Embracing Isolation

What do you when a global pandemic sweeps across the world and you have to remain inside for the next 6 months? How do you remain sane during this kind of ordeal?

As someone who has had their battles with mental illness, I realise how detrimental this lockdown can be to our collective psyches for those of us already living less than social lives it is those few connections to the outside world that are life-saving. It's important to be mindful of our own thoughts and wellbeing during these scary and confusing times.

You see, I have noticed the value in a situation like this; a chance to step back and reevaluate your world around you and take inventory. I was going to write this piece as a sort of guide book on how to be productive during all this but after talking to Brisbane based Photographer Will Johnstone who hit me with the "this isn't a productivity contest, its a pandemic" I realised it's better to just simply get through this and not worry about hitting some imaginary productivity quota that we believe we need to strive for, as your health and your wellbeing are more valuable than being able to contribute to a made-up societal structure.

For a lot of us, working is what gives us meaning and the drive to keep going, helping to sustain a healthy mindset. With the recent news that we could be in a varying state of lockdown for nigh on 6-12 months, I'm sure a shock has been sent down the spine of everyone. Knowing I'll crack before the first 2 months I thought this piece not only beneficial to all reading but to myself as well. When in doubt, talk it out.

Speaking to me quite openly and frankly, Grace Drummond of Punk outfit Something Something explosion discussed with me how weird and difficult of a time this could be,

"Dealing with this pandemic/shutdown situation is a weird time, honestly - I'm not going to lie, it's exceptionally difficult on some days to just keep my head above water"

*Grace performing with Something Something Explosion in 2019 at Halloween Hysteria

Photo by Gerry Nicholls Photography*

"I think the biggest thing to help yourself from falling into that rabbit hole is just to try and stay productive. If you're a creative, then use the time to create. Write a list of things you would like to achieve in the time you now have available to you, and start doing them. My personal list includes pretty basic stuff like "declutter/clothing cull" and "sort out email inboxes" (seriously, it's out of hand), but I think the thing I'm looking forward to the most is "read (and complete) each unread book on the shelf". I also intend to come out of this thing as a significantly better musician than I currently am!"

Currently, in stage 3 lockdown, Victoria (Where Grace resides) was the first state to really ramp up restrictions meaning that no one can leave their house unless it's for supplies/food, exercise, medical appointments and work/education (if absolutely necessary).

Grace stressed the importance of keeping social and in contact with your loved ones.

Even though we're to practice social distancing, still remain social with your friends and family. Everyone says "we're all in this together," and even though I sing that to the tune of the High School Musical song every single time, it's true. We are all in this together, so don't be afraid to reach out to someone if you're having a hard time. If you don't feel up to talking to someone, then at least try to get some sunshine on your skin - it works wonders, believe me."

Our local friends in SODA had to push through the inconveniences when they released their latest single 'Slow March' pretty much at the start of the lockdown when live events were just being canned. Always endeavouring to create more than just a song but an entire cacophony of visual art for their releases, SODA had planned a huge campaign for 'Slow March' with Nic Hutton from the band saying to me:

"(it) marked Act 2 Part 1, of our long-form EP, How To Navigate Your Breathing, which is accompanied by a series of cinema-graphs, short videos and animations that we created ourselves"

Continuing to speak to me about how he and the lads are enduring this pandemic he said,

"This pandemic has been an interesting time for us. You could say we've found it rather difficult to work from home. HAHA. Overall I think as a band we have very much proceeded with the onwards and upwards approach. Although it has been quite disheartening cancelling shows and postponing things, we have found a new space to explore production and honing our craft. Individually we have had our ups and downs. We've been blowing up each other's phones though, keeping in touch with weekly chats instead of band rehearsal. The live performance was such an outlet for us, so we would be lying if we said we didn't have cabin fever, but to deal with that we've actually been flat out recording a cover and our next single. The cover is really exciting and should be out soon"

*SODA Headlined our Charity Choons gig in December raising money for Beyond Blue, Here we are on Radio Adelaide promoting the show where the lads also performed their single 'When The Warden Calls'

As of writing this, there are talks of lifting some restrictions within the next month, whether that is the case or we truly will be like this for a while, the importance remains of reaching out and checking up on your friends. It is easy to fall into that rut of just going through the daily motions waiting for this to all be over, but being mindful and taking those few minutes out of the day to make sure you're all right and people around you are extremely valuable.

Let's just do a thought exercise right now though, what if... IF, we decided to extend this mindfulness to not just our time during lockdown but beyond that. Learning to become more self-aware and mindful of your actions and strengths and weaknesses is something I've personally been trying to work on during this lockdown, taking the time to slow down and be aware of your thoughts and not let them eat you up.

Taking this idea north to Brisbane I want to end this with a word from the lovely Mr Matt Cochran of Pandamic and WALKEN Fame who basically echoed me with:

"Even out of lockdown It's so easy to get caught up in your own head, but talking it out and being open with those close to you can help so much"

*WALKEN's latest Music Video for their single 'Regular Human Person' Dropped back at the start of the year in the 'Before Times'

It can be a true challenge for people to climb out of that rut and seek some assistance, Matt touches on this by continuing

"For some people though, they might not have a close support network in person or they might find it difficult to address things with those around them. That's where online and telephone resources can be really handy though because you can talk over problems with someone who doesn't know you/your friends/your family and they can listen + discuss things anonymously"

For someone that has been their own worst critique this 'deadly global threat' has somewhat forced me to reevaluate a little and realise that we all have a definite responsibility to show ourselves kindness. With how rapidly everything is changing yet simultaneously grinding to a halt 'We as individuals are the only constant' to quote Ms Thea Martin. We have ourselves, we have our family and friends and we need to worry only about just getting through this alive. The aftermath for a situation like this will see our economy and lives be far more impacted then right now, It's important we just do what we can to stay sane, we have a long way to go and it takes all of us being focused, aware and mindful.

- Jordan xo


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