In our new series Staying Connected, we will be talking to women in the
public eye about life during lockdown the pandemic, and how they are
navigating relationships during this time. keeping their relationships alive
Staying Connected is sponsored by Bumble, the social networking-app,
connecting people across dating, friendship and professional networking.
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For this week’s feature we are speaking to top Irish influencer Louise Cooney, about how life has changed during lockdown.
From moving home from New York to dating online, the Limerick fashionista delves deep into her new reality.
Q: How have you been finding isolation so far?
It’s been up and down but mainly I’ve found it to be a really positive experience. I feel lucky I got home from New York to spend this rare downtime with my family in Limerick. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect, to relax, to appreciate things I maybe didn’t before and to rethink how I’ll approach life when we get back to normality.
Q: You moved home from New York at the beginning of the pandemic, was that a difficult decision for you?
It was, I spent the whole of last year waiting for my visa to come through to move. I finally did in September and I would have really hoped by the start of June I would be feeling settled and looking forward to an amazing summer in the big city.
I wanted to stay and not to unsettle my move again, but realistically it would have been too hard for me to stay there alone for so long. I had to consider where I had the best healthcare, and also if any of my family were to get sick it would have been so hard to be away.
It was hard to know at the time if I made the right decision, but now nearly 9 weeks on I definitely feel like I have.
Q: We love the relationship you have with your dog Cooper, do you think having a connection with pets is really helpful at this time?
Awh absolutely. What did we do to deserve dogs? Their unconditional love and happiness is so needed during these tough times when we’re stuck in our houses.
I also love the motivation the dogs give me to get out and go for a walk. It’s so good for the head.
Q: Talk to us about some of the most important connections you have in your life and how have you kept those connections alive during this pandemic?
My family, my school friends, my college friends, my work friends, and then my online community as well. I’ve found although I haven’t seen anyone, communication with everyone has been a lot better throughout this time.
We all have more time, and we all crave that human connection so we’re making more of an effort, it’s been really nice to catch up with people.
Q: Do you find you have been video calling more than ever before?
Absolutely, and my friends (and I) always have time now. It’s so nice!
Q: Do you think technology has a big role to play in staying in touch with your loved ones?
Yes! Can you imagine if we had to go through this pandemic back in the day when we all shared a house phone and a dial up internet connection. Lol. We are so lucky now with technology.
With contactless payments, online orders, Zoom calls, Netflix and social media to keep us all distracted – we are so lucky!
Q: What have you learned about your relationships with the people in your life during this time?
I’ve never appreciated my family more. I haven’t lived at home since I was 17, I could never have imagined it again. But wow, it’s so nice. As an adult, I appreciate all the things my parents do for me so much more, I appreciate the easy company of my brother and sisters and the feeling of safety and comfort here. With my friends, I feel so grateful to have people to call for laughs, for cries, for just plain venting.
I feel incredibly lucky with the people I have in my life. Weirdly, as I’m single, I’ve never felt more fulfilled with all my relationships.
Q: Let’s talk online dating. Do you think it’s possible to date right now?
Absolutely, we are all bored in the house, in the house bored. Online dating apps! Hello! They were the new normal before the pandemic so they are thriving now.
Q: If so, have you been on any virtual dates? If not, would you be interested in doing one?
I have actually, I have a penpal now which is a bit of fun. I can’t remember the last time I got to know someone this well before meeting them lol!
Q: What are the qualities you are looking for in your ideal partner?
I need someone funny, easy-going, driven, kind, open… and tall and handsome if possible please.
Q: How are you staying connected with your followers during this time? Do you find social media has really helped?
I feel like I have an open dialogue with my followers – I listen to what’s going on with them, and they listen to me. I honestly feel like I have a whole different group of friends online sometimes, often I turn to them for advice before my family & friends. And often they give really good, helpful advice.
I try and return the favour and provide value for my followers. My blog started off being fashion, it will always be an important part. But during this time I’ve been doing more cooking, baking, free online fitness classes, chats with life and career coaches.
Things that will help people. Social media has been amazing because it allows that two way conversation and it also is a little bit of escapism for people. I’ve been finding so much support & inspiration on social media, and that’s all I’ve been trying to give off from my channels too.
Q: What’s the first thing you will do when you can finally get back together with your friends?
I will hug them so tight (if it’s allowed), I will sit, lock my phone away, grab a glass of wine and just laugh until my belly is sore!
Q: Well done on your Pieta House fundraiser, you raised a huge amount of money. We know mental health is a very important topic for you. What are your top tips for staying positive during this time?
That’s a tough one, and a complex one to answer. I think we need to accept that we’re not going to feel positive all the time, it’s natural and it’s totally ok.
The key is to know what your mood boosters are – for me it’s going for a walk, distracting myself with a good book, calling a friend that I know will listen & make me laugh and exercising can be another great way to exert those negative feelings.
I have found writing very therapeutic during this time: I’ve been writing lists of things that I’m learning, that I’m grateful for and even things that are honestly just frustrating me.
We have to learn to accept & live with this slower pace so for me the simple things have brought me a lot of joy during this time – coffee, the good weather, my dogs, a guilt free sleep in, music.. the list goes on.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself during this time in isolation?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to stop being so hard on myself. To slow down and enjoy life more. We only get one shot at it, and this pandemic has put all the things we normally worry about into perspective.
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