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My 2020 Bibi Baskin on why she loved lockdown just a little too much

Broadcaster and wellness practitioner Bibi Baskin on why lockdown forced her to embrace the quiet and ultimately change how she earns a living.

I LOVED LOCKDOWN. There, I’ve said it! And having said it, I know that I’m in a minority.

Outside of that minority, there are so many people who are suffering from the coronavirus itself, more still who are struggling with fear because of the threat of it and others who are plain fed-up with all the shortcomings and limitations it has placed on us as a collective since March.

Like so many others, my work dried up with the first lockdown. Hitherto I used to give Motivational and Wellness talks around the country, MC events and travel to Dublin for TV/radio appearances etc. But like so many speakers, musicians, entertainers can vouch, it all stalled nine months ago.

Also like many, I chose to hang around the house in order to be safe. And I loved it. The all-day PJs suit a gal who loves the casual dress. Also, I am at heart a stay-at-home gal. This becomes confusing to those who don’t know me very well because when I’m out I appear to be ‘out out’. So on occasions, I might even be the life and soul of the party! It’s easy to see why on the surface I might be perceived to have missed our freedoms. I didn’t.

Remembering ‘before’, building anew

The last outing I had was to speak at Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on 9 March, the same day that the then Minister for Health, Simon Harris, declared that elbow bumping was the way forward in lieu of handshakes. We had a long road ahead but nobody knew it.

I came back from that event in Galway and I chose to remain in barracks. The big question was what would I do.

Passing time rewardingly has never been a challenge for me. I read and study virtually every single day and every now and again I’ll tinkle the ivories. There’s stuff to be done in the garden and new south Indian recipes to be tested.

But those are the sorts of personal rewards that feed the mind and the soul but have no track record at amateur level of providing the cash to nourish the body! I still had to earn a living.

Writing for newspapers on a regular basis is the gift of only a chosen few. Much as I and everyone else who has ever strung a published sentence together would like it, it’s unlikely that we will ever become columnists.

But then I learned that there are random occasions in a daily life that offer up some opportunities for random pieces to be written and accepted. It was a step back into print journalism which is actually where I started my media work and not on television as some might think.

Finding that Happy Place

A year earlier, my good friend, the Cork businessman, Michael Mulcahy who’s always reliable at spotting a business opportunity, had come up with the idea of publishing in pocket-book form a collection of quotes which I had created and collected over the years.

This had resulted then in Bibi’s Wellness Wisdom which was cheerfully received by many. Since then I had focused on studying specifically the pursuit of Happiness, a noble goal indeed!

And so I found that with a little bit of archiving and writing I could put together what was to become The Happy Book, another pocket-book of quotes around the theme of creating greater happiness. It was published by Michael’s company, No.1 Media, last month. Lockdown lent itself adequately to a time of uninterrupted contemplation.

It is truly a magical feeling in life when one project feeds into another in an effortless flow. The Happy Book made me think about creating a Happy Place online where members would have access to teachings from the masters through me and pay a monthly subscription for that access.

If it worked it would provide a valuable service and it could sort out bills. I listened to people around me who, bless them, find my voice soothing and calming and who frankly said they didn’t want to hear any more American accents in Meditations.

There it was – staring at me! It’s now about to be launched. Bibi’s Happy Place members will have exclusive access to Meditations led by me, Sleep Stories read by me, guidance on how to live a more Mindful life, Wellness techniques and a plethora of stuff which eventually will be decided more by members and their needs than by me.

The shift to online

The Stay-at-home policy forced many of us to take to Zoom in a big way and the already growing plethora of podcasters also took off at a mighty rate. Requests for podcast interviews via Zoom started to line up.

But did any of the male podcasters realise that we women were getting used to bra-less days without make-up and no chance of a professional hair-do? Did they realise how much they were impinging on our female freedoms? It took me a while to want to say yes. It also took me a while to accept that it’s OK to look a bit rough during a pandemic!

Thankfully Zoom parties and Zoom quizzes had lost their appeal by the time our second lockdown kicked in. I wasn’t sociable enough the first time around to take part. And as the saying goes, you never miss what you never had.

But now through taking part in podcasts I discovered that Zoom could be used for my Motivational and Wellness talks. I made them shorter because I do believe that Zoom fatigue is a real thing.

I do some for charity and therefore don’t get paid but those allow me the opportunity to mention The Happy Book and Bibi’s Happy Place. For others, I get paid like in the days of old.

So the lockdowns have been invaluable to me. They re-confirmed for me that writing from home is how I want to continue my working life. It doesn’t sound right or fair to say that Covid sorted me out. But the reality is that it did.

Pic of The Happy Book

Bibi Baskin is a former RTE presenter, a former hotelier in India and currently lives in Cork where a great part of her working life is about Wellness. Her book, ‘The Happy Book’ is published by No.1 Media and is now available. Contact Bibi via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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