There’s a lot to be worried about right now, but don’t lose hope just yet. From joining the local e-library to writing letters and baking the world a better place, Lauren shares how she’s been staying positive while staying home.
There’s a lot of worry in the world at the moment. And rightly so, these are terrifying times.
I’m worried for my sister, who is a junior doctor working 13-hour shifts on the frontline. I’m worried for my elderly grandmother; so vulnerable, yet putting on a brave face. I’m worried for the people I see on the news queuing up outside Centrelink, a place where many thought they would never be.
Among all this worry, I’m trying to find the joy in the world where possible. Here are some things that I’m trying. Maybe they will help you find joy too.
Virtually visit your library
I’ve signed up to my local library, which has an abundance of audiobooks and e-books that are bound to keep me entertained for weeks. Get online, get yourself a virtual library card and start borrowing!
If you have any problems joining online, just give your local librarian a call, I’m sure they would be happy to help. Right now, I’m working through Becoming, Michelle Obama’s autobiography, which is joyful among many things. She incorporates her humour with humanity as she tells the incredible story of her life. I would highly recommend it. If you have any good reads, let me know!
Pick up a pen
I’m writing letters to my friends. Last week I purchased a 20-pack of stamps and am sending letters to my friends in Australia and abroad. I distinctly remember the joy of receiving a letter or a postcard as a child and hope I can bring a smile to my friends’ faces while we are social distancing.
Lauren hits the page | Supplied: Lauren Paynter
Not sure who to write to? Aged care provider Your Side is organising a pen pal program to connect people across the country with older Australians living in Sydney by letter writing. Problem solved. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
I’m doing yoga with my mum every morning. Short yoga sessions to keep myself in check is bringing me joy so far. My go-to is Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She has over six million subscribers and provides home yoga and mindfulness classes for both beginners and experienced yogis alike, (there are even occasional features from her dog!) I recommend her 30-day yoga challenge to start with. If you have an outdoor area at home, catch some rays while you’re doing a downward dog.
Let’s get physical!
If yoga isn’t your thing, many Australian fitness businesses and apps are offering free online classes. The Keep It Cleaner girls are providing 20-minute live workouts on their Facebook page twice a week. Chris Hemsworth’s app Centr is offering six weeks of free workouts and meal plans. Not sponsored, just a PSA because exercise brings me joy.
Bake the world a better place
Onto my next joy—food and cooking! There is nothing more satisfying than cooking. I mean, you get to eat it afterwards? Today I’m baking bread. Yesterday I baked an apple and rhubarb pie with my mum. But my favourite thing I’ve made all week is this lentil dahl recipe. Although there are a few funky spices which can be a little bit costly, it’s super cheap to make once you have those ingredients, because all you have to buy is rice, lentils, veggies and papadums. Now is the chance to use those lentils and rice that you hastily bought among the chaos.
Lauren’s homemade iso scones | Supplied: Lauren Paynter
Socialisation in isolation
And finally, I’m reaching out to people I normally wouldn’t. I don’t call my grandma enough and I’m ashamed it took a global pandemic for me to change that. But I’m trying to pick up the phone, speak to that childhood friend who I haven’t seen in years, check in with the family friend who I only see at family events and generally just speak to more people. Because even if they don’t need it, I do, and that brings me joy.
You gotta nourish to flourish
But let’s remember we don’t need to be ultra-productive. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to watch your favourite rainy-day movie or binge-watch Friends. We don’t need to be learning a new language or how to play the piano. But if you want to, that’s cool too. Let’s just look after ourselves and those around us and find joy where possible.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I can work from home. I can study from home. I have family around me. I can go and play with my dog in between university lectures. So, in the wise words of Marie Kondo, let’s find joy in the world.
Lauren’s lab Boscar because he’s 100% joy | Supplied: Lauren Paynter