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Surviving 2020 With Leonnie Tutin

Leonnie is a bright, fabulous young woman who is doing work experience with Femme for the first time! I've really enjoyed delving into her inner world and reading about her experiences over the past few days and I hope you do too. I asked her to reflect on 2020 and write a survival guide of sorts; these are her words. Enjoy!

Surviving 2020

2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. As someone in their early 20’s suffering from mental health issues, it’s been a constant rollercoaster for me. Add to this a family of people with ongoing health issues and the stress of finding work, it’s been hell. Even before Covid really hit, I was struggling to keep my life together. But I was managing. A routine of weekly volunteering 9-5, Monday to Friday, kept me from taking too much time to get in my own head.

Then the national lockdown hit.

Suddenly, I had lost my daily routines and I couldn’t see most of my social circle. Everything I had worked so hard on in the past 6 months had been thrown out the window. I had no choice but to spend a lot of time with my own thoughts and feelings, thinking and overthinking, again and again. In my mind, the lockdown was going to be one of the most debilitating periods of my life.

Surprisingly to me, I made it through, and so did my family and friends. This doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle. Because I did. For the first month, the only contact outside of my parents was the occasional video call with my best friend. I was scared to leave the house even to go for a walk, and I was sinking into a pit of depression and anxiety. It took a lot of re-evaluation to figure out a way to stop it.

I’ve always been really creative, but found that during the last few years, there’s been so much going on that I couldn’t find time to actually be creative. But, having a whole day to myself with no specific plans or expectations, meant that suddenly I had all the time in the world to get back to doing what I loved. I spent time writing, journaling, cross-stitching, knitting - anything I could get my hands on to fill those endless hours with even the smallest spark of joy. I organised my room to keep my head clear (after all, a tidy home makes for a tidy mind!) and really had time to reflect on what I needed in my life.

But then the lockdown was lifted and I saw people I knew going back to work, spending time with their friends, and I was still terrified. I was struggling to fit myself back into the world outside the walls of my home. Fast forward to September, I made the decision to go on a course that would require me to get out every day. I had to face my fears (safely) and try to help myself get back into a realistic routine. It was hard at first. I had a lot of anxiety, but my support circle has really come through for me, giving me all the support I could possibly need, and I’ve learned to reach out to the people that I know can help me, even if it’s just them making me laugh.

So yeah, 2020 has been difficult. But it’s given me the time to be introspective. I can safely say I’m not the same person I was a year ago. And for once, I feel that it’s a good thing, and I’m going to use all my new found skills to keep myself at the best I can be and make it through the last couple of months. I’ll keep moving forward and so should you.

Leonnie’s 2020 Survival Pack

Activities to get through 2020:

Cross stitch - because who doesn’t enjoy getting to stab something hundreds of times and gain a work of art at the end?

Knitting - I’m trying to knit a scarf for my mum, and as it’s super mindless once you’ve got the hang of it, you can do it while watching TV

Taking REALLY long baths - sitting in the bath with music and candles is the ultimate self care for me and is helpful to my joints and back after being stuck inside being pretty stationary all day, every day

Binge watching Disney movies - Disney+ and I are now great friends after watching every one of my childhood favourites with my mum

Dancing round to music - the best way to improve your mood in my opinion is to blast some upbeat tunes and dance around your room like no-one is watching (because they aren’t!)

Reading - sometimes just putting on some good music and reading a book that’s been staring at you from your bookcase is the easiest way to take up time and fuel your creative mind


The Forbidden Game Trilogy - L.J. Smith

A book full of twists and turns. The characters have to face their worst nightmares to get back to the real world. And it doesn’t stop, bleeding into their awake lives.

The Prince of Mist - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Something I read at school and felt the need to go and buy for myself. Set during WW2, a group of kids find out about the supernatural happenings in their new home town.

Ink - Alice Broadway

Imagine if you had to get a tattoo for every significant moment in your life. One girl tries to find out the truth of a missing tattoo on her late father’s skin, causing unrest in her community and inevitably stepping up to reveal the truth about society.

The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

A detective is thrust back into the mysteries of his past when an old war buddy is his next case. He searches for the truth but finds people really don’t want him to dig it up.

My 2020 Playlist:

YUNGBLUD - Hope For The Underrated Youth

Mint Royale - Blue Song

All Time Low - Getaway Green

Blue DeTiger - Figure It Out

All Time Low - Everything Is Fine

Robin Schulz - Sugar

MisterWives - Reflections

Louie Zong - thumbnail

I Prevail - DOA (feat Joyner Lewis)

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