Initially, when a state-wide lockdown was announced only till the 31st of March, 2020 I had mixed feelings about it. I thought I would miss my “freedom”- hanging out at cafes, the movies, seeing the world and so much more. I also thought to myself, “I love staying at home and doing things so I finally have the time to do all the pending things that I’ve always wanted to.
At this very thought, like an excited kid, I made a huge list of things I would do during this period and posted the same list on ART GHAR Instagram. I was so glad that 122 people saved it and found a productive way to use their time, not to mention the many people that forwarded it to their friends.
After 3-4 days I had a realization that I had listed over a thousand things to do, and I wasn’t able to do anything concrete with the rush and anxiety I was taking to accomplish them all. I was also not enjoying the time and using it properly because just before I would start something new, I would think of something else to do. My mental health started to get affected. I was also not used to being with my family 24×7, and this added to the stress.
After this trial period of trying everything on the list, I made some changes. I decided to have definite family time, evening 5 PM – 7 PM. Come what may, this is my quality family time and I’m truly going to be present with them. The rest is my personal time. As a family, we also eat lunch together at 1 PM every day which is an age-old rule my grandfather made and we still stick to. There is so much pleasure in eating a meal with your loved ones. He gave us the flexibility for breakfast and dinner, but lunch was to be had together.
Flexible and fixed. This is how I would describe my day. Some things are fixed and the rest have flexibility.
Besides this, a major change I made was deciding on my priorities for the next 10 days instead of trying to do everything on the list.
Finish the course I have currently undertaken
Work on my website
As my day was filled with a prioritized list, my mind felt decluttered. Whatever time I have left, I paint, read, dance, and do whatever I feel like. (Listening to my heart and body is really important to me.)
Also, I started wearing my kurtas & watch (as if I’m going outside). I think everybody must try dressing up, even if at home, it has a huge mental effect. We are then ready to work and welcome the day with enthusiasm. In pajamas, every day is Sunday and that brings on laziness.
A good balance of pushing yourself for productivity + flexibility and allowing yourself to just be is the KEY!
There, the lockdown went nationwide for 21 days and more, and this time had to be spent well.
And I started doing these art therapy exercises on Instagram and encouraged people to try them. Art therapy really helps one get in touch with their feelings and emotions and now is the right time to start!
I just want all of you to know that you are not alone. We are #TogetherApart.
All of us are on a roller coaster ride of emotions. We feel excitement, grief, happiness, peace, anger, and uncertainty. We should be able to recognise these emotions in our bodies and let them out.
Happiness is really glamorized in our society and a lot of us are just posting happy posts on social media. Although, I think when I project my vulnerability and emotions like grief on a public platform like Instagram, many people think it’s normal and they reach out to me for help. They do these exercises that I post and discuss their artwork with me and feel much better. This personally feels great, as it gives me a space to share, and helps others deal with their own emotions better.
I’ve also realized a lot of things during this lockdown. It is giving me all the time to stop rushing and actually think. I know what matters to me, I’m thinking about death, purpose, and what makes me feel content. Most of us keep ourselves so busy all the time that we do not know how to live with ourselves and when we are forced to, we become blank.
It’s really vital to have a PURPOSE. You should know why you are doing what you are doing. The ‘WHY’ is really important.
And in these times I would encourage people to learn the real meaning of LIFE and the correct way of LIVING, whatever it is for them. Most importantly, be easy with yourself but not lazy.
Indulge in Art therapy exercises and feel free to reach out to me to discuss your artwork!
So finally, what really matters. I do not miss any cafes, outside food, movies. I surely miss my evening walks but not so much. And no, I have never felt freer than this. I thought I would miss my freedom but THIS is my freedom when time is in my hands and I can make use of it or let it just pass.
I am loving my time in quarantine!! - Shraddha
Shraddha Jain now successfully operates @theartgharjaipur and has converted the space into a stay, store, studio, and cafe. Follow, visit and share the love.