Lockdown Tips #3

This week, I’ve asked my good friend Tony, a social worker, to provide ‘Locky D’ tips for those of us living alone. I love what he’s written, and so apt for this time. 

I’m Tony – an avid Shirl’s Pearler. I’ve lived on my own in a little studio for the past 8 years, and have an active social life and a good network of friends. 

This has been challenged during the COVID situation. The key is staying connected. Here are the survival strategies that I’ve used.

  1. Get to know your neighbours

I schedule a weekly walk with my neighbour at 3pm every Monday. We make it an adventure by walking a different way each week and going down streets we’ve never gone to before. It’s a great way to chat about the week, explore, exercise and maintain a friendship! 

2. Surround yourself with positive people!

About 3 weeks ago, a friend organised a group online meeting to socialise. I thought this was a good idea, so I joined. During this meeting, 2 people dominated the meeting and just had a negative rant about things – such as people taking too long in the supermarket, a person not coughing correctly, another sneezing incorrectly, and all the doom and gloom of the world. I didn’t enjoy this, and thought it a pointless exercise as I did not want to be around the negativity.

I rang an acquaintance to reach out. By the way he was talking, you would think the world was about to end! Again, I just didn’t want to buy into the negativity and it did not serve me any purpose. He was saying extremely negative, unfounded statements and I didn’t want to hear it.

I now have to be a bit selfish and exercise self-care. It is a dilemma. I want to support people who may be struggling, while caring for myself at the same time. I’ve decided to focus on my own self-care and support, and reach out only to those who aren’t choosing to catastrophise the COVID situation and who maintain a positive attitude towards life.  

Have a bit of a routine where you ring a different person at the same time each night (or day) for a chat each week. They will expect your call, and it gives you something to look forward to.

3. Have informal online work meetings at work

I now attend online staff meetings. They have an important place.

What I also find useful is to have a couple of trusted colleagues with whom you can have an informal online catch-up – where you can talk about things that you may not feel comfortable talking about in person. This serves as a type of group supervision and is a good outlet to talk about work stressors.

4. Utilise your interests and what you can do (reading, golf, cooking, gardening?) 

I’m lucky that I play golf – and that’s one thing that is allowed. As you can only play in groups of 2 instead of 4, demand is high and tee-times are limited. I play once a fortnight instead of twice weekly. Still, it gets me out for a few hours; I can socialise with my golfing partner and play the game I love.

Get out your old recipe books and cook. I always knew Margaret Fulton would make a comeback!! I’m not a great cook, but I’m revisiting some old recipes. Cooking up a storm is fun and a good way to fill in time.

I’m not much of a reader – so to fill this void, I’ve asked my mother for a copy of my grandfather’s memoirs. I read a few pages a day; by the end of the month, I hope to learn more about a man I admired and felt some nostalgia for. Try reading Shirl’s Pearls too!!

We have a verge garden which I help look after. Doing some weeding and planting is a good time-filler. It’s also enjoyable! 

5. Reduce media watching & have a media detox!

The media love a good health crisis more than ever. They love to play on people’s fears and exploit our vulnerabilities. 

Don’t buy into the long-range COVID forecasts! The situation changes quickly and we simply don’t know what the future is long-term. It’s purely speculation and not worth getting caught up in. Just remember, it will end and it is only a matter of time before we get back to normal!

I watch the daily update and watch the news about twice a week. I think going for a few days without it is good for the mind …

6. Have a bubble buddy

I have a friend who lives locally who’s my ‘bubble buddy’. Each Friday night we take turns in hosting a get-together just for the two of us. The host cooks a meal, we have a few beers, watch the football and catch up.

This gives me something to look forward to and is always fun to do!

7. Stay right away from the non-conformists

There are many idiots out there who want to defy the rules, think that everything is a conspiracy, that vaccinations are a bad thing and that their self-entitled freedom is more important than community safety. Avoid them. They’re bad news and likely to be the ones who’ll catch this thing and spread it to others. I know of a lady who died this week who was one of these people. When she was sick, she said how much she regretted having these beliefs. 

Stay at home as much as possible and get vaccinated. Do your QR coding with vigilance and wear a mask at outdoor venues

Last words from Shirl: Always stay active. Include more raw fruit and vegetables in your diet so you’ll emerge from this lockdown fit and not a kilo heavier!   

Saw this on my walk today … let’s do it!!