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News > Mill Hill & COVID-19 > Olivia's Lockdown

Olivia's Lockdown

Old Millhillian Olivia Bernstone (McClure 2007-11) is making the most of a bad situation...
Getting Creative
Getting Creative
It’s taken a lot for me to muster up the energy and effort to write this. Which is crazy considering the amount of free time on my hands. I should be jumping at the opportunity for a little mental stimulation, but that’s just how things are at the moment. Minor daily tasks become full day events, and for me, being creative and productive has taken a massive backseat.

A life of isolation is not unusual for me, I am a freelancer and often ‘Work From Home’, which means I can easily spend the entire working day with no human contact. My saviour however, is that I waitress most evenings, which provides me with my daily dose of human connection and interaction- an essential tonic for an empath, and highly emotional person like myself. With that taken away from me, I really am alone.

March was my busiest month of the year so far, with what was due to be my first performance on a West End stage sadly cancelled as we moved towards a full Lockdown. With my entire industry shut down it has even become a blurred line regarding writing to people, and trying to propel my career further. I have therefore been forced to look in on myself and try to prepare a 2.0 version of ME, that is ready for the world when it decides to resume. This hasn’t come easy. I went through many phases, at first was denial, then chronic anxiety -exacerbated by my COVID positive brother, who was living in the room upstairs- then I was hit by a wave of deep gratitude and overwhelming wonder of what living through this “unprecedented” time is trying to teach us.

Having accepted the severity of the crisis, and absorbing the sad loss of the nation's loved ones, I have turned the news off, in favour of opening myself up creatively. Starting slowly, I have received so much joy from an adult colouring book, with beautifully intricate patterns and images, helping me to focus on something other than my iPhone- although I seem to have given myself a neck ache worse than when I had whiplash. I have also taken up running, cycling and cooking. All things that I have previously wanted to invest time in, but could never find the time for.

The question is, will I be able to maintain these healthy habits when all the other distractions of life are back in motion? This is a crazy time, and one that I hope we all have the opportunity to say we lived through. I am grateful for the roof over my head, food on my table and the health of my family. Even though so much has been taken away, I really feel like I have it all.

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