Survival Tools: B-M-B-F

Is anyone else getting restless at home to the point where you don’t know what to clean or organise anymore? As I wrote yesterday, spring cleaning is well underway in my life, and if today’s weather is anything to go by, I can start planning my summer garden (i.e. balcony and conservatory)! Although, experience has taught me that you never quite know which way the wind will blow next in Berlin. One day we have a glorious 22C and the next day it crashes back down to 7C in the mornings. My blueberry bushes are confused, the chrysanthemums are going on strike, and the daffodils have just about had it. Ah, but the geranium survived the winter well (indoors) and will be ready to be put out in a couple of weeks. My experiment with re-potting orchids in soil is finally beginning to show positive results, so if everything goes according to plan, I should have a nice tropical conservatory this summer.

What have the past weeks of #stayathome revealed? Well, in addition to a need to have order and cleanliness around me, I need three items to survive an extended confinement:

Books – either write them or read them, but if you can’t travel around your own city, let alone beyond the city limits, you might as well let your mind do the travelling for you. Spending the whole day in front of the computer is no excuse to ignore your literature and claim that your eyes hurt. There are still audiobooks! This is has been a wonderful opportunity to catch up on my pile of book and explore new authors.

Music – where would we be in this world without music? Whether you are a YouTube, Vimeo or Spotify fan, or like me, an Apple Music aficionado, there is no way to make it through the day without some form or genre of music. Internet Radio is a lifesaver as well, and gives me the freedom to expand my listening choices. My favourites? From Switzerland: Radio Swiss Jazz, Radio Swiss Classic; from Greece: Radio Art, from the USA: Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, and of course, in Berlin, Radio Paradiso. There are millions of radio stations out there in the world, and a preferred radio station is a personal choice, depending on mood, culture and linguistic affinity. To all those working the airwaves during these turbulent times, thank you for keeping us afloat either from your studios or from home.

Baking – a couple of buddies will definitely agree with this one. Originally I was just going to go with B for Bread, but quickly realised that I have been doing a lot of baking of late, far more than I normally do when I live along under normal circumstances. It has been a wonderful time to try out new bread recipes, finally play around with all the yeast doughs I have been wanting to try out from my Pinterest boards, and battle my way through brioche. There is nothing quite as soothing and inspiring as the aroma of freshly baked bread around the house, followed by the crisp crackle when you first slice into it.

Friends – it goes without saying that friends and loved ones online or on the phone spell the difference between stability and insanity. Much as we love our families, at this point anyone confined at home with family for the past weeks is probably ready to commit some unspeakable crime! So we turn to those who cheer us up and cheer us along either on iMessage, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or whatever form of communication you are using at the moment to keep in touch and stay sane.

Yes, of course there are a gazillion other things I could add to this list as survival tools, but let’s face it, mental health is an individual journey, and we cope in whichever way we can.

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