Sharon Mendelaoui sitting at computer

Sharon’s Notes: The COVID Diaries… Self Love in Isolation

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Last week I turned on the Daily Dream 360 emails after three months of staying quiet. During the 3-month lockdown as I announced last week – a few things have changed. I have been working hard in the background to create the website I always wanted. I realized that I had been holding back and hiding behind this site for a long time. By practicing self-love in isolation and giving myself a little selfie challenge I was able to make some changes. Going forward, things are going to be a little different.

Dream it.

Going Back to the Beginning of Daily Dream 360

Nine years ago, I shared my travel stories on this site. I never thought anyone was going to read anything I wrote, just my friends who wanted a round-up of my vacations. The website back then was not polished. I just wrote and hit publish without thinking. I took photos on my point and shoot camera (I don’t even think my phone had a camera back then).

My dream at the start was to write. I didn’t have the confidence to write a novel, so I wrote about things I liked and the vacations I took. I had no vision for this site and what it could become. One day, Heys Luggage shared my posts on their Facebook page, and I realized – wait other people are reading this? Do brands think what I write is cool?

When I Tried to Escape the 9-5

I was a full-time corporate graphic designer back then and was stressed and unhappy on most days. The work did not satisfy me, and I always found myself planning epic trips I would never take. But that day that Heys shared my post, everything shifted, and I started researching everything there is to research about blogging.

In the years that followed, I got even more serious about the site. I learned how to check search engine numbers before writing a post, find topics I could rank for, and listen to the comments that came through from my readers. In fact, I got so involved in building the site as a business it lost some of that personal touch I used to share in my stories. I figured who reads these stories. I should just focus on the reviews and travel things to do posts.

Everything I did was to get me out of that cubicle. It was the only thing I could think about: get my blog and business to a point where I can turn away from that corporate paycheque. I wrote a post on this very topic to inspire you to build your blog while working full-time.  

Taking a walk during Covid Lockdown
Plan it.

Two weeks into lockdown, I found myself begging the shopper at PC Express to find me flour so I can bake myself a birthday cake. By some miracle, they were able to find a box of cake mix and some frosting. I was recovering from a “flu” that lasted 6-weeks. When I inquired about getting a COVID test, they said you have no ties to China, so stay isolated at home.

The world was hoarding everything they could, and I was stuck at home online grocery shopping and praying that I would get enough of what I ordered to keep me fed at a time we didn’t know how long it would be before we could restock?

Making the Most of Isolation and Time

Every day was long, and I was in my thoughts and head all day long. I tried to distract myself from anxiety and hopelessness by keeping busy. Early on, I told myself – don’t let this time go to waste.

I did not want to come out of lockdown in a post COVID world thinking – you had all that time, and you did nothing. I didn’t want to regret my choices.

Celebrating 50 – Milestone Birthday in Isolation

So on my 50th birthday, I spent the whole day making a cake. Realizing I don’t have cake pans or baking things for cake and that one box of cake mix can make a lot of cake. I called my mom like five times, asking her for advice. Peaking inside the oven, I was worried about the height of the two cakes.

As someone that cut out sugar from her diet, let me tell you what happens when you eat sugar for the first time afterward. As I made this monster cake, I had a few licks of icing and a few pieces of broken cake. By the time the thing was done, I couldn’t eat it. It felt like I had eaten the whole thing already. (We can talk about how I know this feeling in another life stories post.)

I took a photo of my creation, joined a weekly zoom call with friends and put the thing in the fridge. The next morning I had cake for breakfast, and the rest got chopped up and put in the freezer. I was in lockdown, so I was confident that I would need cake during my isolation. Boy, was I right?

Once the cake was put away and the birthday was over, I went back inside my head. I’m 50—no epic adventure to celebrate the milestone, just the fear of an unknown future. I decided I need to use this time wisely. I need to keep busy with work and other things.

Live it.

The COVID Diaries: Self Love in Isolation

So how do you embrace time in lockdown? The first thing I told myself was I am not going to come out of this heavier then when I started. I’m committing to my clean eating life and other than the birthday cake a bag of chips, I have been sticking with this.

I finished five puzzles during the lockdown. It wasn’t easy to find them, but thankfully Indigo Books had a reasonably priced selection and I waited patiently for delivery.

I read books. It was like I planned it perfectly, but all my Library holds started to become available, and I read a lot of books during the isolation. If you haven’t read these here are some book recommendations:

Realizing the Daily Dream 360 Dream

As I mentioned in my newsletter you can subscribe here, I rebranded the site and added some new features. For a long time, I’ve wanted to share my blogging tips, business experiences, and favourite things. This is how everything started, and I found myself coming full circle. Again.

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Circles are something I’m learning to have significant meaning for me. For more on this, you can read my spiritual awakening at the Hive Bed and Breakfast. I decided to go back to the beginning and share some personal stories again. Afterall there is a person here behind this website.

Patio time and reading - self love in isolation

Stop hiding: My COVID Selfie Challenge

If I’m honest, I hid behind this website for a long time. I was always behind the camera and the scenes pushing out content with a little personal touch. During the lockdown, I thought I can’t hide anymore. I have no travel trips to hide behind. My life is in this condo now, and its time I start to share it.

I posted a photo of myself every three shots on Instagram. It was a big challenge for me. I was once morbidly obese, and let me tell you I did not cherish getting my photo taken. Even as I was losing weight and moved from morbidly obese to just obese, taking pictures of myself is not something I live for.

Practice Self-Love in Isolation – It will Do a World of Good

I pushed myself to live up to this challenge, and you know what I realized? The photos of me were the ones my followers like most. They were the ones they commented on most. 

Now I’m writing this very long, unpolished story to tell you – I’m going to start sharing personal stories again here on the site. I’m not hiding anymore. So expect more stories about life, business, the weight struggle – everything.

Let’s Be Real, Let’s Embrace Life and Let’s Chase Dreams

You all have seen the weight swings, the zipline fails with the high angle rescues. In addition, you saw the spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes, and there is no point in hiding behind the beautiful landscape shots anymore.

I’m 50, and I’m still writing. My mission now is to encourage you to chase your dreams. I’m still a work in progress and working towards my goals – won’t you join me? Let’s follow our dreams together.

Sitting on balcony with text Sharon's Notes: The COVID Diaries, Self Love in Isolation

6 thoughts on “Sharon’s Notes: The COVID Diaries… Self Love in Isolation”

  1. I love hearing stories of how people have discovered things that need to change because they finally had the time to reflect. Maybe 50 wasn’t the adventure you thought it would be but I love that you’re now stepping out a bit. And I absolutely want to see more photos of you so keep them coming!

    1. Thank you. I don’t know why I wasn’t posting more of them. I’m working through this and will keep pushing myself to take more photos of myself. This time has been really scary but also really great for me and I’m appreciating the importance of time in discovering change!

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