarantine from COVID-19

So being in an enclosed space for longer than an hour or two can be pretty…stressful sometimes.

For me, anything for a long period of time drives me insane; especially when it’s in the same surroundings. i get itchy, cranky, hangry…all at once. There are ways to distract your mind from the repetition of a long road trip, a plane ride or the classic case of practicing social distancing during a worldwide pandemic. Here’s a few tested and true for me:

-Podcasts. Oh, how these recorded audio sessions save me time and time again.  They almost feel as if you are a part of a conversation when you’re really just listening to a conversation between two people or sometimes even just one person sharing their thoughts on a subject.  The conversations are honest and can really play a part in opening up your mind to new possibilities.  There are a million different topics you can listen to.  I’m usually listening to podcasts about travel, feminism, inspirational entrepreneurs, or the occasional murder mystery.

-Sketch strangers(Edit: Virtual strangers are fine if you are under self-quarantine). I think the amount of physical combinations the human can have is astounding. So naturally, I love people watching and noticing people’s differences and similarities. Apart from just looking, drawing the people around me is not only good life drawing practice, but it is also a great way to pass time quickly. Even if you are not very good at realistic drawing(as I am not either), the point isn’t to get the person to look exactly as they do in real life, but to express your version of them.

-Music throwbacks/discoveries. Music has a way of transporting me to the past and back to a moment, a summer, or even a person. Music also has the power to transport me to the future, how I want to feel and what I want ahead of me. A great way to pass some time(Careful with falling into a YouTube Rabbit Hole as I often do)is to listen to Youtube, Spotify or Pandora.  Whether you are watching an acoustic cover of a favourite song or watching all the weird music videos that you never knew existed; music is a strong tool capable of speeding up time that is otherwise dragging.

-Call a friend/family member.  This is so overlooked; especially now that texting and social media has changed the method we use to communicate, the quality of communication, and the frequency in which we engage with those around us.  But trust me, it can change a person’s day.  Hearing a person’s voice is so drastically different than simply looking at the stories they post or reading an emoji-filled text they send you.  Face Time, Skype, WhatsApp Video Calls, Google Hangouts are all an even stronger way to connect with your community when you are not able to be with them in person.  No man is an island, and the relationships we foster are as important for us as they are for the other person.  Don’t let go of your connections just because you are no longer in the same physical space! 

-Move. If you are in a confined space like a car or plane, even just simply stretching your arms and legs, and twisting your torso from one side to the other can be a refreshing break for your body.  Bring your shoulders to your ears, stretch your neck slowly, and stretch the muscles of your face.  If you can’t tell I am a big fan of yoga and believe in the benefits even a bit of stretching can have on the restless or tired body.  If you are self-quarantined in your flat, you may have more room to play with.  In this case, invest some time in a Blogilates pilates class or challenge yourself to some pushups and squats for breakfast.