Handbag designer, entrepreneur and mum of twins Rula Galayani hopes the global pandemic will serve as a wake-up call that our greatest wealth, second to our health, is our planet.

How are you finding the transition to a new way of working/life?
The first couple of weeks were rather surreal, where there was a constant and somewhat overbearing feeling of disbelief.  However, once I accepted this as the new norm, it became easier to create a bit of a routine that helped break the monotony and limitations of confinement.

What have been the biggest challenges?
To not fall into the trap of becoming lazy and unproductive. Instead, I try to keep myself energised by engaging in things that arouse my curiosity, ignite my creativity and exude a sense of well-being.

What’s been the most pleasant surprise?
The biggest surprise was the gift of time that quarantine brought us. Living in fast-paced Dubai, and balancing motherhood as well as entrepreneurship was starting to become very challenging. Time became a luxury I was constantly in pursuit of, yet could rarely secure. Then suddenly, the world stopped and I had all the time I wanted.

What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that to a certain extent, we all take this situation as a wake-up call from mother nature. For decades, we have been turning a blind eye to environmental, sociological and humanitarian issues, in pursuit of capital gains. I really hope we all, as individuals, companies, communities, nations realise that our greatest wealth, second to health, is our planet.

What message do you have for Grazia readers?
That despite how difficult the situation is, to remember that we are still so much better off than millions around the world. Yes, we are stuck at home. But at least, we have a home. We have food, we have clothes, we can enjoy life’s simple pleasures. In a few weeks, we will get our regular lives back, but according to World Food Map, there will still be 821 million people – more than 1 in 9 of the world population – who will not get enough to eat so always remember to count your blessings.

Photo: Courtesy of Rula Galayini