Photography to soothe you during self-isolation
Ease the feeling of permanent panic with some beautiful and soothing photos by my wonderful friend and talented photographer Sangavi.
My younger brother’s friend Mia described the feeling brilliantly. You know when you have to wake up early for an important and stressful event you can’t miss… a flight, a performance, an exam. You are waiting. Tossing and turning. You keep checking the time. Your tummy feels inside out. Fight or flight. This is how we all feel right now, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I told my mum about this feeling, having just moved back home after University shutting. She said she feels the exact same. She has woken up at 5am every morning this week. I have been waiting for it to go, sorting, keeping busy. Waiting to start getting on with normal life, only in isolation. She says the feeling isn’t going to go. We are just going to have to get used to living with it.
I’ve been speaking to my two lovely Grandma’s on the phone. When chatting about the pandemic both of them have brought up poignant wartime memories. Evening phone chit-chat has never felt so eerie.
I have been trying to think of ways to ease this feeling a bit. My friend Sangavi sent me some really beautiful photos she has taken for us to have a flick through. These all make me feel soothed and allow me to take a second to step back and appreciate friends, nature and art. I hope they do the same for you.
Go make yourself a camomile tea, put on a song that makes you think of a moment when you have felt free, happy and fulfilled, and have a flick through…
“Anyone who knows me knows I almost always have my phone out – to pull stupid faces or reply to messages, but mostly to take photos of everything I see. And yes, I do mean everything: I cannot stress enough how many pointless snaps I have of a clear blue sky and the sun and some trees. So, so many. I always tell myself to stop and take a breath, ever since I listened to that one podcast that told me always photographing a moment can steal the experience (direct callout). And then I pull my phone out anyway.
I can’t remember a specific reason behind my interest in photography, but I think part of is that I hated having my photo taken as a teenager, and I always wanted to hide behind the camera. I have a lot of thoughts about selfies and editing and filtering (why do I always look ten shades lighter?), but I find that photography in itself is good. It’s quick, it’s (mostly) accessible, it can be shared. There’s something beautiful to be seen, there’s some new understanding to be found. For someone nervous about their capacity for creativity, it’s a good shout. Honestly speaking, probably a big part of why I enjoy taking photos is because a bunch of them turn out pretty well. Like everyone, I like being good at something, and I like being told I’m good at something. I have a lot of reasons, of varying importance, but I only recently started thinking about how much they calm me down, and how useful that could be right now.
The world is under some serious stress at the minute, and so am I. I’m tense, reloading my news every five minutes; I’m bored, constantly circling through the same five apps on my phone. As a student with barely any contact hours, I find it hard to structure my life in a healthy pattern on normal days – now I eat and sleep at odd times, I lie around a lot and then get weird bursts of energy to be productive, even though I keep reminding myself I don’t have to be constantly working in the midst of a global pandemic?? (You remember that too, it’s important).
My photos, I’ve found, are one of the best ways to soothe me. Of course, there’s the necessary trip or ten down memory lane, allowing myself to miss my friends and my life at uni properly instead of just shoving it down. I can look back at nights out and days exploring, and think about all the pointless chat and the deep conversations. But even when I don’t have specific memories attached, I like flicking through autumn leaves and bursts of light; I like the colours and the contrast and all the light flooding in, and they make me feel like I can breathe a little bit better. I hope that some of you found them calming, or interesting, or at the very least pretty to look at.”