Stay Home: How to keep your spirits up

So, what a weird year 2020 is turning out to be, huh? I thought that this year had to be an improvement on the last one, but here we now are in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re currently on week 3 of lockdown in the UK with trips outside only allowed in order to buy groceries and for daily exercise, or to head to work if you’re one of the wonderful people currently doing essential jobs in hospitals and supermarkets, delivering our post, emptying the bins, fixing our internet connections, and driving buses for those key workers to get to where they need to be*. Everyone has now got used to social distancing measures – staying 2 metres away from anyone not in our household – while empty roads, closed shop shutters and a few extremely well-spaced queues distinguish the average 2020 high street from the 2019 one.

I’m on week 4 of being stuck at home, in a smallish flat with no garden or balcony. Bad hayfever means that gardening has never been a love of mine, but I’m feeling the lack of private outdoor space more keenly than at any time since we moved into this flat years ago. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can work from home and so have set up a temporary desk on the dining room table, from which to join video meetings on Microsoft Teams and wonder why on earth we weren’t doing this more often before. I’ve had a few days of annual leave booked which I’ve taken anyway, despite not being able to go anywhere, as it’s nice to take a break from this new work headspace I’ve found myself in. What to do with the spare time though? Some of my friends have been furloughed, as their job cannot be done from home or there’s not enough work for them now. There are so many of us at home now, but most of us are not used to having quite this much time there.

To keep my spirits up during the first couple of weeks of working from home, I stuck to a routine. I got up at a regular time (slightly later, due to the lack of a commute), got washed, dressed, had breakfast, put my make-up on, and traveled the few metres to my desk. I took coffee breaks, did my daily outfit selfie, had an entire hour for lunch. I replaced chatting in the kitchen at work with text chats on Teams, and swapped my evening commute for daily video chats with friends. But I realised I’d need to turn it up a notch for week 3. I knew I’d need some kind of project… and so #DressFancyWFH was born! I decided to dress for work in outfits that I’d usually wear to parties or weddings, in order to cheer myself up and get some wear out of clothes that I love but which don’t see the light of day all that often. Having curled my hair last night, the first look came out way more 70s than I initially planned, and so a ‘decades of the 20th century’ theme emerged.

Monday 30 March: 70s vintage
Monday 30 March: 1970s style (vintage lurex maxi dress with sparkly hoop earrings from Las Vegas)
Tuesday 31 March: 1940s
Tuesday 31 March: 1940s (dress from The House of Foxy. Necklace from Tatty Devine. Scarf is a Bob & Roberta Smith design for the Imperial War Museum)
Wednesday 1 April: 1980s
Wednesday 1 April: 1980s (dress from Wolf & Whistle, jacket from New Look, shoes from Office. All many years old.)
Thursday 2 April: 1990s
Thursday 2 April: 1990s (dress is a second-hand Vivienne Westwood find, shoes are Demonia, hat is custom.)
Friday 3 April: 1950s
Friday 3 April: 1950s (the frock is my wedding dress, from The Pretty Dress Company. Shoes from Irregular Choice.)

I can definitely recommend coming up with a silly creative project to cheer yourself up, especially when our mental health with inevitably be up and down a lot over the coming months. Whatever your creative practice – drawing, painting, music, crafting, sewing, gardening – I hope you find something that will give you joy while you stay at home to stop the spread of this horrible virus.

*I realise there are many more essential jobs at the moment, but those are just the ones that came to mind while I was writing this.

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