By Alexdanra O’Brien

I’m generally pretty calm in a crisis. From bushfires to squabbles with my four sisters, I have experienced various calamities over the years – but I’ve managed to keep things in check.

Yet somehow, the COVID-10 pandemic feels scarier than most things, and has left me quite anxious and flat.

Perhaps it’s because of all the unknowns – when will we be able to leave our homes again; when will I be able to hug my parents or new baby nephew, Ted, without the fear of being asymptomatic and passing on the coronavirus; what will this disaster do to the economy?

It’s safe to say, there are many people around the world right now confined to their homes and on edge – but it is possible to find calm.

When I went to the supermarket this morning (albeit, after lining up to get in), there was a lady giving away free plants. I went home with a beautiful orchid in a lovely pot.

The shop was giving them away for fear they’ll die due to low foot traffic amid the health pandemic. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that it was also a ploy to simply cheer people up.

Having this beautiful orchid at home has definitely reminded me of the kindness in people. Source: Supplied

When I got home and popped my new plant on my kitchen-bench-cum-WFH-office, I decided to take a deep breath and look for the little, simple, everyday things in my home that bring joy.

Because funnily enough, one of the unexpected things to come out of times like these, is being reminded that it’s important to be grateful and not take things, like shaking hands or walking to the shops, for granted.

So if you need something positive to focus on as you bunker down at home, here are a few things that are helping me to rediscover the joy – and calm – within my own home.

1. The pleasure of cooking favourite recipes and not having to rush

Given we can’t pop out to our favourite restaurants right now, I’ve rediscovered some of my favourite recipes.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised how therapeutic it is not to have to rush when making meals, too.

Now is the time to slow down and enjoy putting a meal on the table. Source: Erinna Giblin

2. Having time to organise and declutter

From arranging my “WFH office” to organising my beauty cupboard, the time spent organising my house and paying it some TLC, has made me appreciate just how important a home is.

Take care of it, and in times like these, it will act as the perfect port in a storm.

Clearing out clutter somehow makes the world feel lighter, which will go a long way right now.

Declutter to make your home and yourself feel lighter. Source: Supplied

I hope this time at home will also do the same for humanity – create space for a fresh perspective of the world so that when we come out the other side, everyone is more kind, humble and in touch with happiness and purpose.

3. Spending time on “hobbies” I NEVER get the chance to enjoy

In high school, I loved art class. And despite saying I would do it more over the years, it just hasn’t happened as I’m too tired after work, or there is somewhere more important to be on the weekend.

Each time I paint, however, my mind completely escapes to some place else. I feel totally relaxed, even energised, afterwards.

Since self-isolating, I’ve already whipped something up for the husband’s 40th birthday,  and have two more canvases at the ready and some great ideas for pieces I’d like to paint to hang in our home.

4. The chance to come up with fun date-night ideas

My husband and I love going out for date nights – dinners, gigs, plays, you name it and we’ll book it.

So, while it has been an adjustment, I am relishing this opportunity to have a laugh together and come up with weird and wonderful ideas for dates at home.

While stressful times like these were made for Netflix and Stan binges (which we have done a lot), we’ve also had a cooking date in the kitchen, have bought gym supplies to have “exercise” dates in the garden, and have earmarked the YouTube streaming of The National Theatre plays commencing 2 April.

5. Finally crossing off all items on the home to-do list

While I am still pretty busy WFH, my partner’s project is on hold so he’s had oodles of time to get our never-ending home to-do list down to nil.

The drawer that needed a little tinkering with? Done. The garage door that needed some maintenance? Done. You name it, he’s done it.

Next up, we’re thinking of painting the living room a new colour and taking on the task of rearranging the “scary” kitchen cupboards.

I think we’re ready to tackle the kitchen cupboards next… Source: Supplied

When this crisis is over, we will (hopefully) have located all of our serving-ware, so we can invite over our nearest and dearest and cook them some of the recipes we’ve had the time to perfect.

Originally published as 5 ways my home has calmed me down during coronavirus