Hello friends! It's hard for me to believe this, but the last time I posted to this series was a little over a year ago. That's wild! And a lot has changed since then, too. Not just with this pandemic, but my life and mindset in general.
Because I've been unemployed as of recent and stuck inside with my own thoughts, I've been attempting to make the most of it by staying healthy and creative. So that's what I'd like to discuss today. I want to share how I maintain a positive mindset while I feel helpless, chaotic, and broke. While I discuss these things, I'm going to be showcasing photos of myself that I recently took. I originally sought out to give myself a boudoir shoot to boost my confidence a smidgen, but I struggled to understand the self timer on my camera (I have a lot more research to do). So instead, enjoy these PG "boudoir" photos. I ended up fighting through the daylight and enjoying altering the shadows and such. I'm still proud of how they came out.
Anyways, besides this spontaneous photo shoot, let's talk more about staying healthy, creative, and optimistic during this stressful time.
Of course, when I started Grins & Needles, I wanted to share how to embrace yourself with happiness through creative outlets, hence the name. I used to be an avid knitter back in the day, which explains "needles". But through time, my creative outlets have changed. Yes, I still love to craft when given the chance. But my heart feels connected to the world through photography, design, music, and writing. So I believe art has helped me so much through this social isolation.
In this current time, trapped in my thoughts, I find myself feeling scared sometimes. Of the uncertainties. Afraid of how long I'll be unemployed. Afraid of not being able to support myself. And I know I'm not alone in this. I also find myself feeling guilty when I'm just sitting at home. I'm constantly job-hunting and working on a few freelance design projects. But if I take a moment to rest, I feel stir-crazy. I feel like, because I'm not working through every waking moment of quarantine, that I'm lazy or unproductive. But I need to breathe.
The first thing I feel I should note--it's important to try to step outside at least once a day. Drive to a nearby park and take a walk to clear your mind. Unplug from socials for an hour and just indulge in the fresh air. I'll bring my headphones along too, to listen to some quiet tunes while strolling around. Once a week, I even try to go for a long hike. Last week, I even climbed a ton of rocks through my hike, and was proud of how many steps I got in that day. But when my mind is in a pickle, I think a little sunshine and exercise go a long way.
Sometimes I even "tackle" arguments in my head with my own flaws or with the way I've been treated by others. It feels like a little meditative strategy to work out my frustrations with myself or other miscellaneous situations. I also do know I have a lot of anxiety in situations I can't control, so sometimes I feel more calm when I can work through them internally on these walks.
But, yes, I feel like exercise is crucial to a clear mind. Especially in this stir-crazy time.
Secondly, f I'm dwelling a lot or feeling extra low, and exercise didn't quite cut it, sometimes I'll take the long way home. A nice drive with the windows down reminds me of a normal spring. Plus I love being able to smell the fresh cut grass on the way. All I add is some incredible music and I feel unstoppable.
Thirdly, take care of yourself. Shower, eat, and drink lots of water. Sometimes I want to just play The Sims 4 all day long, but I know I at least should stretch and shower to still feel human.
Art-wise, I am feeling incredibly motivated and excited. Even when I took these photos, I didn't want to sleep until I had all finished products. I love feeling proud of my work, and having this time off due to unemployment, I've been trying to make the most of it by perfecting my skills.
In this past month or so without work, I've completed two commissioned prints, updated my resume, created a LinkedIn, updated my online portfolio bit by bit, took on an interior decorating task (that I'm still organizing), and am finishing up a branding guide / logo for a local business. I've even applied to a lot of junior design positions, social media jobs, and internships left and right. And I'm not settling when it comes to my job search; every company I've applied for is one that I'd love to pursue, and is one that I hope will jump start my career as a professional designer.
This productivity surge comes with pros and cons, through. Although I'm the most motivated and driven with design and photography than I've felt I've been in a while, I also am easily beating myself up if I take a day off. It's still something I'm trying to ease up on. Balance is key.
As a way to hilariously force myself out of overworking myself, I've been watching Hulu shows again. I'm not one to watch shows much anymore. I've always been more of a YouTube person. But I've really been enjoying shows like You're The Worst and Little Fires Everywhere.
Along with this, I've taken up gaming. Playing on XBOX Live has allowed me to reconnect with great friends and game through this wild pandemic. I've been practicing Warzone almost every night. It weirdly helps me destress after a day of overthinking.
Another outlet of mine has been creating random concoctions in the kitchen. Sure, I have absolutely no idea how to cook. But it sure is fun trying. It's all a learning experience. And it's all a matter of finding things to enjoy while being cooped up.
Don't worry, team. I have loads of goals in mind. I want to experiment with different lighting in photos. I want to make a collection of digital portraits specifically of Julien Solomita whenever he becomes a new "character" in Jenna's videos. I want to hike more than once a week. I want to expand my professional portfolio. I want to email more design agencies and gain feedback and knowledge about dipping my toe in the design pool. I want to win a match of Warzone Battle Royale more than once. I want to catch up with old friends. I want to keep growing my blog and my online presence. I want to make the most of my failed boudoir photos. I want to draw and paint. I want to rekindle lost relationships. I want to keep connecting with my family, even when we're apart. I want to make the most of these weird and stressful and uncertain circumstances.
Please stay safe, stay healthy. And hang in there.