Getting back into the flow when not much is flowing

Having gotten through the busiest part of the year in my role at Western Sydney University then immediately being forced to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel it has taken me longer than usual to get comfortable without having full-time work.

For a start, I might have taken the past couple of weeks to travel and to participate in the Rowany Festival had these not been closed off by COVID-19. I did what I could to indulge a holiday mood over the Easter weekend by allowing a little more time to read books and watch movies, visiting a few on-line art galleries, and going for the longest walk that I felt would be acceptable under the circumstances, but this still left me with a lot of time in front of my computer when I might otherwise have been in nature or with friends. I’ve also had to find something to do with Sundays, which I’d otherwise spend hiking, working with Bushcare, or joining SCA activities.

I do seem to have scraped together enough to keep me from feeling bored, albeit without finding much to be really enthusiastic about, either. I’ve been wrestling with stories and research that don’t seem to be going to plan; I’ve made some changes to my web site that had been put off for a while because they’re not very important; and my baking of bread and sweets is running somewhat ahead of my ability to eat them.

I suspect that I’m missing some creative stimulus that I would ordinarily get from being out in the world. Under normal circumstances I might have taken my holiday, allowed myself some time to think, and come back with some ideas for new projects. Many minor ideas and solutions to problems come to me while I’m walking. But sitting on my balcony with a beer does not seem to have had the same effect and doing exercises in the house only makes me marvel at how boring going to a gym must be.

Reading back over the first blog entry that I made in response to being sent home due to COVID-19, I also realise that I’m yet to firmly establish some of the routines that I knew I ought have done. Being at home all of the time has probably given rise to expectations that I always be doing the sorts of things that I do when I’m at home, instead of allocating time to the things I used to do while outside (such as letting my mind wander).

I have recently taken delivery of a book on Indonesian that I hope will keep me learning while my face-to-face course has been postponed, and I’ve put my hand up to join StayHomeWriMo with the South Coast Writers Centre, which may go some way towards replacing my former write-on-the-train regime. Without having to travel during the day, I should also have time to cook up some more complex and/or varied meals than I usually do. But perhaps most of all I need to make sure that I set aside some time to think.

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