Our picks of the best of the internet, for every week we’re in lockdown.
Gotten re-started on your novel yet? Implemented a daily meditation/yoga practice yet? Re-envisioned your business, learned how to bake sourdough, reorganised your closets, started homeschooling your kids and become an all-round better person despite the current existential crisis yet? WELL, WHY NOT? Actually, here’s why you should probably just press discard on any attempts at self-improvement (particularly performative self-improvement) and give yourself a whole lot of space to adjust to lockdown and the post-lockdown reality like it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
If you’re working from home, although you’re undoubtedly grateful to have an income and to not be facing the anxiety of working on the front line in an essential role, it can still be tough to stay focused on work. One thing we’ve found helpful to stop the near-constant urge to check the news/social media/baby animal videos is the free Self-Control app for Mac / Cold Turkey app for Windows and Mac, which block distracting websites of your choice for up to 24 hours. Plus, here’s a list of options for mobile phone apps that do the same job.
Still, in the spirit of our first link, everyone needs a little distraction sometimes, so if you want to keep something unblocked for entertainment and illumination, try this series of videos from ArtNet. From the construction of elaborate ancient Japanese hairstyles to how to paint like Yayoi Kusama (whose Obliteration Room artwork featured at Auckland Art Gallery in 2017/18) and the late Lucien Freud working on the final artwork before his death, these bite-sized videos (mostly under five minutes) are revelatory reassurances that creativity will always endure.
If you’ve been finding inspiration in getting back into the kitchen, but frustration at not being able to pop out to the shops to grab those one or two ingredients you don’t have, chef Mark Bittman’s comprehensive list of interchangeable ingredients is a great one to print out and keep handy in the kitchen (as long as you didn’t forget to buy toner and paper before this all kicked in).
Some days we feel like this lockdown is an experience we want to remember for the rest of our lives, and some days we feel like it’s something we’d rather forget completely. But imagine if every day of your lockdown remained in your memory in crystal-clear detail forever – just like every other day you’ve ever lived. For a tiny group of people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, what they did on a Wednesday in June 15 years ago is just as clear in their minds as what they just ate for lunch. This article digs into the science behind this extraordinary phenomenon.