Stay at home orders, physical distancing from family and friends, no shopping malls, no gatherings– these rules are easy to follow if you’ve lived on an isolated island where food and supplies arrive by helicopter monthly.

I am a jewellery stylist / designer in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and from age 4-9 I lived with my family on a series of lighthouse islands. I like to think my design career was sparked by this unique lifestyle. This experience taught me how to create with very little, rely on my imagination, and be comfortable with solitude–something that has come in handy over the last few months!

Here are 3 tips to surviving lockdown from someone who’s lived it:

  • TIP #1 STAY ACTIVE: Don’t use a closed gym as an excuse. Clear your front room and do interval training or take the stairs to pick-up your take out order. Now more than ever you need to focus on your health so you can jump back into regular life with enthusiasm when things reopen!

Island Case Study: I used to watch my Mum run laps around the helicopter landing pad (on unscheduled landing days). There was no health club, gym, or park. For my two older brothers and I our exercise was running in the woods, forging through new and undiscovered territory, climbing trees, and chasing sea lions back into the ocean.

  • TIP #2 GET SKILLED: What do you want to boast to your friends about when you can get together again? That you’re well on your way to learning a new language? That you’ve started a book? That you launched your website? Use this opportunity, even if it’s just an extra 30 minutes you would normally spend commuting, to skill up. You don’t want to look back on this time and wish you had started something. 30 minutes a day can add up to a big dream.

Island Case Study: As well as being homeschooled, I participated in Girl Guides via correspondence. I have a memory of Mum and I making a fire on the beach, one of many “team-building” activities I participated in with just the two of us. I would complete the required homework, we would send it in, and wait several weeks in anticipation for a badge to arrive.

  • TIP #3 CREATE: I mentioned earlier that my design career started in isolation. We are all creative. It can be with colour and shape, with numbers, sales, problem solving, coding, cooking, etc. We are born creative, and when given the space, incredible things are made that only YOU can make. Creativity gives us hope. Make sure you do something for your mind that taps into your unique skills.

Island Case Study: I wanted to be a fashion designer. So I designed fashion. Jewellery made of flowers and vines, big floppy fern hats, and my signature design: shoes with egg carton heels. Designing with very little pushes us to think outside the box and discover our unique creative abilities. Don’t underestimate your ability to make art, and don’t rely on stores being open or Amazon delivering. You’d be surprised with how much your imagination can “fill in the blanks” if you let it.