What Moving To Bristol During COVID Taught Me


Today marks 1 month since I officially moved to Bristol. I originally imagined it would be filled with adventures to every corner of the city, evenings meeting new people at the pub, and weekend adventures to the beach. The lockdown after New Year’s made sure none of that played out.

Instead, I can’t leave my house unless absolutely necessary, like when going food shopping or for my 1 hour of allotted exercise. I can’t go to the gym, join a freediving club, or even travel to a different city. Technically, I’m not even supposed to see my sister. So it’s just a smidge different than I imagined it would be.

There are two ways I could see this experience going, with my imaginary headlines looking something like this: 

1. Sophie the freediver drowns in a pool of self-pity,


2: Sophie the optimist makes Lockdown #3 her b*tch.

I could easily be wasting my time away wishing things were different, wallowing about in my apartment like a caged bird.

This is as an opportunity to focus on achieving my goals. There are no social distractions or money traps (i.e. alcohol and eating out), and a whole lot of time.

As big shot Tony Robbins says, “I am the creator of my life, not the manager of my circumstances.” Let that bad boy of a quote sink in. Sip on it like you’re trying a new wine. Try it once, try it again, then savor the flavor.

Of course the journey ahead is long, but all of the good ones are. At least, that’s my motivational self pep talk. I’m sure this journey will also be filled with nights of eating entire tubs of ice cream or watching The Notebook on repeat, but that’s besides the point…

This year I’m really trying to cultivate a mindset that pushes me forward in a positive, passionate, empowering way. These are some of the habits I’m working on dropping into for my mind and body:

1. Power Hour

I was reading the newspaper (like I said, 85 year old woman here) and found an article that talked about taking an hour for yourself in the morning to work towards whatever goal it is you want to achieve. It can be going for a run, starting up that new small business, or just fitting in some yoga. The principle remains the same: get it done in the morning, and you will already feel like your day has been a success.

It might be tempting to stay all cozy in bed for that extra hour, but I like to think that if you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen. One hour a day goes a long way towards your goals! Man, if I worked out for an hour everyday, I might have abs by now. Maybe I should reassess my power hour…

2. Daily time in green and blue spaces

Getting outside is absolutely vital to our health, both mentally and physically. After being inside all day, I crave fresh air and sunshine. It is scientifically proven to be good for you. Even Time magazine dipped in on this acknowledgement, stating that research has proven that time in nature can reduce stress, boost your mood, and even sooth mental illnesses. 

Get out, go for a walk at your local park, practice some Ornitherapy, and make the most of the present moment. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after you do!

3. Goal setting and daily planning

People who look at their goals everyday are more likely to achieve them! Carving out time to reflect on daily goals helps me stay focused everyday. It doesn’t have to be a long, tedious ordeal. I just take a few minutes at the end of the day to set my goals for the following day so I can hop right into it when I wake up!

4. Evening decompression time 

We are surrounded by screens all day. I find I can’t sleep if I look at my phone before bed. Now I’ve started implementing a no-screen rule before it’s time to snooze. It’s not as extreme as when I deleted my Instagram for a year, but the little steps are just as important! I also try to wind down in other ways like stretching and journaling. It’s mentally relaxing and gets my brain to start slowing down.

More to explorer

Snapshot: 7 days on the Algarve

Portugal’s Algarve is one of the spectacular coastal locations in the country, with dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue water. Take a mini-trip via some of my favorite film shots.

A winter sea song

This is a little something I wrote over the winter of 2021, after returning to my hometown in New Jersey. It had

2 Responses

  1. Very insightful and makes you think you need to make the most of each day and how you want to move forward in he future.GM.

  2. Reading your post, just reminded me of how lucky we are here in South Africa to move around and go where we want to go (well, we still have to wear our masks, wash our hands and keep our distance), but at least we can take long strolls on the beach and eat out in restaurants with friends.
    I totally agree with the goals you’ve set for yourself … I hope things will change rather sooner than later and that you can explore Bristol (and other places) 🌸.

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