Full On Hibernation and Survival Mode or "How I get through" this time around...

Posted by Nicole Duranton Sigl on

Hey Folks,

How are you these days? I often wonder how you're all getting on and what's on your minds at a time like this. Maybe, like me, you have also given up any pretence or semblance of "normality" and have, also like me, given in to doing as little or as much as feels doable on any particular day. Yes, I said it. I am not working at full capacity at all and I won't be for the foreseeable future either. Maybe that's unsurprising to you or maybe this shocks you, I don't know. Part of me is still shocked to even think, let alone write this down. I could tell you a lot of reasons why this situation is sad for my small, fledgling business, why I am seriously underwhelmed with a whole lot of stuff that is going on, or why I am simultaneously quite overwhelmed with an equal amount of stuff that is also happening right now. In short, I could write down a massive, all-encompassing rant. I could regale you with a series of misfortunes, real ones at that, and still come up with a few more bits to throw myself (and all of us) a pity party of epic proportions.

But guess what? I won't. Why? Because that's not the kind of person that I am. I may wear my heart on my sleeve to an extent but I still refuse to make my very personal grievances an entertaining read. Not to belittle, gloss over, or omit anything, especially relating to my work (for which you are presumably here), no. Not at all. It's just that I am honestly not as down anymore as I was even a few days ago, when the lockdown was yet again extended. Nothing changed since then, except my way of looking at the overall situation. I said my goodbyes, I've lit my candles, I've cried the tears I had left. And then, I decided to let go of trying to control things that are beyond my own power. Sounds easy or obvious but really really isn't for someone like me [cue certain innate personality traits as well as occupational hazards of a self-employed craftsperson].

So, instead of moaning, I would much rather tell you what it is that currently keeps me going. Who knows, perhaps some of it might resonate with you or help you to get a grip on your own mountain of worry. That's why I am going to randomly list all the weird things that keep me afloat between homeschooling, family life, grief, chores, life admin, and the bits of work that I do manage to squeeze in, at odd times. [It doesn't help being "in between workshops" either; still a longish way to go with my renovations... guess that's what I get for opening this particular Pandora's box.] Without further ado though, here goes:

  • looking at art and choosing pieces for my new studio space
  • doing big puzzles [something I haven't done in ages; it really draws you in and takes your mind of other things]
  • sending more letters and little parcels to all my family who I miss so much [thank you An Post!!!]
  • reading folk tales from my home(s) to cope with homesickness
  • giving myself breaks from social media [all the people still not respecting the lockdown rules are making me so furious!!!]
  • keeping up my language lessons [even the children join occasionally, another string to their bows in due time, hopefully...]
  • lots of daydreaming
  • lots of drawing 
  • lots of writing
  • doing some painting, decorations, and DIY/craft projects [added benefit: the children can join in]
  • planting a few new houseplants [disclaimer: I am not green fingered, so they may not live that long...]
  • listening to more (new to me) music and discovering a few unexpected gems [who knew I'd enjoy Nirvana being played by a string quartet this much!?]
  • doing more yoga again since I don't feel like long walkies at the moment [Benji seems ok with this; in fact, he's so extremely extra cuddly right now anyway that it'd feel wrong to drag him out any more than necessary]
  • full on hibernation [I hardly ever leave the house at present, unless we're out of fresh fruit and veg]
  • travelling via recipes and cooking lots of exotic dishes from all over the world [feeling smug about my lifelong habit of collecting recipes from everywhere I go]
  • reading all kinds of magazines for extra easy visual stimulation and "change of scenery" (rather than "just" books)
  • for the first time ever, finally listening to some podcasts [I have always intensely disliked podcasts, now there are a few that I genuinely found worthwhile]
  • listening to audiobooks while I make art [especially useful for entertaining, easy books that I don't need sitting on my shelves later on, catching dust]
  • going through old photographs, trying not to wonder where all the time went but also feeling chuffed how many adventures I have had so far
  • finally letting myself be dragged into the Marvel universe, in case superheroes do have some transferrable skills to share [on a side note: this sacrifice of my time automatically makes me qualify for "wife of the year", right!?] [on another side note: turns out the beautifully made but often sad or downright depressing art house movies that I normally favour are not sustainable entertainment at present]
  • wondering what Jeff Goldblum would do (I even painted my fingernails blue, just in case this magically helps somehow)

As you can see, none of this has much to do with work, or at least not directly. A lot of it still finds its way into my designs and plans going forward but, for now, I am simply happy to not put any more pressure on myself.

With full freedom not yet available to us, I turn to freedom of mind - unlimited by default. A comforting thought. I allow myself all the feelings I am capable of feeling and while yes, there are limits of what I am actually capable of doing, there's still a vast lot to explore and I needn't go anywhere at all for that. A mantra that I increasingly try to live by is 'making do' or rather 'making the best of what I have, in the ways that I can, in the place where I am, at any given time, with whatever time I have'. Every little bit of rest, creativity or work counts. And it's certainly better than being paralysed by fear, worry and anxiety, or letting (my) life pass me by entirely during these strange times.

I dream but I also do. For when another time comes, then I am ready. In case this "better" time never does arrive, well, then at least I have lived my best possible life while waiting. In other words, I am collecting "little moments of happiness" along the way, hoping for the best while I still can, if that makes sense to you. After all, the time is still NOW. 

Hopefully, this honest little account of what my life currently looks like somehow encourages you to keep going with your own. Maybe you want to let me know how you're actually getting on yourselves, need some recipes, book/movie/music recommendations, and ideas, or simply want to get in touch... I am right here and always delighted to connect, so don't feel shy, ok? Reach out. In the meantime, let's try and enjoy the time we're given. I, for one, am feeling happy to be healthy and am grateful for my 'inner resources' or whatever you might call it. Maybe it's my kind of "survival mode", who knows... I am sure you can find it in yourselves, too. Nurture it and don't give up, please. Do what makes your heart smile!

Good luck now, with lots of love,

Nicole x