The New Norm?

I am not sure about any of you but I am actually more “over” the news coverage of the COVID-19 “crisis” than I am of the new life we all are now living.

The sensationalism is scarier than living the reality here in Robinvale. Why? I believe that we are lucky in that we do not live in BIG regional or metro cities where people are in close proximity 24/7. In Robinvale we have some space between us and lots of places to go in solitude…be thankful for this as Robinvale and surrounds have not officially recorded any COVID-19 positive results at the time of me writing this article. However this does not allow or should it influence the “right thing to do”!

When we do go out remember to stay 1.5 meters from each other (average height of a “short” person sideways).


You may say what is that? It is ALL about social distancing and ensuring that we are very careful to stay at Home and self-isolate with our immediate families only and only go out to:

  1. Get groceries and essential supplies
  2. Get exercise (maximum of 2 people)
  3. Get essential medical and health services.
  4. Go to work if nominated as an “essential” worker, like the health service, pharmacists and our GP’s.

Now comes the real message I want to get across to you all today…how to look after yourselves during these unknown times which may go on for months? You will hear about the challenging times constantly on the TV and then see a lot of things at the Government level and the effect their policies are having on your ability to move about the community. That is all well and good and the message IS essential for us to come out the “other side” of this pandemic relatively untouched one hopes however there is another matter that I think is equally important!

The self-isolation means to most families’ additional time to spend with their kids, husbands etc and connecting in a way they have never possibly considered. A new way of living together, literally in each other’s space – normally not a good idea! My view on this is that it is a good thing that families are reconnecting and relearning about the importance of why they are a family. Now for the challenging part of self-isolation, those like myself who are on their own!

For those of us with a job we are the luckier for having time out from the borders of our homes…however my thoughts are with those people who are on their own at home with no regular visitors in the person. Mental health issues can become quite at the forefront of our thinking when we are home and there is no-one to interact with. What do you do? Well I have some personal tips that have actually helped me to cope. The first week was a disaster where I become very moody and cried. Why? I do not know however things got a lot better for me when I accepted the challenge of these times and put my life back in order.

The first thing that is essential is to develop a routine and stick to it. This act actually makes you more self-disciplined in all you do. From the time you wake up until the time you go back to bed have a routine – it does not have to be a timed routine but you must have something to focus on.

Then, have a list of all the jobs you have to do around the home both inside and outside in the garden. Write them down and tick them off as you complete them – very good for the soul and spirit as you complete the list and who knows we may have to revisit the list again depending on the length of time of our “new” life”? I told a friend in WA over the weekend via Facebook that my manic cleaning was “spring cleaning in autumn”. Having a busy job a lot of plants in my gardens out back and front were grateful to be released from the weeds and some were re-potted so they could breathe again! Was it satisfying…you bet and so was the well-deserved beer at the end of the day’s work.

Finally in the personal space, how do we cope with being apart from those we love? Husbands, sons, daughters, our beloved grand-children, brothers, sisters and our parents? Well I have utilised the FaceTime component to maintain “personal” contact with my darling husband and Charly, my dog…not the same as being together but necessary at this time and essential in keeping those we love safe. Keep in touch daily and even 5 minutes on line will reassure you that they are ok and is that not the most important thing at this time? If you have a family member OR friend who is on their own, check in with them regularly and make sure they are ok by chatting with them over the phone and if required, get their groceries for them. After all if you were in their shoes would you not want someone to do this for you?

Be respectful to all at this time…if you need to get groceries, remember shops have strict conditions imposed upon them so do not give anyone a hard time. Be understanding and most of all be KIND to others you do not know of what they are going through. The Pharmacists and staff are doing a great job under testing circumstances so be thankful we do have a great Pharmacy in town and do the right thing and do not crowd their business site. If you are told to queue and wait then do it with a smile.

Our GP’s in town – wow what an awesome job do they do under the most trying of circumstances. They are definitely the frontline of this pandemic and need to stay well to keep us well…telephone or telehealth consultations are the new norm as well and having personally experienced this type of consult it went ok. Dr Neyland, our established town doctor and Dr Jacobs and Dr Dharminder the new RFDS doctors working from the health service, are available for appointments and I refer you to the attached poster which details how you can access them. If you are concerned about anything ring and make an appointment being mindful that it will most probably be over the phone.

Do not forget that the Flu season is also upon us so you need to start thinking now of getting your Flu shot. Ask your GP or Pharmacist how you go about making a time to have your “jab”. It is important and having your Flu shot may assist you getting through these times.

My parting comment is that there will be an end to the COVID-19 virus. The question is when and no-one knows the answer to this. Australia is faring well when you consider what has happened elsewhere in the world. We are a lucky nation and I believe even luckier to live in Robinvale, Euston, Manangatang and surrounds, it is a beautiful part of Australia and will remain so. We need to be as one, a community that cares for each other, a community that seriously takes the social distancing rules seriously and maintains vigilance over the more vulnerable members – those that live alone. My challenge to you all is stop thinking about yourself and start thinking of others because we all matter and we all need to know that we are not alone!

These times are teaching us that we can survive this challenge and it should make us more thankful for the lives we had pre COVID-19 and whilst this is a glitch perhaps it is the re-set button we had to have!!!

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Stay well!

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