Strange Times; a hippie in isolation
April 1, 2020
These are strange times indeed
Strange Days – The Doors
Strange days have found us
Strange days have tracked us down
They’re going to destroy
Our casual joys
We shall go on playing
Or find a new town
I recently wrote a post about the pandemic, focusing on what our being in lock-down meant for us. How could we work at moving forward rather than standing still over these dark months.
I was trying to offer hope in worrying times. Now that we are into the lock-down feelings and emotions have seemed enhanced. Mental health issues are beginning to come to light and the world seems an increasingly dark place.
For me, the key word has been:
What has happened to me has been unexpected; I have felt myself changing. In some ways adapting, in some ways not. In some ways feeling positive and full of creative energy and some times feeling angry, antagonistic and argumentative.
Strange Days – The Doors
Strange eyes fill strange rooms
Voices will signal their tired end
The hostess is grinning
Her guests sleep from sinning
Hear me talk of sin
And you know this is it
I have found it easy to keep busy. I am writing a book and that work keeps me occupied for hours. I am setting up a business with a friend and that too keeps my mind active and busy. I am also being creative, creating several art works over the last few weeks.
But I am also finding I am able to take my time. I lay in bed till 10am reading, I enjoy a long casual breakfast before taking my time writing or drawing or whatever; its refreshing to not be rushing myself along.
Strange days have found us
And through their strange hours
We linger alone
As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone
Strange Days – The Doors
But I have found another, darker side to my isolation;
Anger, being antagonistic and being argumentative with people.
I believe this comes down to my frustration at not being able to bounce around like Tigger; planing future projects, travelling the world, earning money to achieve my goals.
I kid myself that we are not standing still, but we are and could be for some time and that frustrates someone like me to hell!, I am someone with a forward momentum mindset; I need to keep moving.
Richard Sutcliffe (Monkey Pilot of Whirl-y-gig fame) described it as my energetic spirit. He recognised how difficult it would be for someone like me to be boxed up, I cannot do staying indoors. And I’m sure its the same for many of you.
I had a massive row with my brother at the beginning of the pandemic, my reaction to something he said was way over the top, I even hung up the phone on him. I realise now it was a reflection of my own fears and concerns.
On social media especially, I have been getting involved in political and conspiracy theory arguments with others. I have sworn at people and been really aggressive; that’s just not me, I thought: ‘who is this monster?’
So, I am now steering away from those kind of interactions and just focusing on the happy vibes of my hippie kushi page on Facebook.
The fact that I have recognised these unpleasant recent traits means I can now move away from that person I was becoming because of my isolation.
This article from Mental Health.org has some good suggestions for staying sane during this lock-down period:
Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (COVID-19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home
The government is telling us to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home.
This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.
It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Read our full list of tips on staying at home.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here:
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, by telephone, email or social media, or contact a helpline for emotional support.
You may like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to:
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Also remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
Talk to your children
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible.
Try to anticipate distress
It is OK to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.
Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.
Try not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance.
It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
Artist David Hockney reflects on the coronavirus lock-down from his new home in Normandy:
“We found this house with a large garden that was cheaper than anything in Sussex”. “We bought it, renovated it and built a small studio; and have been living there since early March”.
“I began drawing the winter trees on a new iPad,” he said. “Then this virus started…
“I went on drawing the winter trees that eventually burst into blossom. This is the stage we are right now. Meanwhile the virus is going mad, and many people said my drawings were a great respite from what was going on.”
He sent some of his work in progress to friends, which led to him releasing one image of daffodils for publication, which he titled: Do Remember They Can’t Cancel the Spring. He is now sharing nine more, all painted in the last few days.
“Why are my iPad drawings seen as a respite from the news? Well, they are obviously made by the hand depicting the renewal that is the spring in this part of the world.”
“I intend to carry on with my work, which I now see as very important,”
“We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it. This will in time be over and then what? What have we learned? I am 83 years old, I will die. The cause of death is birth.
“The only real things in life are food and love in that order, just like our little dog Ruby. I really believe this and the source of art is love.
“I love life.”
Beautiful words from David Hockney, from a letter written to the BBC
I think the only way to get through this is to accept our fate. We are in lock-down and the coronavirus is out there. Treat it as yet another chapter in your life; chapters end eventually and you start on the next chapter.
News today suggests the new Remdesiver drug is looking promising as a vaccine and human clinical trials are already under way. The end is in sight, it may be a few more months yet but there is a light at the end of the tunnel; we must just stay strong, and like me, keep an eye on our mental health.
The world at the other end of this will be a different place. Many businesses wont survive it and jobs will be lost. Bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, retail businesses and even airlines will have to close down due to financial losses caused by this pandemic. It will be difficult at first.
If you have sadly lost your job during the pandemic you ‘will’ find a new one after this (especially if you have used your time in lock-down to create a fantastic new CV). You will be earning again, and travelling abroad again and you will be dancing again. We will emerge like colourful butterflies ready to go out into the world.
This is where the hippie kushi mindset comes in. You must think positively. Bars, clubs and live music venues will re-open and the newly freed ravers of the world will be desperate for a party; its going to be wild.
The hippies, the freaks, the trance bunnies, the psychedelic space heads, the global nomads will rise again and be more mighty than ever before. You will be able to hug, kiss and slobber all over your friends once again and love will win. Hope will win.
So for now, while we are in isolation in these strange days, with a long way to go; think on this:
Look after each other, stay in touch with friends and family.
Be aware of your behaviours and mental health. If you are behaving in a way you don’t recognise, work to stop those behaviours; pull yourself away from the root of it and look after your own mental wellbeing.
Remember who you are and stay true. Use the time to grow your life:
Meditate, create, plan for the future, communicate and stay Hippie Kushi.