katie kolodinski
image courtesy silk laundry. design by kayleen dicuangco.

Self-Isolation Diary: A Day in the Life of Silk Laundry’s Katie Kolodinski

"Since all gyms etc are closed I am getting up at 5.30am most mornings to go for an hour-long walk with downloaded workouts I can do outside without equipment, coupled with a 7-minute plank challenge. It seems to help."

As people around the country wind down their fifth week of self-isolation, FASHION is reaching out to some of our favourite Canadians to get a peek into how they’re living their lives in lockdown (remember: #StayHomeSaveLives). Each week, keep an eye out for new self-isolation diaries from actors, designers, athletes and artists who are riding this uncertain time out with us.

Katie Kolodinski, creative director and founder, Silk Laundry

As I write this, I am actually in Australia, stuck and dealing with a pretty complex situation. We are living with my husband’s parents in their basement, trying to manage as best as we can. We left Montreal on February 28th to head to Australia for a few weeks to open our newest Silk Laundry store in Brisbane. With this set to be our best and most thought-out store yet, we needed to be with the Australian team as well as our builders for the final stages of the store build before opening. With the help of so many, I am very proud of this milestone. I had a clear vision and was so excited when it was executed well (then… we had too close the stores).

It was just before March break for my school-aged son so we came as a family. Unfortunately, the news regarding COVID-19 began to change dramatically. I have two children aged two and seven and we had to make a choice: Go back to Canada where following the 14-day isolation we wouldn’t have access to support, and would have to spend most of our days in our small apartment or stay here where the quarantine guidelines allow for more movement outdoors and we have family support. We chose to cancel our flights and stay in Australia unsure of what our next steps would be and what is possible for us as a family and a business.

Right now, our Gold Coast office is basically empty with everyone working from home. For my husband Reece and I, working from home with the amount we need to get done and attending to our two small children is virtually impossible. Instead, we go into the empty office each day trying to work and see our businesses through this. Our children spend their days doing art, math and online Duolingo French lessons with their grandparents which we are so grateful for.

This year, over the Canadian winter, I realised how deeply exercise (or lack thereof) affects my mental health. Since all gyms etc are closed I am getting up at 5.30am most mornings to go for an hour-long walk with downloaded workouts I can do outside without equipment, coupled with a 7-minute plank challenge. It seems to help.

In Australia, we are still able to go outside if we are exercising once a day with physical distancing measures in place so we are able to take our kids to the beach for a runaround and an ocean swim. We are all very grateful for being close to the ocean right now. I feel lucky for that.

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I don’t generally watch a lot of television and being isolated from friends and family hasn’t turned me into a couch potato yet… my days are filled with more than enough work to keep me busy, but I have watched the first episode of Unorthodox on Netflix and am looking forward to finishing it. That being said, I am reading and listening to some great books when I can, hoping that what I read will improve my business, the quality of life I lead and the choices that I make for myself, my staff and all of our customers. On the list are: The Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken and The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I have also been recommended these books by my dearest friends so I have ordered the paperbacks on Booktopia and am looking forward to reading them as a tiny escape from reality: Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

It seems like it’s avocado season in Australia (perhaps it’s almost always avocado season here?), so we have been making the most of that. My sister-in-law and I have been climbing her tree and picking as many avocados as we can. It is in full bloom! My favourite ice cream shop in Australia, Heven-yah Gelateria, has been doing takeaway tubs once or twice a week, so I have been filling the freezer with their weekly flavours.

And to relax I am listening to our monthly Silk Laundry Spotify playlist. They are generally free of lyrics so they are easy to listen to without distracting you from other tasks. A piece of something from the stores that we can keep doing and sharing with everyone.

Life as we know it is changing so quickly, nothing is business as usual. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I will be able to get through it and what is best for my children’s future. How will I be able to homeschool my eldest son in his French immersion curriculum while working, living on the other side of the world (even with online school and live classes, it’s a timezone issue) and being the only person in the family that knows the language? Our situation is a strange one and my mind needs to learn how to meditate.

I also get upset at myself, because I am privileged, I have a roof over my head, food to eat, adequate healthcare and an education yet I feel selfish that I am having a difficult time mentally. My struggles are nowhere near the complexity of millions of others around the world right now. That being said, I am trying to stay positive and make sure I use this time to better myself. I am a serial studier and believe that no education is lost. I read on Business Insider that Yale and Harvard were offering free online courses; I have started two. One is called The Science of Well-Being and the other is The Health Effects of Climate Change. I think this is a good start to making a difference in my world and the environment around me and there is no better time than now.

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