Surreal is the word I would use for this week. It’s been hard watching the dominoes fall as businesses continue to close and the subsequent loss of customers and jobs across the board. It’s been heartening to see essential industries in the opposite position putting on people who’ve been stood down or lost their jobs. While I feel extremely grateful to still have a job – it’s been completely overwhelming to see the human cost and economic impact in our community. I spent most of this week ensuring La Trobe alumni could access LinkedIn Learning (one of our alumni benefits) and liaising with the team at LinkedIn regarding contractual issues, which has not been great timing given the demand for all things online by alumni and in general.
Within the La Trobe community, my colleagues have pivoted and launched the Student Crisis Appeal which went live yesterday. Like many people, our students rely on casual jobs in retail and hospitality to pay their rent and buy food as well as study. La Trobe University will match every dollar raised from alumni and private donors and our Senior Executive Group have already donated to the cause with 100% of funds going directly to students – many of who wouldn’t be able to continue to study without financial assistance.
Locally, if you can support Banyule businesses that are still operating, please do. While my friend Jonno from Valiant Barbers has temporarily closed up shop, Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training has moved to Zoom sessions online and limited outdoors sessions and I picked up four super delicious takeaway burrito bowls from Luis at The Pioneer Cafe yesterday in Rosanna.
If you can’t afford to pay for Zoom sessions, Yoga with Adriene is free on YouTube as well as La Trobe Sport’s #ActivationInIsolation series which will hold #MobilityMondays, #WorkoutWednesdays and #FlexibilityFridays. I’ve seen P.E. with Joe for children being promoted online and I know it’s really hard at the moment for working parents at home who have young children.
One of the reasons we moved to the suburbs was to give our children a backyard. As much as they’ve outgrown the cubby and sandpit, we have a basketball ring which may be our saving grace and I bought a badminton set online the other day which has brought out our competitive side as a family. If I had a garage, I’d definitely get my Miao Miao on and go full Asian buying a table tennis set – nothing like a bit of ping pong over winter!
Establishing a new routine will become really important in the coming days and weeks. I’ve already started walking to ‘work’ in what would ordinarily have been my morning car commute, setting up my home office (with a better outlook and a mostly well-behaved office dog who is loving the 24/7 company) and will be setting up similar spaces and routines for my kids as they move to online learning, which will definitely happen. I’ve already moved the social events I had on with friends to Zoom so we will still catch up online instead of in real life and I know younger friends are using Houseparty for group video chat or Netflix Party to watch movies with mates.
Hang in there – if you are one of the unlucky people who lost their job this week, then I am thinking of you. Please take care of your mental health, as much as your physical health. The coming months will be a test of our true character, courage and resilience dealing with the unknown and unknowable.