Vaughan: The Art Of Wellness

by Thomas Harvey

12th March, 2021

Sometimes the best way to achieve something is actually to achieve nothing first. As spring arrives and the artistic world slowly takes a step back into an old normal from a new normal, This pandemic has been a test to us all in so many ways. So what can I take from this time, what have I learnt?

Finding Inspiration In Four Walls 

It took me a while to realise that I wasn’t going to find any inspiration by staying in my house all day. I find myself inspired by joy, my people, my community and the trials and tribulations of life.

I decided to dig deep inside my memory and pick out the parts I had let wither away, rather than remember to water. I wrote poetry to ease my anxiety with no expectations of the results; simply to let the thoughts live somewhere other than inside my mind. I let myself embrace patience and my songwriting resurfaced like an old friend.  

Without the accessibility of usual collaborators, songwriting sessions went online, bringing the exterior world in through my front door and onto a screen. Collaborating with artists from around the world, I began innovating my creative processes by honing my skills as a producer. 

The production software Ableton became my dearest friend and I welcomed this new obsession with open arms. 

Working from home makes it easy to spend all my time inside and not enough time outside, so when in doubt, I took a walk, I read a book or a magazine and I kept well away from my screens. 

“You’re On Mute Mum” 

I used to overlook the importance of connectionwhen I would race amongst the world. I would organise my friends and family into a busy schedule, not realising quite the impact they have on my sanity. So what did I do when I couldn’t see them face-to-face? 

The app house party broke through at first as a way to check in with friends in spontaneous moments, before taking a slow decline when the realisation of hours on zoom hit. I checked in with friends old and new and managed to fully get to know my housemates for better and for worse. 

I decided to focus on being present when I spoke with my family and friends and manage to truly feel gratitude for their role and importance in my life. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Chasing Pavements On Rollerblades

Exercise has sometimes been daunting but at points also life-saving. Winter made this more difficult but a steady reminder that with working out, something is always better than nothing. 

In the summer I became a part of the rollerblading revival. I’ve needed to keep myself busy during this time and the hobbies I have picked up have surprised me. A chance to get out into the fresh air while taking my first baby steps on wheels. 

It’s a fun activity, best done on a warm day with friends you’re not afraid to fall in front of. It’s a recipe for feeling like a kid again, and for complete disaster. My weekends have been spent gliding through the park hoping I won’t die.

My Lockdown Companions

Always there when I need them? Snuggling up next to me on my duvet? My books and my laptop of course. 

My late-night companions were there when I needed them most. I have been immersing myself in film and literature during this time, frankly because I’ve had so much more time to do so. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Some of my favourite reads over the lockdown include ‘The Persian Boy’ by Mary Renault, a story based on the life of Alexander the Great and his lover Eunuch, Bagoas. ‘Against Everything’ contains essays on the absurdness of the normality of our world underneath modern-day capitalism on topics such as food, music and consumerism. ‘Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Mark Williams allowed me to embrace the art of mindfulness and find some peace within the anxieties that came with lockdown and my many vivid dreams. This book was a lifesaver and I highly recommend it. 

My other companions consisted of BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Mubi. My favourites included discovering Korean Director Park Chan Wook’s madness in ‘Sympathy For Lady Vengeance’. Contemporary Chilean film ‘EMA’ with a beautiful soundtrack composed by Nicolas Jaar. But also the wild world of ‘Tiger King’ and being able to catch up with ‘Fleabag.’ Thank you TV and film overlords. 

NOTHING

It is okay to achieve nothing today. It is okay to want to lie in silence and digest the week and day. It is okay to feel awful and rotten about this situation. 

Find joy in the small things. Take time for yourself. Don’t forget that rotten fruit feeds the fruit tree and summer is just on the horizon. What did you learn? 

Vaughan has a new single coming out on 4th April 2021.

Find out more about mental health charity Mind.

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