I haven’t written a blog post in a while, but I’m excited to share what I’ve been up to in the last (almost!) 6 months. The year 2020 took us all by a surprise, don’t you agree? We thought we had it all figured out until a global pandemic put a halt to our lives as we knew it.
There were so many questions, so many unknowns, and not many reassurances we could lean on.
In mid-March our family made a decision to start “social distancing” not so much out of fear of the corona virus, but as a measure to protect the most vulnerable ones among us, and to do our part in “flattening the curve”. Though the first weeks of the pandemic were filled with anxiety and confusion about doing the “right”, reasonable thing under the new “stay-at-home order”, I felt we all had an important role to play in a collective effort to slow down the spread of the virus. My husband’s job was to treat patients at the hospital and mine was to be a supportive, loving mother and wife during these unprecedented times.
As I leaf through my journal entries from those early days of the pandemic and the growing racial justice unrest, I see a word pattern. Trying to make sense of the new situation, I found myself writing the following words:
Pause, learn, and pivot. Slow down, listen, adjust. Keep going. One day at a time.
From a business perspective, it has been hard to plan for the months to come. However, for a small, self-funded fashion start-up like mine, it didn’t really matter. Not when so many others were suffering all around us — economically, physically, emotionally.
Instead, I counted my blessings, not sales.
I took this time to build a strong brand image, tease out a clearer brand message, plan out content and stay connected with the amazing mom community we’ve built over the last year. Finding ways to stay creative kept me (somewhat) relaxed, grounded, and happier. In collaboration with our Chicago and LA partners, I’ve designed two new dress styles and experimented with new fabrics and colors.
Slow fashion can be really slow, especially during a pandemic, but I can’t wait to share (soon!) what we’ve been up to.
Personally, if the last 6 months thought me a lesson, it was to lower my expectations, let go of my ego, and focus on my family. With Jose spending even longer hours at the hospital, I knew I would be the one bearing the brunt of parenting and household responsibilities. And if that wasn’t enough, we were also planning a move to Los Angeles.
I love my boys more than anything on this planet, but a tired, overwhelmed, and lonely Magda is not fun to be around.
My kids needed me to be their calm in the midst of a storm. I needed to find ways to keep my anxiety at bay and support my family as we all learned to navigate this new reality.
While my first and foremost job is always to be a loving and encouraging mom, I knew I had to take care of myself before I could take care of everything and everyone else in my life.
Here are five simple things I implemented at home to help with positive attitude and creative energy:
SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK
I went on a social media hiatus. I still ran my business accounts, but took a month long break from posting on my personal account. I wanted to focus 100% of my energy on my kids’ wellbeing without worrying about my house being tidy enough for pictures. The carefully curated, filtered world of social media seemed highly irrelevant in the times of a pandemic. I didn’t have much to contribute and a whole lot to learn, so I stepped back.
I adjusted my evening routine. Starting with a few “early” nights a week, I now try to get to bed by 11pm every night. I love not only how rested I feel the next morning, but also how much more patience I have for my kids. Every night is a battle though — I can never decide if I need more sleep or more alone time.
DECREASED ALCOHOL USE
I swapped my evening glass of wine for kombucha and a living room workout. I know, I know. I never thought I would be THAT mom, but I love it. I’ve started sleeping better and wake up more rested in the mornings.
I started meditating daily. I’ve committed to writing down three things I’m grateful for every day. This simple practice taught me to start every day with a grateful heart and a smile. It's easy to focus on everything that went wrong this year, but, honestly, there's always something we can be grateful for if we shift our attitude.
Adding creative and productive activities to my day helped me get my mind off these troubling times. Some of my favorite ways to stay creative while working at home include: learning a new skill or improving an old one (for us it was speaking more Polish at home), painting and drawing (often with my kids), reading (my usual favorites, but also classics and authors I don’t typically reach for), listening to podcasts, trying out new workouts and exploring new places (often with my kids). Even on days when I felt I had nothing else to give, the act of creating has been a sanity-saver.
One day in June — in the midst of my worrying about our family’s mental well-being, making a cross-country move, and running a business — I paused and I realized how lucky we have been. We are doing okay. We are safe and healthy, and we are together.
I wanted to share that with you because I know that so many of you are also having to pivot things in your business, as well as in personal lives. What you might have had planned for 2020 is no longer an option. Maybe you had lost a loved one, lost income, maybe you had to make some adjustments in how you do things in your business as a result of Covid-19.
I just want you to know, mama... it is what it is, for all of us. We’re affected too. We're in this together. However, let’s make the most out of this time that we’re in. Let’s focus on what’s now possible, rather than what we’re missing out on.
It’s okay not to have all the answers right now. Keep going.