• Expert By Experience

Isolation Series: A brown girls guide to isolation during lockdown

Written by Billi

The current climate is affecting everyone in a different way but for South Asian women who live with their parents and/or family, it can be as daunting a prospect as it is rewarding.

For me, the freedom of the pre-covid working day meant stepping out into a social, integrated world where I could be my individual self to the fullest.

Luckily, my family is very understanding but I know that many families are not as accommodating so I have devised some rules to help brown girls` withstand isolation:

1. Create Boundaries: This is a vital step. It manifests in two forms:

  • Working from home; This is for girls and parents alike. Parents - This is not a holiday, your child is not free, they are working, earning a living, under challenging circumstances. Their environment has changed but the expectation and the stresses that come with these expectations have not, so please try and help the situation. Getting ‘quality time’ in with your daughter during their 9–5 will only disrupt their routines and add to their stress. Girls-we must stay firm on this point as it will dictate our mood and behaviour going forward in this uncertain period.

  • The rest of the time; We are living through an unprecedented event whereby we have an abundant amount of time on our hands so spend it wisely. I am not saying a bit of Netflix and family time isn’t warranted but also try and take some time for yourself. Indulge in hobbies such as reading, writing, cooking, anything that makes you feel grounded and relaxed.

2. Take social distancing seriously:

This virus is serious and very real. The government’s advice to keep apart from one another (unless you live together) includes your uncles, aunties, cousins, yes even those who come to your door unexpectedly, uninvited. It’s the opposite of the norm for any brown girl but so is having a rapid mutating deadly virus on the loose.

3. Establish an uncomplicated routine:

A routine will best help establish a sense of control. I find that a simple, minimalist routine works best for me and mine differ depending on whether it is a weekday or a weekend:

  • My weekday routine consists of natural makeup, freshly prepared meals that I enjoy and regular tea, exercise and prayer breaks to keep me balanced in physical and mental health.

  • My weekend routine still incorporates regular exercise and prayer but I like to indulge myself and eat slightly richer, full-bodied meals and binge-watch Netflix.

4. Embrace homemade food — the desi way:

Continuing from the last rule, this is the perfect time to enjoy mum`s home cooked, hearty meals. It’s safer as it’s all made in a contained environment. Using ingredients bought and cooked in bulk can also be cost-effective. Looking after your money is key to looking after yourself.

Above all, my aim with this piece is to remind you that it`s okay to not feel okay and you are not alone in your feelings. I hope this customisable blueprint brings some normality back into your lives. Stay safe.