How I’ve Stayed Creative During Covid
Trying to stay COVID-free during the pandemic is a real challenge. Hand washing, social distancing, avoiding travel, and double-masking each day, month after month is exhausting. The mental toll for many can be steep. I have been able to stay positive and happy during COVID not only by keeping my body healthy (rest, regular exercise, (mostly) healthy eating) but also by staying stimulated creatively. I believe having creative outlets during pandemic has been as important to my wellbeing this last year as staying physically active.
My creative outlets have run the range from high to low. The low? The infinite Tik Toks I’ve made with my brother and alone in my room for my friends’ and my own amusement. Are they silly and kinda pointless? Yes, but they’re also fun and a good, creative way to take your mind off of COVID. I love scrolling through my account and seeing all of the creative memes and ideas people come up with using Tik Tok. Aside from Tik Tok dances I’ve done, I’ve concentrated a lot on a few other creative outlets.
One creative outlet is the old-fashioned tradition of keeping a journal during difficult times has been really helpful. I take a little time each day to write down how I’ve been feeling and as a record of what’s gone on during this strange and sometimes stressful time. I can see the trajectory of my week at a glance and it’s a way of slowing myself down to think about the experiences and events of each day.
Like many people, I’ve been cooking a lot more during COVID—with my parents, or my brother or on my own. Sure, we made a lot of banana bread in the beginning , but I made a lot more complicated recipes including learning how to make pasta from scratch with homemade sauce and also cooking several recipes from the NYTimes including an incredible Chicken with Vinegar and Crushed Olive Dressing. (It’s even easier than it looks and tastes incredible!) I’ve always cooked little dishes here like breakfast omelets or oatmeal. But now I can make a sophisticated 3 course dinner from scratch, by myself that looks great and tastes even better. Before the pandemic, I couldn’t do this. I like to decorate cakes creatively and to take a recipe and alter it to make it my own. I find it creative and satisfying to make new dishes and try ingredients I’ve never cooked with before.
My biggest creative outlet during COVID has been photography. I have always enjoyed taking photos, but during pandemic my eye and my perspective has changed. The world has slowed down and this has made me slow down too, and look more carefully at my surroundings. This has improved my photographs. The angles I seek, the light I find and even the subject matter has gotten more interesting and appealing during this weird time. When I go for a run, I find myself looking around more to take photos and sometimes I’ll stop and take a few snaps and keep running. It makes my run more fun and it helps me to stay connected to the city.
Surviving a pandemic is possible if you follow the protocols. But thriving during a pandemic is more challenging, and the best way to thrive at this time is to continue to engage in creative pursuits that keep you engaged and happy. Tik Tok, writing, cooking and of course, photography has been what has helped keep me engaged and happy.