At Verdant Alchemy, we have a small core team that have always worked remotely and globally. So, from a work level, the lockdown hasn’t changed the way we work, but it has profoundly changed the way we live our lives. I asked my team last week to jot down their lockdown diaries, journaling how they are transitioning and how they are getting through it- the highs and lows and their outlook going forward.
Vivien – Founder & CEO
The UK officially locked down on the 23rd March, and honestly, it feels like a lot longer than it has been. I found it pretty tough at the beginning of the pandemic. In addition to Verdant Alchemy, I own a physical business space; a small wellness and yoga studio in South London. Shutting that down before the official lockdown was the hardest and most stressful thing I have ever experienced – but putting the health of my team and the community first was a no brainer. I am thankful for the British government furlough scheme, so my team can stay safe and paid during this period.
For Verdant Alchemy, it has been a smoother transition; I am grateful that it is a business that allows me and my team to work from home, I know first hand how impossible that is for many other businesses. We are adapting the best we can, but the retail market categorically changed overnight and any type of business plan I had for 2020 literally went out the window. I am focused on the positives and things I can actually have an impact on, and that is supporting our retailers and customers during this time with our products and also working extra hard to provide wellness and bathing content.
I have to admit there have been times in the last few weeks where I have felt a bit lost, but seeing how hard essential key workers are working to keep our country running helps put things into perspective. As a small business owner, I kept wondering what we could do to help those working on the front line and last week I created an initiative to gift self-care packages of bath salts to NHS workers- giving them a bit of calm after their shift. I have been blown away by the response; I received hundreds and hundreds of nominations with incredible stories and comments. Packing and sending out the packages has definitely given me a bit of purpose during the pandemic.
Getting a routine and structure in my day has helped me adapt to the lockdown. Waking up early, doing home workouts before working helps kickstart my day. I have taken more pleasure in things I used to rush, such as showers and cooking. I am turning those typically boring routines into long slow rituals. I also spend more time practising deep breathing (very very hard) and meditation (even harder) and of course, having baths. I feel very grateful I can still have my nightly baths, and each evening I tweak the experience slightly. Different bath salts have different soundtracks, different candles, different atmosphere. The variation gives it life, and it’s incredible. One positive outcome has been my evening routine, we are eating more wholesome dinners, and a lot earlier as my husband no longer needs to commute one hour home every night. Meaning, we are sleeping earlier and easier (solid 8 hours) and waking up more refreshed.
What I have learnt during this moment in history is that we should only use our precious energy on what we can control, and that is staying indoors, keeping in touch with loved ones and staying positive. I hope when the pandemic is over, we remember the slower moments and habits we are learning and generally take better care of ourselves.
Clorinda – Commercial and Sales Director
Here in Milan, we are close to finishing our 9th week since schools shut, and the first social distancing measures came into play. It took a couple of weeks to adapt to our new lives and get a routine that worked for both my husband and I.
Fortunately, I’m used to juggling and long days. Those that know me well also know I’m always up for a challenge and am quick to adapt. The days fly by filled with running my own business, an (almost) 5-year-old and full-time house duties.
I’ve always worked in beauty and fragrance, so I am fortunate that my home is filled with beautifully scented products. I burn candles, diffuse essential oils, select a different perfume each day and really look to fill the home with scent.
Verdant Alchemy bathing has increased to every two days even if only for 15 – 20mins. My AMLY beauty ritual morning and night are also filled with scent.
It’s been amazing how quickly my family has adapted to the new life. We are enjoying spending time all together, playing with our son, discovering board games, being more imaginative and creative, cooking, creating obstacle courses and circuit training in the house.
It’s a time to really evaluate what is important and be grateful for what we have.
For others in similar situations to me, it's super important to take that time for yourself, to pamper yourself, stop and breathe.
My most frequent go tos lately:
Bathing: Verdant Alchemy – all but in particular Ascent Bath Salts and Breathe In Oil
Skin: Amly – all but in particular: Radiance Boost Mist, Deep Reveal Cleansing Balm & Mask
Perfume: Timothy Han The Decay of The Angel, Thameen Royal Sapphire,
Diffusing Oil: Do Terra
Candle: Fornasetti Flora
Drink: cold water or Prosecco
The degrees of social distancing and regulations have changed roughly every two weeks which have quadrupled as we are all home together; however, the time out to unwind even if just for 15mins has become essential.
Christina - PR Director
I work in PR, mostly from home in London, so my current set-up is pretty similar to what I normally do. However, I now have to share my small work space with my boyfriend, who has to work from home while we’re in lockdown. This has definitely been an adjustment as well as an eye-opener into what exactly he does! We’re trying to see the positives of being able to spend so much time together, and at least we’re not alone during this difficult time. We have set specific times for working, have a lunch break and then make dinner together so that we keep to a routine.
I’m grateful more than ever for my dog. She brings much pleasure and entertainment and also means I have to have a break and get outside to walk her. She is LOVING having us around all the time, and it’s wonderful to have cuddles when things seem a bit too stressful.
To also help myself through this time, I’m doing more yoga, home workouts, as well as trying to get back into meditation - I certainly have the time to do it! Most evenings I am having a bath with the Verdant Alchemy salts, whether I’m sore from the extra exercise or need something to help me sleep, I love to relax in the tub while listening to an upbeat Podcast.
One difficult thing is not seeing my parents. It was the first Mother’s Day I haven’t seen my Mum, but for everyone’s health, it was best to stay away. Now we are on lockdown, who knows when we will next see our families. Technology helps here so much by Facetiming with my parents. WhatsApp and phone calls are OK, but it makes such a difference actually to see them, so I try to do this a few times a week, even for just 5 minutes. It seems to put us all in better spirits!
There is no doubt that this is a weird time, and most of us are trying to get through it the best we can. Supporting each other virtually is essential as well as doing whatever makes you feel happy. I’m really trying to focus on the positive stories which show humanity in the best light, and no doubt when we’re through the other side we will never take our freedom for granted!
Irene - Marketing Intern
San Francisco, US
Monday, March 16 2020. San Francisco officially announced a shelter in place order to be put into place at midnight on Tuesday. I’m frightened, and in disbelief, because I’ve never lived through anything like this before, I’ve only read about it in history books. At the same time, I believe this lockdown is extremely necessary, and I hope people take it seriously so we can slow the spread of the virus. Although the pandemic is terrifying, I’m strangely excited to use this time of peace and quiet to get back in touch with my mind, my body, and myself in general. Let’s see where this takes me…
Friday, April 3 2020. It’s been almost 3 weeks since the lockdown. I’m surprised to say that I feel calm and grounded. Through my time in self-isolation, I’ve learned that now is not the time to compromise on the basics! I’ve been catering to my basic self-care needs — sleep, nutrition, movement, and peace of mind. Without the distractions of the outside world, I’ve honed in on my self-discipline and am actually sticking to my habits for once! Who would’ve thought it would take not being able to leave the house for me to sit with myself finally.
Here are some of the things I’ve been able to practice daily since being on lockdown:
- Gratitude practice
- Take my vitamins
- Eat all meals at home
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Learn something new everyday (I’ve been learning more about design, Chinese, and investing)
- Trying new recipes
I noticed that I miss all the things I used to dread. I miss going to the gym, and I miss grocery shopping. I even miss running errands! Surprisingly, I’ve been more consistent with my workouts now than ever before. I’ve been making the most of my yoga mat and YouTube videos to workout from home.
I’m grateful for the time and space that this pandemic has given me to get back in touch with myself. I do hope that the spread of the virus slows down and the world can recover soon. When it does, I hope we can walk away with one lesson… It’s necessary to slow down and look within.
I hope that moving on, we remember to take care of ourselves, our health, and our wellbeing.