Brave is what we are all going to have to be in the coming weeks and months. It’s been a long week for most of us. Like many, I had a trial day working from home during the week (and one of my children trialling online learning) before moving indefinitely to working and learning from home from tomorrow. In the space of 48 hours, I had to ensure my VPN was working and move to Zoom video conferencing, Cisco Jabber and a private WhatsApp group with daily check ins with my team and weekly catch ups with my manager. I did joke to my Director that he’ll be a digital native in no time.
All jokes aside, I think many people are in shell shock – at least the ones who are taking coronavirus seriously. I’ve already witnessed real fear and worry from people in my circle and it’s justified given that dreams and plans for this year have been impacted and livelihoods are now at stake. Fear and worry are no good to you, you must take action and do all that you can to buy yourself time in terms of talking to your bank regarding your mortgage or business loan, your private school if you have children there, moving to an online format if you’re a service provider (my pilates teachers are going to do this) and if you provide a personal service of some kind ensuring you have adequate resources available if you need to close up shop or reduce staff – many cafes have moved to takeaway and home delivery including my friend Luis at The Pioneer Cafe in Rosanna. The National Debt Helpline is offering free advice from a financial counsellor on 1800 700 700 if you need to speak to someone about your situation. I am hopeful that some people can quickly move from denial and panic to acceptance and innovation – necessity is the mother of all invention.
I am feeling for all casual and gig economy workers, the frail and elderly, those who have disabilities, chronic illness or homeless and other vulnerable people out there in the community who are at most risk in terms of paying rent or having somewhere to live, losing their jobs or their lives. And its these people we need to keep in mind, as well as our own parents and grandparents, instead of frolicking carelessly on the beach at this point in time. As things become incredibly serious and much more deadly in the coming months, I hope the messages of our government and Chief Medical Officer start to hit home especially for those people who seem to think they’re invincible.
Ensure you’re subscribing to a credible news source like the ABC, The Age or The Guardian rather than relying on social media (and also limit the amount of times per day you check the news if you are feeling anxious). I worked with Dr Norman Swan (and Shane Delia) a couple of years ago on the Bold Thinking Series lecture on the Mediterranean Diet. He is a smart and funny man who is currently hosting the ABC’s Coronacast but even he is deferring to official news and medical opinion. Shane Delia in the meantime has temporarily closed his business for the next two months and he sadly won’t be the only person in hospitality who now needs to do this.
While Coles and Woolworths are ramping up and re-starting their home delivery grocery service soon, I have been able to place an online order with Your Grocer and I know some local mums who subscribe to Hello Fresh. Mr Rosanna and I also dropped in to Leo’s in Heidelberg yesterday which was surprisingly calm and were able to do a shop sans toilet paper but have managed to find an online supplier. Farmers Markets too are still open for business at this time but I’d encourage you to please practice social distancing.
Mental health is just as important as physical health at this time. While I use Simply Being, there are many other meditation apps out there including Smiling Mind and Calm. Buy yourself some indoor plants if you don’t have a pet, backyard, courtyard or balcony and give yourself something else to look after during this time. Also make sure you’re properly set up at home with an office chair and desk (or makeshift desk), adequate lighting and any other office equipment you might need – keyboard, headphones, monitors etc if you are working from home as it could be a long haul ahead of us.
Take care, stay safe and be well. One day at a time…