My Life in Isolation: Madeleine Spencer

Journalist, founder of the Beauty Full Lives podcast, Beauty Editor and blogger, Madeleine Spencer has become a prominent voice in the beauty industry. Known for her honest and thorough beauty reviews, Madeleine is also an unwitting mental health advocate, with her candid admission to agoraphobia and how she deals with it. Madeleine has created a community and safe space for her followers to share their anxieties on her Instagram.

We caught up with Madeleine to find out about her life in isolation…

Where do you live? What does isolation look like for you there? How has your local community been affected?

I live in West London and it’s had a huge effect on morale and everyone’s day-to-day life as we are all very used to being able to go wherever, whenever; though I have been very buoyed by how thoughtful some members of the community have been, parcelling up food for the vulnerable and generally checking in with one another to see if anyone needs anything. It’s been a stark reminder that those bonds, and caring for one another are really valuable.

Can you talk us through your daily routine in isolation?

I get up to walk my dog at around 7 am, after which I do yoga and eat breakfast – so far, no change. After that, I write and edit, which I would have generally done on weekdays, anyway. The isolation has had the biggest effect on my afternoons and evenings when I’d usually go out for meetings or see a friend. That’s when I struggle to manage my emotions and the sense of sadness and loneliness more.

How has your life changed since being in isolation?

Mostly, I’m more exhausted as I have a habit of physicalising my emotions, aka somasis, so I’ve found my energy levels are low, and my motivation nowhere near the level it usually is. My body feels incredibly heavy and cumbersome.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this time?

That this is still life – it’s just different. In the early days, I was trying to write off time, fill it with crap tv and junk food, but then I came to realise that it’s important to value my time even through how I fill it has changed significantly. I now focus on small and important pleasures: good food, seeing people (at a distance) in the park, a chat with a friend. Those things have all come to mean more, and I suppose that in itself is a lesson on what’s really important.

What are your self-care tips at home?

Don’t forget your body. That sounds obvious, but whenever I feel a bit disconnected and enervated, I try to remember that my body also needs attention so make a daily effort to exercise, body brush, and moisturise. It’s my way of checking in with myself, and I find tending to it meditative.

What advice would you give to others that may be struggling?

To find things that don’t only divert but which also engage. I was too focussed on the former at first, and deciding to plough some brain power into something else really helped me. More specifically, I’ve decided to work and read more, both things I find very absorbing.


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