How to Handle Self-Isolation and Not Lose One’s Mind

My daily routine during intense writing periods is almost always the same. During the week, I wake up at 6am, start working at 7am and continue until 5-6pm, with lunch, coffee break and language lessons in between. I’m so preoccupied throughout the day that I don’t see anyone in person other than my husband and the local shop owners during the week. I usually save weekends for friends and other social activities. So, the new quarantine and lockdown rules that are becoming strictly enforced here don’t change my routine dramatically. This is not the case for many others. “How do you manage to work at home and not lose your mind?” my friends ask me.

Create Your Community

While I require solitude when I work, being part of a community is essential to me. Over the years I’ve gravitated to such communities of people. Those of you coming to Bois de Jasmin, for instance, comprise one of those communities. I enjoy the conversations I have with you, whether they’re about scents, books, embroidery or random observations on life in general.

If you feel isolated, reach out to people. Suggest to your friends to talk over Skype. Teach your grandparents to use Vyber or whatever other apps you prefer. Comment on blogs you enjoy. As long as you feel a sense of connection, you’ll adjust better to the new circumstances.

One rule I’ve made for myself over the years is never to delay replying to a friend. No matter how busy I am, I’ll send a reply.

I’m also never too busy to chat with the people who work at our local stores, markets or other services I use. They’re part of my community too.

Your Idea of Positive Reinforcement

“Is it an Eastern European thing or a Frolova family trait?” asked my husband. “Whatever one complains about, you guys respond with a personal story involving war, nuclear accidents or some other apocalypse.” Since I planned to start this post with an anecdote involving my childhood days during Chernobyl, I guess that he was onto something. Ukrainian history is heavy stuff, and history defines us.

While this isn’t always the best tactic–only so many people are comforted by the fact that things can always be worse, the sober attitude to life and sense of humor is what I need when I’m feeling down. My mom, for instance, is never at a loss for ideas and sensible advice. If you have a problem, she has a solution. In other circumstances, she would be a successful politician. Obviously, everyone is different. It didn’t take me long to figure out that when my husband complained, he only wanted a hug, not a disaster management proposal.

Just know who makes you feel better and turn to them. My grandmother’s idea of positive support is to call her best friend, complain about their respective ailments, agree that there is nothing good in the world and then spend the next hour relishing their springtime gardening plans. Crisis or not, potatoes must be planted on time.

Limit the News

And in turn, in order to support your friends and family, recharge yourself with something positive. This means limiting your news intake. I never start my day by reading the news, especially so these days. It may be strange for a journalist to say so, but I see nothing helpful in stoking up my anxiety before I’ve had my breakfast. Start your day by doing something you enjoy. Ask yourself what you really want to do and do it. Even if you have only a few minutes to read or to listen to music, do it. Of course, everyone’s situations are different, and having a small child, for instance, will affect your schedule, but it’s important to remember that time spent on oneself is essential, not optional.

Learn Something New

If you suddenly find yourself with a lot of free time, use it to learn something new. People propose meditation or simply relaxing, but if I’m worried about something, I can’t relax. On the other hand, filling my mind with interesting things helps me weather many difficult periods. Even if you can’t leave your house, there are still many opportunities to study. (I’d be betraying my Slavic roots by wanting to tell you about gulag prisoners who learned dozens of languages, wrote studies of Persian history or left strikingly beautiful correspondence while in conditions of far worse isolation than what most of us are experiencing.)

For learning languages, for instance, you can use Italki.com or mylanguageexchange.com. To learn cooking, there are numerous Youtube channels. Crafts are covered by hundreds of blogs. You can join Yale online classes in any topic you like. You can even learn the Bulgarian horo dance by following this fun tutorial. Distance learning requires creativity, but online classes are a way to build your community.

My grandmother became an organic farm club member at the age of 80 and learned gardening via magazines and her neighbors. She derives much pleasure from her pursuit and has a community of people with whom to talk about it, even in winter when she can’t leave the house.

The Importance of Pantry

I always keep a well-stocked pantry, because that’s how we do things in my family. We cook a lot and make our own pickles and preserves.  I always have a big bag of rice and different dals (peeled Indian style lentils). Dals cook within 30 minutes, and served over rice with some butter, lemon juice, and chopped onions, they make a complete, nutritionally balanced meal. Other things I always have are more idiosyncratic like feta cheese, chili peppers, several types of flour, coconut milk, nori seaweed, bitter chocolate, tea, etc. I also have a big variety of nuts and dried fruits. This way I know that even if one of us is too busy to do shopping after work, we’ll have something for a quick meal.

With everyone talking about stocking up these days, resist the urge to don’t buy excessive quantities. Don’t give in to the herd mentality. Even toilet paper degrades over time. Just make sure that you have things you like to eat and that you’ll be sure to use up.

If you focus on building a community around you, you’ll never be in want of anything.

Exercise

I go running three times a week, but if the weather doesn’t allow it, I do yoga or ballet exercises at home. Especially when you spend the whole day inside, it’s important to exercise. For me, it’s essential, or else I grow listless. I have my own routine, but Ballet Beautiful is a great program with lots of options.  If you’re a gym member, check if your service offers online classes.

Set Up a Fixed Work Schedule

When you work from home, your job can take over your life. The neat separation between work and home is gone, and it can be unsettling. Or else, you can’t manage your time and you always finish the day feeling as if you haven’t accomplished as much as you wanted to.

For this reason, I find it helpful to make a plan every day and to keep certain fixed hours. Even on mornings when I could sleep in, I force myself to get up early and keep to the routine. It means that once I’m done with my work for the day, I feel satisfied. It also means that while I work, I don’t check personal email, browse Instagram, or other social media.

Disconnecting from internet for a period of time is always a good idea.

Enjoy Small Pleasures

You’re at home. The restaurants, cafes, and the museums are closed. The world is suddenly a grim place full of unseen menace. But you’re at home, and if you’re here reading this article, I like to think that you’re mostly ok. Enjoy art, music, beautiful things and scents. All of those perfumes that other people find too strong and that your boss complained about, bring them out. An evening dress that you haven’t worn for a while, dress up.

The Japanese notion of immaterial objects having a spirit seems natural to me. Surrounding yourself with your favorite objects gives you an instant boost. I wrote about setting up a Persian New Year display, haft seen, as a way to give myself an extra lift. You may have similar rituals. If not, invent your own.

I would like to conclude this post with a poem by Wisława Szymborska.

As long as the woman from Rijksmuseum
in painted silence and concentration
day after day pours milk
from the jug to the bowl,
the World does not deserve
the end of the world.

Bois de Jasmin is your community too. If the events of these past few months teach us anything, it’s the value of relationships we build with people. Please use any comment space to share, to connect, to seek support. Over the years I’ve been moved and impressed by the generosity of people who come here, and I know that we will help each other handle this difficult period too.   

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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69 Comments

  • David: Thank you for a wonderful post. I work from home most of the time, so self-isolation is nothing new for me. I live in Brazil where being a loner and introverted is frowned upon, but lucky for me, I subscribe wholeheartedly to that famous Maya Angelo quote “What others think about me is none of my business.” (I’m probably paraphrasing).

    May I recommend a website? It’s called Open Culture (I am not in any way affiliated with it). It has MANY, MANY links to things like museum collections that are online, public domain movies and books, free online classes, lectures, tutorials. It has saved me on many occasions.

    Your IG and website always bring me peace. March 16, 2020 at 8:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for your recommendation, David. It’s a great website, and you’ve reminded me how much it contains. March 17, 2020 at 7:22am Reply

  • Alison Forbes: Thanks for this, I laughed out loud at your description of your grandmother. I have been contemplating starting my own scent blog and perhaps this will kick start it. March 16, 2020 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I followed their example and planted garlic on my patio. I found a bulb in my pantry that was already sprouting, so I decided to keep to another one of my grandmother’s rules–don’t throw away food. March 17, 2020 at 7:23am Reply

  • Karima: Thanks for this Victoria!

    As an introvert, I also have no problem being at home with my usual pleasures, but I feel bad for all everyone who more outward oriented. For them, this is a very inspiring list of things to do or appreciate if one isn’t used to being predominantly indoors and/or alone. I especially love your suggestion to spray on those heavy perfumes and luxuriate 🙂

    We have much to be grateful for! Many of us will have water, electricity and heating. And enough food, no matter what (I did not do any shopping, so will have to be very creative in the coming days). We have the internet to access books, music, and to be in touch with others.

    We probably have more than we need, so this is also a good opportunity to do some spring cleaning 🙂

    Stay healthy and safe everyone! March 16, 2020 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Of course, it’s one thing to stay at home, knowing fully well that you can always step out. It’s a different matter psychologically when one has no choice at all. Either way, one should find ways to keep one busy, entertained, and why not, pampered. I’m wearing L’Artisan’s Premier Figuier today. March 17, 2020 at 7:30am Reply

  • Catarina: Victoria, thank you so much for this post, it is quite helpful in these times. It definitely an Eastern European thing, I am Romanian and my mother had the same attitude – whenever things got tough, she reminded me of the past hardships,from wartime to the communist repression and the lack of basic goods and services during Ceausescu time, to the post 1990 inflation.. In a strange way it was always helpful, people lived through tough times before and they survived and tried to live and enjoy their lives the best they could. We can most of the times find a small part of beauty and hope in our lives, if we look hard enough. May you all be well! March 16, 2020 at 9:20am Reply

    • Gauss: Another Romanian here! I have just discovered this blog and will definitely be back. Thank you for the great post today. I was thinking earlier about how I am able to stay somewhat calm through these times: I grew up under Communism, survived the 1989 Revolution and all the changes of the 90s, moved to the US by myself in 2000 and recently went through a traumatic divorce that pushed me to rebuild my entire outlook on life. We will get through this! March 16, 2020 at 8:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also find it helpful to know that other people, especially people I know, survived difficult times and how they’ve done it. It’s inspiring and it puts my own concerns into a context. March 17, 2020 at 10:15am Reply

  • Matty1649: I’ve been retired for many years and live alone. My daughter and 4 grown up Grandaughters all live nearby. They have been phoning and txting me every day. They have been shopping for me. The young man who lives next door to me txts me every day to check I’m ok and see if I need anything.I’ve got a good support network but staying in is “doing my head in ” as I’m used to going out and about. Stay safe everyone X March 16, 2020 at 9:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so glad that you have people to help you, and of course, we’re here for you too. March 17, 2020 at 10:16am Reply

  • Hamamelis: What a lovely poem about the Melkmeisje…true beauty is timeless, and, especially when things look grim, even more of a necessity than otherwise. Like Hafez said! Buy hyacinths instead of toiletpaper and pasta. One uplifts the soul, the other weighs it down. Thank you Victoria for this heartening post. March 16, 2020 at 9:32am Reply

    • Sherry: Thank you Victoria for the timely post! This is very helpful, as I am sure a lot of you, like me, anxiety is going through the roof.

      I will follow these advice and also try to find my inner peace and tranquility in perfumes. I am wearing Tam Dao and find it very calming. May everyone find their own peace and calm somewhere somehow, stay healthy and active! March 16, 2020 at 10:23am Reply

    • Sherry: Sorry I meant to reply to the entire post. Agreeing with everyone said! March 16, 2020 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Bregje: Haha, i would love to see that! People hoarding hyacinths March 16, 2020 at 8:11pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Ha, wouldn’t that be something! And then give some of them away to the caregivers in the frontlines! March 17, 2020 at 4:49am Reply

    • Victoria: I bought 4 hyacinth pots, tulips and irises. 🙂 March 17, 2020 at 10:16am Reply

  • Ingeborg: I’m working from home, it’s mandatory since Friday in my public sector job. Taking advantage of this by wearing Ostara, which easily gets too intense for the office. Thank you for a timely post. March 16, 2020 at 9:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Ostara smells like spring! March 17, 2020 at 10:17am Reply

  • Gabriela: Thank you for this post Victoria.
    We are isolated too and spending time with my children is a blessing. Things will get better, it’s time for reflection.
    And yes, buy flowers instead of pasta, so true! Also, stay away from social media. March 16, 2020 at 10:10am Reply

  • Neva: Such a wonderful timely post, Victoria. Every word is so true. I am pretty nervous about the course of the affairs because I dislike restrictions of any kind. I also work and live alone and need social contact very much. I too have a strict schedule : work from 8 -16 o’clock and then I relax and do all the things I like but usually I do activities involving other people. This is now not guaranteed anymore.
    The part that I’m really sad of is that my daughter is abroad working on a project that should have finished by the end of March. Now I’m aware that she won’t be back so soon and I miss her a lot, especially under the given circumstances.
    I think the current situation is a huge test for the humankind and humanity and I hope we’ll come out as better persons. March 16, 2020 at 10:13am Reply

  • Ariadne: A very sage and timely post. And I think very future focused as I see everyday life generally becoming more and more ‘virtual’ and non ‘face to face’.
    I prefer solitude more and more as I age but am conscious that it is very easy to become “squirrelly” doing this. My siblings have become paranoid nut jobs, my step daughter cannot carry on a conversation, she lectures.
    I have also bought another sewing machine ( the fourth one I own but the others are far away in storage) and am creating my brains out these days. I get the most wonderful mail parcels from Etsy and I guess my sewing antics are fascinating to my husband. He’s commented upon how ‘interesting’ I am and does not seem bored during our social distancing.
    I really appreciate the diverse community and leadership cultivated here on this unique blog.
    Peace and health to everyone. March 16, 2020 at 10:31am Reply

  • Victor: I endorse David’s Open Culture website recommendation. Always something interesting there. March 16, 2020 at 10:56am Reply

  • Filomena: Thank you Victoria. Reading your post has made me feel a bit better about what is going on in the world and how my life has been and will be turned around once again. But I have gotten through things worse than this, and hopefully I will get through this as well. The isolation is the worst part since I do not have a partner. Hopefully this will end sooner than later they think it will. March 16, 2020 at 10:59am Reply

  • Tara C: Being a naturally introverted hermit, I am not too bothered. And I certainly relate to the slavic mentality I read quoted in a book described as « Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow will be worse. » Things can always be worse, and as we get older and our health declines, it usually does, so now is the time to enjoy the moment: wear loud perfumes, watch movies, pet the dog/cat, eat chocolate, read books, go for a walk. No one knows the moment of their death. March 16, 2020 at 11:05am Reply

  • Brenda: Your lovely words this morning are perfectly timed, as always. Your thoughts and suggestions are calming ~ and will help us all weather the storm. When my children were young, I tried to teach them to enjoy their own company and not expect to be entertained. I said if you have a book, you have a friend. They are all in degrees of self isolating in various cities & I hope that that training is making it easier for them to cope. I live alone and am finding ways to – not just fill my days – but enjoy them until the isolation is lifted. Routine is everything…& helps people to feel normal and in control. I have never put my television on until dinner time news and have no plans start now. I do listen to radio/ music throughout the day…keeping anxiety levels manageable. I’m retired, so my ‘working at home’ takes a different form. Deep cleaning a room one day, cooking ahead the next, packing up winter clothes – are all productive ways to stay calm. A freshly cleaned room with a spritz of fragrance atop the bed is, for me, reassuring that the sky probably won’t fall. I send my heartfelt wishes to friends and strangers alike that we will come through this crisis unscathed.
    And, as always, thank you Victoria for reminding us to embrace the simple things in life. March 16, 2020 at 11:24am Reply

  • Elaine: Thank you for a beautiful, thoughtful post. Stay well, Victoria! March 16, 2020 at 12:31pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I thought I‘d test all those outrageous, old-fashioned, overposering or over-the-top perfumes when at home! March 16, 2020 at 12:42pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: I meant overpowering, but over-posing might do ascwell! March 16, 2020 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Amy McLaughlin: Thank you so much for this lovely and very helpful post. I have been disabled for most of my adult life, and have spent years largely sequestered at home. There is a lonely restlessness that can descend and be very hard to deal with. I have developed ways of coping but I very much appreciate your suggestions. I treated myself to an Audible subscription and it can be wonderful to have someone read to me. I was also interested to hear about your routine, it helps me be more focused myself to know that others are out there, somewhere, working hard in solitude. Stay well, Victoria. March 16, 2020 at 1:45pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: I’ve just bought a bunch of tulips… and watch the birds building their nests in trees in my garden. Beauty is the best remedy in gloomy times after all…
    I’m surrounded by books and magazines on art, design and architecture. And I spend a lot of time cooking and baking, experimenting with new recipes, most of them comfort food…
    Oh yes, I can very much relate to the slavic mentality! Growing up in Poland I’m familiar with one of the key notions of the Polish way of life – “Jakos to bedzie” – things will work out well in the end… and there can always be worse… March 16, 2020 at 1:54pm Reply

    • Hamamelis: Hi Rainboweyes nice to see you! March 16, 2020 at 3:28pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: Hi Hamamelis
        I’ve lost your email address after a computer breakdown, have you still got mine? Otherwise we have to ask Victoria to help 🙂 March 16, 2020 at 4:38pm Reply

        • Hamamelis: I mailed you this morning, with the mail address I have from our previous mails. If you haven’t received it we can ask Victoria. March 17, 2020 at 11:35am Reply

  • Jeanne: Thanks for the wonderful post!
    We are both working from home now, and take breaks to go out for walks with our dogs, and working in the garden. It really helps to get some fresh air!
    Best wishes to everyone. March 16, 2020 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Marsha: Hey Victoria! Another lovely post! Question: what is the beverage shown in photo 2? Thanks! March 16, 2020 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Aurora: How wonderful of you to put this post together. I know what you mean about limiting the news. I plan to go to the lake near my home and observe the birds, every day if I can. Hoping very much that all your readers and yourself will remain in good health and as I write a neighbour contacted me to offer help with anything, so, yes, community spirit comes to the fore in these troubled times. March 16, 2020 at 4:44pm Reply

  • Aida: Lovely Victoria, thank you for this awesome post. My Teacher says when the mind is too active, exercise is the only thing that can calm it down. And even though at moments I may feel super lazy mentally & out of sync, exercise is my savior. Also doing an activity at home, such as spring cleaning for a few hours & then meditating in silence for about 15 minutes before my next activity, maybe writing in my journal, etc. It helps me not to check out mentally & just sit there unconscious.
    Everything is temporary.
    Love & hugs to all 😀☀️ March 16, 2020 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Gunilla gorman: Wonderful and thoughtful post from you as always. As long as we are healthy, there isn’t much to complain about though my heart goes out to all the people who suddenly find themselves without a job. Hopefully, this will be over soon and even if the world will be slightly different we will be back to normal. March 16, 2020 at 4:56pm Reply

  • Karen A: Wonderful post and comments. Thank you Victoria and BdJ community! March 16, 2020 at 5:07pm Reply

  • Jennifer Shaw: Thank you for a wonderful post! Your blog constantly cheers me up, since I suffer from depression. I appreciate the links to learning languages, as well as enjoying the comments from the BdJ community! March 16, 2020 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Sandra: Thanks V!
    With my two little ones out of school until further notice, my days are much less structured as you mentioned above.

    When I do have a free moment, I think a nice cup of tea, learning a few Italian verbs, and a good book will keep me balanced.

    Stay healthy! March 16, 2020 at 5:20pm Reply

  • Bregje: Great post!
    Interesting to read so many comments of fellow-semi hermits :). I too have no problem working or being at home by myself. I am easily distracted so i’m definitely going to try out some of your tips and try to separate work and home/me time.
    On being too anxious to relax i would recommend exercizing first. Dance, jump, run and than it will be much easier to meditate.
    Totally agree with you on the start of the day. I try to give myself an hour before reading mails, watching the news etc. That way i make sure my energy is calm and centered before going into the world.i truly believe that’s better for everyone i meet( and myself)
    I actually told my family yesterday that i turned of the tv because all the news was making me nervous. And at first they got irritated and felt that i wasn’t taking things seriously but today they got back to me and told me maybe i had a point;). So i loved reading that you limit your news intake too. March 16, 2020 at 8:40pm Reply

  • Denise: This was so what I needed to read today. It led me to the garden, and now the bedroom smells like springtime, not anxiety. March 16, 2020 at 9:51pm Reply

  • Fazal: I think I get your husband’s complain. I am quite sensitive yet at the same time also stoic to some extent. Hence It used to really irk me when I would hear people complaining about things that would seem like such small issues compared to some of the real struggles people go through in this world. But I realized over time that it is relative; people grow up under different circumstances and it is not realistic to expect those of privilege to really understand what counts as real struggle in the eye of an average person. If I had experienced nothing but a life of luxury, it is fair to say I would be pretty blind to the struggles that existed outside my bubble of privilege.

    It does help that my life circumstances were unique in Pakistan. At best, my family would have qualified as upper middle class but I was able to closely observe the lifestyles of both the richest and the poorest families back home. And life has not been exactly a smooth sail since then but I guess there is still some educational value in personally experiencing a diverse range of life circumstances. March 17, 2020 at 12:47am Reply

  • Tati: A friend shared a livecam of the Trevi fountain in Rome. The street around it is empty, the scene still except for the movement of the water, but I keep returning to it, checking in to see the change of light, looking at the sculptures that look bare without crowds of admirers. The world suddenly seems small and fragile, but even more beautiful because of that. March 17, 2020 at 2:59am Reply

  • Notturno7: Dear Victoria, lovely post and a great timing! You got me laughing out loud with that ‘It must be an Eastern European thing…….’!!! I do it a lot and yes, I’m from Eastern Europe.
    In this time of turmoil and difficulty I think of my amazing grandparents who lived through wars and were so loving and caring with me.
    They stayed sane and strong and lived full and peaceful lives afterward surrounded by friends and family. It gives me hope to think of them and so many others and it fills me with gratitude.

    We have to be careful and kind to ourselves and others as this reminds us we’re all so connected.
    Few drops of vintage Miss Dior did wonders for my mood today.
    Thank you. Best wishes to all 💕 March 17, 2020 at 6:09am Reply

  • Karen-Anne: I have never posted a comment Victoria before but thank you today for your post . I get such enjoyment reading your beautiful thought provoking musings. March 17, 2020 at 8:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your comment, Karen-Anne! Please stay safe and healthy. March 17, 2020 at 10:12am Reply

  • mononoke: Thank you so much for this. It’s been a long time since I replayed something, and that even is not a lot cause I wasn’t very talkative here. But today, the 3rd day here in Spain, I felt the need to reach to boisdejasmin where I know I could find comfort and the joy that “las cosas bonitas” bring. My best wishes to all of you. March 17, 2020 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Big hugs to you! We’re all in it together. Feel free to reach out anytime. We’re here for you. March 19, 2020 at 12:00pm Reply

      • mononoke: Thank you so much! March 22, 2020 at 11:11am Reply

  • Ariane: My dear Victoria, I flew back to New York from Paris yesterday and must try now to orient myself in this strange new world of self-isolation. Reading your blog this morning was inspiring! Solitude can be an opportunity to read, study and reflect. And knowing that people have survived in other difficult times gives us all hope. Thank you! March 17, 2020 at 12:26pm Reply

  • Toni: What a creative collection of ideas!
    I love solitude, so this is not as difficult for me. This is the perfect time for baking. Since today is St. Patrick’s day and I always fix a green meal, I will be making a Carrot Cake with Green frosting! And your suggestion about perfumes is delightful.
    Of course, books are invaluable.
    You mentioned your experience during Chernobyl in youth. I just finished reading
    Midnight in Chernobyl, which I could hardly put down. It would be very interesting to hear your recollections. March 17, 2020 at 3:51pm Reply

  • She-ra: Perhaps your most touching post yet, Victoria.

    I try to remember… we are always more resilient and remarkable than we sometimes feel. March 17, 2020 at 11:40pm Reply

  • kayliz: Thank you for this lovely post.

    I‘m staying in the UK with my elderly mother, who is starting treatment for advanced cancer today, so the state of exception the world is in is mirrored and amplified in our little household here. I‘m concerned for Mum, who could hardly be more vulnerable, but the situation in the world has made things easier in some respects: everyone understands the need not to visit in person, and I am able to work remotely from a different country as a matter of course.

    Stay safe, all. March 18, 2020 at 4:42am Reply

    • Bregje: All the best wishes, strenght and love to you and your mom. March 18, 2020 at 6:23pm Reply

  • Monika: My problem isn’t about isolation but about never being alone now, 24/7… But it’ll be ok.
    🙂
    Thank you, Victoria, and the rest of you. 🙂 March 18, 2020 at 7:16am Reply

    • Figuier: Me too. I’m used to working from home but not to having the whole family with me round the clock. Amazing how much more housework and cooking is required…Stay safe all – & I’ll look forward to some of those activities once the crisis is over 🙂 March 19, 2020 at 11:04am Reply

  • Alexandra Fraser: Thank you for this thoughtful and constructive post. It is encouraging me to be better organised about my own writing And complete my next collection. But our whole country is now ‘self isolated’ No planes except with supplies no tourists no visitors. It is hard to think of my son not being able to just get on a plane and come for a visit – similarly with other dear friends and relatives – and no idea how long before I see him again. But the closure is a necessary step. Thanks again for your post – definitely one of the more helpful posts I have read March 20, 2020 at 5:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know exactly what you mean. I have only my husband here, no other family, so yes, it’s a very difficult situation for me. Many hugs to you! March 21, 2020 at 6:38am Reply

      • Alexandra Fraser: Thank you – and to you
        (And thank goodness for our electronic communications. Thinking how awful the Spanish flu and not knowing whether one’s distant important people were safe or even alive) March 21, 2020 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Emma: Literally, the most intelligent and practical response to these solitary, self~herded times I have read. I am proud that the source of such aesthetical wisdom comes from a very well respected fragrance journalist. Well written, Ms. Victoria. Now truly is the time to feel safe in retreating; and to enjoy and appreciate our scented caves, and all the quiet, background riches we really do have in our domains. March 20, 2020 at 6:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for your comment. Reading it–as reading this whole comment thread–was so uplifting. March 21, 2020 at 6:25am Reply

  • Karen Boorsma: Hi all! Hope this message finds you well. Thank you Victoria for a calm, sensible, emotionally intelligent and positive post. It’s rare to come across much positivity as of late. We create our own reality and what we feed, with our energy, only grows.
    Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want and gratitude for all we have.
    A group of us are getting dressed up and having virtual drinks tomorrow eve. Lipstick and perfume on!

    Lots of love from London xx March 26, 2020 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Karen!
      Getting dressing up and having drinks over Skype is such a fun idea! March 28, 2020 at 3:14am Reply

  • Karen Boorsma: P.S all the UK residents, don’t forget our clap for the NHS at 8pm tonight! Angels who work among us. Xx March 26, 2020 at 3:48pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: By the way: I just wanted to comment that I really marvel at the flower arrangement on the photo at the top: the cheery vase with red poppies (it has a Russian flavour to it) and the white flowers (chestnut flowers?). On that orange wax tablecloth with the pink wall behind: it could be in an Ukrainian cottage or a Parisian appartement—it is just absolutely perfect! April 5, 2020 at 3:34am Reply

    • Victoria: That vase is a classical Ukrainian Petrykivka design. Petrykivka is not far from Poltava, so its wares are popular. As for the tablecloth, it’s some sort of fabric, but I don’t remember what exactly it was. I like pairing bold colors together, especially orange, so I was happy to read your comment. Thank you for your nice words. 🙂 April 5, 2020 at 7:00am Reply

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