I’m a real homebody. An introverted introvert through and through, I find my batteries can only really be reset after time spent alone in my safe sanctuary. Whether it’s after a day at work or even an afternoon out with my best friends, I always need time to recuperate after any social activity. And it wasn’t until we moved house and spent three weeks in limbo that I realised how much I relied on having a cosy haven to retreat to. Although I of course loved staying with my partner for a month, I learned a lot about myself.
Now that lockdown has been announced in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, I think lots of us feel in limbo, myself included. I don’t subscribe to ‘making the most of the time’ when it comes to these situations, because, by nature, in limbo you feel incredibly uncertain and unsettled. I’m as big a fan of multi-tasking and smarter working as the next millennial multi-hyphenate, but I’m also a big advocate of s l o o o w i n g things down.
As I write this post, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced an initial three-week lockdown. I started writing this post for evergreen use (the first paragraph still is!), but through extraordinary times like these, I think it could be interesting for us to reflect on how we felt during the great COVID-19 pandemic. I feel a bit bewildered to be honest. I’ve been social distancing for two weeks and none of this feels real. I haven’t seen Harvey in two weeks. I’ve been joking and laughing on endless video calls. And yet I’ve been continuing on, somewhat.
Life in limbo is certainly a funny one, and so I wanted to offload some of my thoughts, gathered during this time and when I was waiting to move.
Living in Limbo
When I found myself living between houses, I had to make big decisions about seemingly inconsequential things. Which of my office essentials were actually essentials? Which pyjamas should I pack, for that is how I feel most cosy? What sort of clothing would I need during that time? The list went on. There was a whole lot of planning involved and yet when it came to it, none of really mattered.
I could cosy up my pyjamas and read a book I’d packed, with Harvey playing a game beside me, but I lacked energy and creativity because I wasn’t able to take either from my surroundings. I didn’t realise just how much I relied on having my own space, set up in my own way to fuel said energy and creativity. I found I couldn’t make definitive plans with friends because I didn’t want to spend all my time out when Harvey’s family had been so welcoming. I couldn’t run my business in the way I usually did because half of my equipment and all of my paperwork was in storage. I couldn’t shoot my usual cosy, at-home photographs because the space wasn’t mine.
These are, of course, inconsequential things. But that’s exactly why I wanted to write this post: living in limbo has a funny way of making you realise all sorts of things.
Finding Focus When Things Are Uncertain
In classic Michelle manner, I found my limbo footing by getting my bullet journal out and making epic to-do lists. What I realised was that I desperately sought focus and some sort of stability. Something somewhat new that I could pour my restless energies into whilst unable to work to the other things on my mind. I planned my weeks each Sunday so that I’d be able to stick my old routine whilst being sensitive to the new one, and I brainstormed within an inch of my life.
From Grow & Glow bundles to mapping out writing plans, gathering interior inspiration for my new room to sketching out Instagram post ideas by hand, I dipped my fingers in as many new, creative pies as I could. I just needed something to take my mind off of being in limbo. And even now, I’m finding focus by using all of my spare time doing non-essential hobbies: reading, playing games, taking things one day at a time.
It’s Okay Not to Be Productive Whilst in Limbo
In light of the current UK lockdown, I also wanted to reiterate that it’s completely okay not to be productive when you’re in limbo. It’s a really difficult time for a lot of us, and anxieties are sky-high. I know firsthand how hard it can be to even get out of bed, never mind ‘find focus’ or try to make the most of this time, when you’re anxious. Like I said earlier in the year, it’s fine not to hit the ground running. I’m hyper aware that some of my content may make it seem as though I’m doing everything all of the time, so I wanted to share what I’m doing whilst in limbo.
Drinking coffee; my morning cup enjoyed at the end of the garden, perched on our new vegetable planting boxes ∙ Reading, lots! ∙ Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons ∙ Doing workout sessions provided by my gym at 6.30pm every evening, with my family ∙ Working from home, quite happily ∙ Journalling; it’ll be so interesting in years to come to reflect on the pandemic and how we lived our days ∙ Shooting something every day, as I have more daylight hours at my disposal ∙ Writing, always.
How are you finding lockdown? Please reach out to me on any of my platforms if you’re anxious or feeling lonely; I’d love to lend a virtual ear.