For many of us, life before lockdown was defined by the speed at which we operated, the immensity of our commitments and a persistent, unshakable sense of stimulation.
Of course, there were outliers like our favourite Brooke McAlary or Jac Lewis of the Broad Place who inspired notions of slowing down, introspection or daily rituals in our busy world. Yet, despite best intentions to embrace their philosophies, when life was busy, we tended to add even more to our plates.
And then COVID happened.
As Alan Lightman wrote for the Atlantic, this seismic, unavoidable shift forced ‘many of us to slow down, to spend more time in personal reflection, away from the noise and heave of the world.’ One silver lining to this situation is the collective slow-down that will no doubt prove life changing for many.
Alan goes on to say, ‘with more quiet time, more privacy, more stillness, we have an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals and as a society.’ We also think this provides an opportunity to explore a more authentic, simple and analogue existence.
We’ve found that with time away from our old ‘normal’, our attention has become more introspective, and the task at hand has been to find contentment in even the smallest things. A treasured or mundane object alike has become the enabler of the ritual that brings joy.
With this in mind, we’re exploring three key places in the home – the kitchen, living room and bedroom – which have benefited from this new, slower rhythm of life. With the addition of time, we’ve found simple objects can turn commonplace activities into a satisfying, and even mindful experience.
Before lockdown, breakfast may have been enjoyed on-the-go, lunch eaten alone at a desk and dinner a tedious afterthought following a long day. Now with more time at home, many can afford to be more deliberate and enthusiastic about their daily meals.
We’ve recently welcomed pieces from Japanese homewares company Kinto to Plyroom – including tea pots and mugs that encourage taking time out for a cup of tea.
Even cleaning up is less cumbersome, with Iris Hantverk dish brushes, soap dishes, dustpan sets, and other objects made by hand in their Stockholm workshop by visually impaired craftsmen.
We know that when life returns to a form of normal our tendency for a quick eat will return, but as Giana Eckhardt and Katharina Husemann write for the Conversation, ‘try to remember the feeling of making your own food, and sharing it with your household, rather than running back to eating many meals out and on the go. As you emerge from lockdown, try to maintain practices like stopping work to eat your lunch in the middle of the day, and take tea breaks, preferably with others and outdoors when you can. There is much value to be gained from having the rhythm of your daily life be one which you can savour.’
For many of us lockdown has been especially hard when confined to a small space with partners, children and pets. It can become difficult to find a moment alone let alone find personal space for stillness.
Keeping a space clutter-free (or as much as possible in a full house) is one way to maintain a consistent sense of calm. Smart storage is especially useful in this process. Our article ‘Handle the Demands of Daily Life & Cultivate a Calm Home with Minimalist Furniture Design’ offers more suggestions to guide you here.
Once a space is clean and clutter-free, simple objects like a soy wax candle, linen cushion, or a moment alone wrapped in a warm woollen blanket can work like a circuit breaker – disassociating you momentarily from the confines of home life in lockdown.
Perhaps COVID has allowed for more sleep, with less social commitments keeping you busy well into the evenings? With all this extra time in bed a few simple editions like quality linen, woollen blankets and even flowers in a hand-crafted vase or vessel can make going to bed and rising an experience in and of itself…
With no defined end in sight, fighting lockdown feels pointless. Now is the time to find ways to nurture yourself during the experience. Seek joy in small things. And let’s hope that when this does end – which it will – that we can hold on to some of the new rhythms and elements of slower life even when the busyness creeps in.
Discover our new Essentials collection here.