I was made redundant completely out of the blue on a rainy Glasgow Friday afternoon. I can only describe it as feeling like I’d been hit by a bus! I won’t go into the full details of the circumstances at this stage, but I know that anyone who has been made redundant or lost a job will be able to relate to this on some level. Some situations are dealt with better than others… but the feeling of being dropped suddenly and needing to pay a mortgage / bills and having no idea of how you will be able to afford it is more than terrifying.
Finding myself redundant after five years of working full time in the interior design profession, I spent the following weeks trying to process the trauma of what had happened, whilst also scrambling to update CV’s. Then lockdown in the UK was enforced. Gyms, restaurants, parks and libraries were all closed. Staying home had become the new reality and my previously vibrant social life had been reduced to the confines of my home. I quickly gathered a few things up and moved in with my boyfriend. Not only was the world going crazy, and a massively scary pandemic was unfolding, but I was searching for a jobs in an economy that had been ‘put on hold’. Along with all of these things came the uncertainty and fear of the unknown.
I spent the first 2 weeks of lockdown trying to calm myself mentally. I went for walks, did yoga, meditated, played games, dived into books, called friends and tried to first and foremost take the time to look after myself in the situation I was in. My family, boyfriend Liam and my friends are the biggest support I’ve got and I’m so so lucky to have them around (despite being socially distanced!).
However, outwith my own home, where I had left most of my clothes and belongings, there were only so many leisure activities I could do and only so many CV’s I could send out (with the replies of, ‘sorry, we aren’t taking on anyone due to Covid’) before I went mad. (I’m very much a person who needs some form of purpose, or at least a project to get on with and without one I tend to go a bit loopy.)
I have been painting for a couple of years as a hobby, it was something I did on the side of my 9 -5 interior design day job and I always found it was super relaxing and therapeutic. One night I was sitting on the couch after a long lockdown day of being unproductive and boredom had well and truly set in. I moaned to Liam that I couldn’t paint, so the next day he made me and easel and I finally had my little art set up in his attic!!!!
Rediscovering my Creativity.
So, I started to paint again in lockdown, not for anyone else, but for me. Painting has for the past few years, been something that I’ve constantly found therapy in. Its not only given me purpose, but when I paint my worries and spinning thoughts pause for a bit. The focus on one central thing at that moment in time relaxes the body and quietens any physical or mental stress. I’ve heard people relate painting to meditation, and I can completely see the connection there. Even though I was overwhelmed at the world going crazy and my current situation, there is nothing more stress free to me than going up to the attic studio, lighting a candle or incense, putting on some of my favourite playlists and diving straight into a painting.
The Benefits of Painting & Creating:
So, we are pretty aware that painting can help with physical and mental stress but what else can it help with?
Lockdown has been the first opportunity I’ve really had to fully explore this side of my creativity freely and I’ve said repeatedly to family and friends its been the silver lining of CO-VID. I have formally set up my own website and business, ChristinaStudio and started posting more paintings online and really trying to market myself and my brand (very much a learning process!). More commissions have started coming in which I am so grateful for. I’ve been lucky enough during lockdown to work with some amazing clients like I.am.Nomad and Louise Bramhill Interiors in Glasgow to name a few. My paintings have been sent to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, South Carolina, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Just the thought of having them all over the world in different homes fills me with absolute joy.
One day recently I was packaging up a few pieces of art in my studio I had just sold. I had a thought about how this time is a scary one for all creatives right now, I know so many who are either redundant or are facing redundancy and are struggling to see what the future holds for them. It is inevitable that some days will be good and you’ll feel positive, and others will be bad and you’ll feel like giving up. While thinking about this and all of the other people affected during this time, I had a thought that no matter what life throws at me nothing will be able to take away my passion and drive to create paintings or interiors. This is something that I’ll always have in me, and in that I’ve found a strange sense of comfort. This applies to anybody who has their own unique way of creating and seeing the world - just because co-vid has happened doesn’t mean you've lost it - embrace what you have to offer and remember you are not alone! I thought if I lost my job that would literally be the END of me (sounds dramatic but seriously) but at this point during lockdown I’ve figured out it might only just be the beginning.
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