I almost feel a little guilty when saying out loud that I’ve actually begun to enjoy the freedom that lockdown has given me…. no, I haven’t been one of those who have been flaunting the rules by catching some rays and picnicking in the park. I’m referring to the “mental freedom” that being home has allowed me.
Don’t get me wrong, at the very start of this lockdown I was freaking the hell out. I know I was bad because even my husband acknowledged and commented on my mental state, which is a huge warning sign that I’m on a downward spiral because he never really says anything on this topic…. he’s perhaps a little scared of me when I’m dealing with my demons.
I’ve been a stationery designer and stylist for ten years and had a one-stop style wedding shop for the last six.
If I’m being honest my business has been struggling for a little while and sadly the effects of Covid have been the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.
I have spent the last ten weeks trying to find a new tenant to rent my shop space which, as you can imagine, has been a little like trying to flog a dead horse or sell snow to an Eskimo… not an easy task during a pandemic!
Making the decision to let go has been the hardest thing. I’ve cried myself to sleep countless nights, I’ve been poorly sick with worry and so emotionally drained from the fear of failing that I’ve had several panic attacks.
I’ve had to detach myself from my business in order to see things in a different light – lockdown has forced me to do that. It’s allowed me to close the shop and not feel guilt at not being there because I’ve had no choice. It’s made me stop and switch off from the outside pressures of work. It’s given me time to breathe and be with my children.
I was such a mess, a bag of nerves with worrying 24 hours a day about how to pay rent and bills for a business with no business coming in. My anxiety literally going through the roof and the dark feelings of just wanting to hide away and ignore what was happening around me taking over, wanting to sleep until it was all over and sorted out… but I knew I couldn’t do that.
I decided to allow myself some time to “freak out” and then I heard that voice, that annoying but positive voice that whispers hope in your ear. It told me to give myself a minute then pull up my big girl pants, and figure my shit out.
Like most soppy girls in my hour of need I turned to Pinterest for inspirational quotes, for guidance from those before us that have struggled to find a way forward, those that have been kind enough to leave us with some words of wisdom…
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”
Over the years I’ve fought so many battles with my own doubting Thomas, I’ve struggled with that awful deep-rooted imposter syndrome that so many of us creatives do and stupidly I’ve even been embarrassed to shout about my achievements which is crazy right? This time out has highlighted so many things for me and reminded me that when something isn’t working it’s time to make changes, not hide our heads in the sand and hope for the best.
So that’s what I did. I gave myself a moment and then I pulled up those pants!
When I’m low I need a focus. My go-to thing is creating and making which would usually involve someone’s wedding but whilst there are no weddings I needed to find something else. I decided like lots of others have during this time that I wanted to learn a new skill, I wanted to do something to help other people. So, I called up my mum who is The Sewing Queen and hoarder of fabrics and asked her to teach me how to make face masks…. fast forward two months and we’ve made nearly 1500 re-usable masks and given over half freely to care workers and facilities with the others being sold for donations to cover the materials used for the gifted ones.
I may not be “working” right now but honestly I’ve never worked harder than I have during these weeks of lockdown.
Home schooling my children, starting up Fun & Funky Face Masks, downsizing The Wedding Hub from a physical shop to an online one, navigating my way around my mental health and anxiety issues all whilst a pandemic is changing the world as we knew it has been the biggest challenge but also, in the weirdest of ways, the most enjoyable crisis to date!
Failing at something isn’t always the worst thing to happen, sometimes it actually allows us to see the changes that need to be made in order to have a better life. Yes, it can be scary to let go but it can also be exciting to see what happens next!