This Day… Suddenly Irene has absolutely no time

What is going on at the moment, and how do we deal with all the changes? In this blog, someone from the Flow team shares how she is dealing with the current situation: both on a practical level and in her head. This time: Irene (Flow’s creative director) talks about how, all of a sudden, she doesn’t have any time at all, which she initially thought she would.

I don’t know how you are getting on, but I’ve found that I don’t actually have all that time that I initially thought I would. Just last week I thought: okay, I will give in to this new stay-at-home thing and there will be time to read, relax, do jigsaw puzzles, write letters, try new recipes, do some art journaling, paint walls, do a bit of gardening, participate in online yoga classes and follow that ukulele lesson (yup, I really want to, and it’s my intention to do it on Saturday afternoon… the lessons are in Dutch, but they also have an English-language book. Find out more on

But today, I’m mainly thinking: how?

My head is mostly preoccupied with how to process all the changes into daily life and, after that, I don’t actually have much energy left. Suddenly I seem to have been hit with some kind of all-the-things-I-want-to-do-now-stress. And even now that the options have been minimized, there is apparently still a lot to choose from.

Is this the new choice overload? And how can there be choice overload if so many options have already been eliminated? How did I do it in the past (yes, it already feels like ‘former times’) when I could also opt for the movie house, eating out, a festival, the theater, or simply just going out the door?

I’ve decided to be especially nice to myself. Why do I suddenly expect that I can take up all sorts of things? This new life demands a lot from everyone. Of all those people who are now working especially hard. Of all those people who are now supporting and helping their children with home schooling or to find a new rhythm. Of all those people who now feel lonely or long for a little solitude because their housemates are driving them crazy.

So, actually, I don’t have to do anything. I would like for our issues of Flow to provide comfort, inspiration, distraction and that they will help you. That we can share beautiful and inspiring things with you online. And I want my teenage kids to be able to find their feet in this life where so much has disappeared. I write yet another card to my mother who lives in a nursing home on the other side of the country, where I am not allowed to go. And it automatically goes silent in my head. Nothing needs to be done now. I just need to ‘be’. That is enough.

Text and photography Irene Smit  Translation Julia Gorodecky