Connection is the cornerstone to human evolution. And in our industry, we thrive with a routine. The somewhat novelty of being locked down arrived in March of 2020 and duly departed at the close of the same year, many of us naively never imagining we’d have to face those same restrictions again. But come this second lockdown (and the sixth for Victoria), things feel harder. The relentless news headlines are heavy. But as Ingrid Lovett, Communications Director of MaxMediaLab wisely noted in the article you’re about to read, “It’s all in the mindset”.

While our struggles cannot be underplayed or compared, the pandemic has highlighted the extreme importance of keeping our mental health in check, become absolutely anybody can become vulnerable to anxiety. Here, we tap the minds of 15 Sydney-based publicists on how they protect their sanity and health in lockdown. From their skin care routines, Spotify playlists, home workouts and everything in between, there might just be an idea in here for you.

Stay safe, everyone.

MONTARNA PITT – The audience agency

“I’m 28 weeks pregnant with an almost-two-year-old, so lockdown has certainly been a juggle so far! Up until a week ago I had a broken foot and fractured coccyx so I was pretty housebound anyway. But over the last few days now I’m off crutches, I’ve been able to get out for short walks and easing in to Body Love Mama’s at home pilates workouts with close direction from its founder Ali Handley on how to tweak the workouts for my healing bones!

The highlight of my day is getting a coffee and grabbing some essentials on our walk; fresh bread, milk, fruit etc. If our daughter Parker isn’t at daycare we like to take her to the park for some fresh air and a play. I’m sure we’re not alone in placing huge focus on comfort food in lockdown – Nick (my husband) is the chef in our family and he’s been whipping up some of Chef Orazio’s dishes which have been amazing. I like to order a few meals from Katering At Home to take the pressure off grocery shopping, and for a treat we’ll get takeout from our favourite locals like Barbetta, Catalina, and Totti’s.

My self-care investment of lockdown has been the Dyson Airwrap – I’m obsessed! I’ve also been lathering myself in Sisley body lotion to keep my skin and bump hydrated, using Santa Novella bubble bath for a luxe treat and candles from MECCA to keep the house smelling fresh. I’m adding IMBIBE’s collagen in my water every day to spice up my drinks and keep glowing – sadly no evening wine or cocktails this time around thanks to baby Pitt number two.”

SNEHA GUPTA – sarah humphries public relations

“I wake up early, as I would if I was going to the office, and the very first thing I do is drink an inner beauty concoction – The Beauty Chef GlowDeep Collagen, and the Stress Support powder from Melrose Health. Then before going for a walk, I’ll rinse my face, apply a thick layer of SPF (yes, even in Winter) and head out for a quick walk to get a coffee. I love starting the day with a walk because while I am alone with my thoughts, I have time to create a mental to-do list for the day. The café coffee helps bring a sense of routine. I make sure I get ready for work in my regular work clothes, including shoes and jewellery. Still, makeup is basic: Chanel Fresh Water TintEre Perez Arnica ConcealerWestman Atelier Blush stick in Duo Duo on cheeks, lips, and the eyes!

I make sure to pick up a bunch of flowers every week; having these on my makeshift desk brings me joy, and the jasmine, and tulips, are incredible this time of year! I’ve made this cake more times than I’d like to admit this lockdown. It’s the perfect treat alongside the book I’m currently reading and can’t get enough of – Sorrow and Bliss.”

JAKE HALPIN – gloss communications

“Something I learned from the first lockdown was that you need to take each day as it comes and be kind to yourself. I have been working on creating a new wake-up routine where I reach for a bottle of water instead of my phone as a way to start the day with a clear head. From there, I make myself a coffee and write a (realistic) to-do list of what I want to achieve each day. In the evenings before bed, I am seriously trying to kick my skincare routine up a notch – I swear I will have moved to the top tier of the Mecca Beauty Loop by the time the lockdown ends!”

SARAH LEAF – leaf comms

“When working from home it is so tempting to roll out of bed, open your emails and get stuck into the work day. So this lockdown I’ve been trying to keep to a morning routine, most days I start by walking to grab a coffee and calling a friend or listening to a podcast on the way.

It’s not the most efficient lockdown hack, but I’ve found that getting ready for the day as normal (hair, makeup and proper clothes!) has really helped me to feel focused and ready for the work day. I also just really miss my clothes and the ritual of getting dressed. I’m trying to wear my ‘real’ clothes as much as possible, still comfortable pieces, but even just boyfriend jeans and a cute sweater goes a long way to boost your mood!

My dedication to elaborate recipes (hello pasta machine I used once) and an at home exercise regime has really waned with this lockdown – but I did a massive book order which has been really helping to keep my screen time down!”

jamie-lee rowley – mcmpr

“My parents raised me on the notion like-attracts-like; that focusing on the positive acts to attract more of the same. It’s magnetic. Mental health has always been important to me, but last year I lost someone close and the volume turned up. I re-centred, making space for things that bring joy – waking early, walking, M.I.A live pilates, playing piano, a lot of reading, a little French, and cooking intuitively thanks to Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertolli. This period has been sobering for me. It’s also the first period in time to de-stigmatise mental health globally, and I’m looking forward to what this future sees.”

aLICE Carrett – hatrik house

“It has been so interesting this time around because as a team we have really had to settle into what working from home looks like! I have my mini Hatrik House showroom set up in my sunroom with a desk for send outs and press requests and it has been quite fun working out how I can make the space as cute as possible and bring the feeling of the Hatrik office to my apartment.

I have been trying to go with the flow, and setting up small routines to keep my days from staying the same, though I am also making sure I don’t get too frustrated if I am not sticking to them or just don’t feel like it that day. We have been getting really into tennis (out of nowhere) and have been starting each day with a game at 7am. As someone that isn’t a morning person and was really struggling to start the day during lockdown, making a coffee (Breakfast Club always!) and putting on a fun outfit in the morning has been really exciting. It has become really satisfying to get out and about and then come home and put your comfy clothes back on.

Other than that we have just been trying to do things that excite us and have no pressure around them! Making yum Fabbrica dinners with a nice Winona Wine. Start a new TV series (Hacks, Ladyparts, Reservation Dogs and Startstruck have been fantastic lately). Try and learn TikTok moves. Do a stretching class with my intense Russian App that is hilarious (Topstretching), reading a trashy book or doing oil painting on Zoom.”

cameron carter – MRC

“I’m a creature of habit so maintaining a strict daily routine is one of the fundamentals to ensuring I stay fit and motivated during lockdown.

One of my daily rituals is watching the sunrise so I’m showered and out the door by 6:30am religiously. There’s something so restorative about the sun’s first light and fresh morning air, and I’m home and at the desk again by 8:00am.

It sounds cliche but I also use my morning walk as a gratitude meditation. Each day I’m grateful for living near the water, Sydney’s year-round fine weather, my health and the health of my family and loves ones the simplest things.”

audrey jaggs – freelance brand consultant

“I wake up early – as tempting as it is to use the extra time in the morning to press the snooze button, I make sure I get up and start my day with a walk along the beach. Creating a positive head space for the day and carving out time for myself is more important than ever.

After that I come home, shower and do my morning skincare routine – ensuring I am taking extra care of my skin after mask wearing to prevent it feeling dull and tired. Emma Lewisham’s Illuminating Exfoliant and Skin Reset Even Skin Tone Serum are my go-to combination at the moment. Also still wearing SPF even while indoors to protect my skin against my computer screen’s blue light.

Get dressed! I cannot stress enough how putting an actual outfit on rather than sweats or activewear changes my mindset for the day. I find myself more positive, creative and productive when I have consciously chosen what to wear.

Small daily rituals – I purchased an aero press at the beginning of this lockdown and it is probably my favourite purchase of the year. I make a filter coffee each morning and get different ground beans from my favourite roasters – mixing things up and supporting local business.

When I log off for the day I complete a virtual work out with my favourites at Code 5. Their trainers have literally kept me sane this lock down and are fantastic at keeping you motived to stay moving.

While I have been cooking a lot more this lockdown I have also loved seeing local restaurants getting creative with different ways they can offer meals. I order one to two meals from a local restaurant a week. If you are in the Northern Beaches, Busta’s finish at home truffle pasta packs or lasagnas are incredible.”

jodie moses – candid communications

“I was feeling really sluggish and unmotivated – just MEH overall. I decided I needed to set myself a challenge so I saw the gorgeous @cosmechix_ girls doing the 75 HARD challenge and thought screw it, I’ll give it a crack. I decided I’d do 30 HARD to start and go from there and I feel fantastic. The excising twice a day piece of the challenge puzzle has made me so much clearer to focus on Candid clients and excited about the day ahead. I’m really not traditionally a “challenge” type of girl but I feel like striving towards something positive, is keeping me positive.

I couldn’t get through this lockdown without the support of the Candid team. They are strong amazing women. Also I’m getting a little Italian greyhound, whom I’ve named Shlomo. So that’s something to look forward to.”

rachel papandrea – EVH

“Investing in self-care is keeping me sane. I have two toddlers, so I work around their schedule – we do morning intention setting and gratitude on the drive to day care, my friend Roxie Nafousi is a self-development coach and IS always sharing manifestation prompts on her Instagram so it’s top of mind for me.

I try and get in a socially distanced walk with a friend absorbing as much fresh air and sunshine as possible. I’m taking my Vida Glow collagen daily and devoted to my skincare routine which is mainly products from Aesop and KORA Organics. In the evenings I try to do a social media detox, take a relaxing bath and make myself a (strong) martini.”

mauricio ruiz – tmcpr

“On a typical day, I wake up at around 8 am to SLOWLY start the day – I’m more of a night owl than an early riser! After a few minutes of an Instagram and Tiktok catchup, I take Matilda (my dog) out to do her business; I jump in the shower and officially start my day.

I’m a planner, so creating lists allows me to stay focused and organise my (chaotic) mind, even in those days where my mood and enthusiasm (or lack of) will reign over. Daily check-ins with my team at TMC PR further organise my weekly activity (plus it’s great to gossip with the team!)

I usually work out at Hustle Boxing since I hate working out alone, so it’s been hard to exercise at the moment though I try to do daily walks around the neighbourhood to keep sane and break my workday. I try to change my work set-up constantly to avoid getting bored – from our home office to the kitchen or the living room floor, anywhere but my bed.

A key factor to my mental health has constantly been catching up with my friends and family in Mexico and the US, living vicariously through them until the time comes where we can be out and even travel again – I miss them so much!

I’ve also been getting into skincare more and try to do this every night before bed – my routine includes: Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser, Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, esmi Encapsulated Retinol, LA MER The Eye Concentrate and Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturizer

My partner Stephen’s a Doctor, and his schedule is all over the place (especially now with the current situation), so I try to stay up for when he gets home. We talk about how our day went and how our next day looks like before snoozing out. Personally, this lockdown feels tougher to deal with than last year’s. Not knowing when I’ll see my family and friends in America takes a toll on me, so I try to step back, give myself some time, and take each day one at a time, focusing on the good things that life keeps giving us.”

codie grimshaw

“My daily lockdown routine is probably typical to most. I start everyday with a walk, and try my best to do an at-home workout (Some days are more successful than others).

My golden lockdown rule is to change into everyday clothes before I start work. Otherwise I would never get out of my Maggie Marilyn track set. It’s the small things that add a little normalcy to the monotony!

Some notable things that I have been loving in lockdown (so far) are my new Wynn Hamlyn Knit Top, the Emma Lewisham Illuminating Day Creme and an endless supply of Noshu sugar free cookie mixes.”

EMMA DETTRE – NAC 

“I am all about starting the day with my Fluid Form Pilates – even though I desperately want to stay in bed. I then have a shower, do some quick washing/tidying – I have to have a clean place so I can concentrate. Then I make breakfast and read my emails and watch the news. I have been loving a green juice or porridge with berries.

I find keeping a morning routine really sets me up for the day and then by the time I clock off, I can unwind with a wine while cooking dinner. We have been cooking a lot – it’s been nice to try lots of new recipes.”

sophie SINKINSON – PORTOBELLO PR

“It’s the small things that make a big difference for me; making sure I get outside every morning for a walk or run in the sunshine, lighting a candle at home (my all-time favourite is Diptyque’s Baies) and putting on a feel-good Spotify playlist or podcast (currently obsessed with Welcome to The OC, Bitches!) really help to boost my mood.

I’m also finding that instead of texting, FaceTiming family and friends and making exciting plans with them for next year (manifesting a 2022 Euro summer) keeps me feeling positive. I’ve started growing my own vegetables and herbs in my Vegepod which has been super rewarding and using them in recipes. I feel like now is the perfect time to experiment with cooking different cuisines and dishes which I don’t usually have the time or energy to create!”

ingrid lovett – max media lab

“Staying mentally and physically strong has been key for me navigating this recent lockdown. It’s all mindset. I am a very active person and I love going to the office every day and really thrive interacting with people so to be suddenly working from home and home schooling two children, I have had to take a proactive stance to kick start my new daily regime. To make my overall health, wellness and environment work for me in this ever changing world we are living in.

My day starts early… I am up at 6.30am to run, circuit and swim in the ocean every morning in any weather with my partner. 90 percent of the work is getting up and showing up. I find it so therapeutic for my mind, body and soul even on mornings when I don’t feel like getting out of bed – but this routine drives my momentum through the day. My next stop is Birichina for a much needed coffee! Then home to make breakfast before we all get on zoom or teams. From then on, my day is a mix of meetings from strategy presentations, to media negotiations and team and client liaisons.

I make sure I eat lots of delicious nurturing foods, from fish curries and stews to pasta. My absolute weakness is Iggy’s bread with avocado and take home meals from Spoonfed Concepts and Seans Panorama! Chocolate is my naughty treat as well and I can’t live without a kick ass women’s multi vitamin and B boost. I have used this time to minimise my intake of alcohol by enjoying an occasional glass of red wine on the weekend.

Staying connected with family, friends and community has been key and I could not live without my mentors;

Every time I feel a little overwhelmed I look to Martin Luther Kings quote…

If you can’t fly then run
If you can’t run, then walk
If you can’t walk, then crawl
But by all means, keep moving

We will get through this together…”

thoughts?