I do not want to start this article by stating all the bad things that covid-19 has brought us in the last two years. That’s not what this article is about: there are a few things that this pandemic has given us (note: these points by no means do outweigh all the horrible events that have taken place). One of these things is that people have become more connected with themselves. We all remember one of the first months when everyone started baking bread and started doing embroidery. These small new hobbies are closely related to the cottagecore aesthetic.
“But what is cottagecore?” Cottagecore is the aesthetic that romanticises the life on the English countryside by dressing in wide, colorful clothes and being disconnected from the internet. People that adhere to the aesthetic freely express their gender and sexuality. It is somewhat paradoxical, given that the adherents romanticise a time of the past where there was no internet, modern technology and little electricity, but live in the present and share their experience through modern media, such as TikTok or Instagram. This may raise the question why one would state that they live the true countryside life, when they portray themselves through social media. An answer to this paradox is that one may show the aesthetic to spread the amazing feeling that they are experiencing and call for the audience to join.
If you think that cottagecore has not entered your life yet, you are wrong. By solely addressing that Animal Crossing is based on the aesthetic, it is impossible to unsee it. But why has this aesthetic risen at this time? In my opinion, because we need it so bad. In this age, we are hopping from meeting to meeting and if we are by ourselves, we stay connected via smartphone 24/7. We seem to have gotten addicted to contact whether it is physical or mental. All of this disappeared when the coronavirus knocked on our door and everything became unsure and dangerous. It became almost mandatory to stay away from other people, and because everything was closed, no one was doing anything else than you were. This reduced the well-known 21st century anxiety of fear of missing out, given that there was nothing to miss out from.
This was some big theoretical framework, especially for an article, but it helps in understanding the problem that many are facing now that the measurements are slowly fading and everything seems to become “normal.” We are not that used to dealing with this much stress and contact anymore, so we get overstimulated and need a break. I experience it myself. I get stressed very easily, although there is truly nothing happening. Want some advice for not getting stressed? Get involved in the cottagecore aesthetic.
It might be some weird advice, but the aesthetic helps to put everything into perspective. I do not want to give you the good old “take a walk,” but try really experiencing nature. Go to a forest, Amelisweerd for instance, and just look up and listen. Take a notebook with you and write down everything that you hear. This mindfulness creates space in your head and how fun is the challenge for a musicologist to write down a sound that does not use notes. No time to go to a forest? First of all, that is not an excuse. There is always time to go to a forest. Secondly,another option is to buy a plant and stare at it and try drawing it. Is every plant dying in your hands? Also, not an excuse! Buy a bouquet (small tip: buy a plant at Ikea at the end of the day at the Circular Hub. This is where all the leftover plants come “to die,” but they are fine and cost way less than the new ones. A tip for bouquets is to go to the flower store at the end of the day, because every store gets fresh flowers every morning). All being said, I hope that this article will help you to relieve your stress.