Armadillo

The Journal

Finding Solace in Solitude with Louisa Grey

Like us, stylist Louisa Grey of House of Grey is one to look for silver linings. To her, this “period of stillness” is an opportune time for us to recalibrate our priorities and rethink what truly brings contentment. Speaking from London, where she is self-isolating with her son, Louisa shares how she is finding meaning from mindfulness – and how we can too.

Portrait by Rory Gardiner.

How are you feeling?

For far too long, we have lived in a world where overstimulation from our daily routines, online interactions, consumerism and a shortage of time – let alone downtime – has become depleting. I’m wholeheartedly embracing the opportunity that the current situation has offered many of us to slow right down and begin healing from the busy lives that we have been leading. I’m a strong believer that, in one way or another, the universe has a way of grounding us all by bringing us back to a centred state when it’s needed most.

What daily rituals are bringing you joy?

Yoga has been enhancing my life for many years and is helping me stay positive, both physically and mentally, during these moments of stillness. The importance of maintaining a human connection in daily remote catch-ups with friends, family and colleagues also shouldn’t be underestimated as a therapeutic support system.

"I’m a strong believer that, in one way or another, the universe has a way of grounding us all."

What are the sights, sounds and scents we’d find in your home right now?

Delicate scentscapes centre the soul and I am currently enjoying ‘Hakudo Rain’ by Aoiro Airdesign, a rejuvenating, vitalising and purifying natural botanical room atomiser. Fragrances have the power to evoke a memory, which can provide us with a deeper connection to our past and our loved ones at this time of social distancing. The healing soundscapes playing at home are a variety from Playlister on Spotify (I keep revisiting the clarity compilation), leaving me feeling balanced, nourished and calm.

Are there any spaces you are using that you never really used before?

Now, more than ever, I feel grateful for having an outdoor space. It’s given my son and I the opportunity to maintain a connection with nature that, honestly, until recently we took for granted. We installed a hammock and have spent time reading Aesop’s Fables in the dappled sunlight, listening to the birds without any interruptions. These are the moments I will treasure.

How do you like to start your day?

Slowly, watching the light dance through the bedroom curtains. I enjoy a bath in the morning as I find this retreat helps me reflect on my intentions and how I want my day to go, a way to plan my day without feeling overwhelmed by mental lists.

How do you wind down at night?

An important ritual to ending my day is a sound chakra mediation cleanse exercise. It’s an opportunity to pause in gratitude for life; it is also a space in time to just be and remind myself what I am thankful for – I also list these in my journal (another way for me to empty my headspace). It helps set me up for a restful night’s sleep.

Are you doing anything to maintain a connection to nature?

The blossom trees have been in full bloom. We have listened to and watched the ring-necked parakeets daily as they enjoy the spring weather. It has made it feel like we have been isolated on an urban island. Our neighbour is a fossil specialist at The Natural History Museum here in London and has very kindly lent us a microscope and some fossils – we have spent many hours drawing and observing their differences.

What objects in your home have now proven their longevity?

My personal philosophy is that there are many physical possessions that are stimulating for me; however, I choose to practice non-attachment to ‘things’ and focus on the importance of virtues and principles that inform, enrich and elevate us. I have, however, had more value for the kitchen and the tools that are helping to create variety in my daily life now. It’s shown me that you do not need much to be incredibly happy.

What is your advice for staying creatively stimulated in this time?

This time has allowed me to think about how we can be more kind and add compassion to day to day life. We recently participated in ‘Meet My Wilson’, a COVID-19 inspired project by entrepreneur and philanthropist David Leppan. The campaign hopes to bring online awareness for domestic abuse and mental health during the lockdown. My son and I spent a whole afternoon playing with materials found in the house and on walks, diving into our imagination. We talked about our ancestors, how they lived in comparison to how we live now, and what we can draw from their experiences.

What little luxuries are you indulging in right now?

We have been gifted the luxury of time by the universe, so I’m spending all the time I can with my son. He is a constant reminder to connect with my inner child and to slow down in life. He has highlighted the need to take more consideration of the choices we make, bringing more balance into my life.

Follow Louisa Grey on Instagram.

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