LivingNow has a wonderful community, with important and inspiring ideas to share.
Various experts in their fields share their thoughts on the COVID-19 situation, for now and heading into the future. Read community comments regarding changes to our lifestyles and offering helpful perspectives for going forward.
The unifying power of the arts
– Professor David Shirley, Executive Dean of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
The COVID-19 experience has emphasised the absolute centrality of the arts as a means of reassuring, educating, communicating, unifying and inspiring all sectors of society. Whilst it is undoubtedly the case the pandemic has brought the industry to its knees, it has also created opportunities for collaboration and shared experience. As has always been the case, the arts enable us to review the past, reflect on the present and re-imagine the future. In this way they provide the means by which we can begin to utilise shared experiences to build stronger communities and a healthy society.
The lockdown loop
– Jost Sauer, author, acupuncturist and therapist.
In Chinese medicine building immunity is an action. Immunity is not just what you take, it’s also what you say, think and do, and how you live. Immunity is not a standalone bodily system. All your organs power your ‘immune system’. So if you focus on improving your organ function you naturally get improved immunity.
The lockdown has encouraged an unhealthy cycle of sleeping in, waking to bad news or gossip on devices, paired with anxiety inducing coffee; snacking instead of meals, randomly working odd hours; feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety and fear, and screen bingeing late at night. All of this weakens your immunity, and saps your motivation.
The lifestyle medicine prescription: swap all the little habits that weaken your immunity and sabotage your health, for new habits that activate your inbuilt ward-off and bounce-back functions.
Getting up early is the most powerful medicine for mind, body and spirit – and it’s free. Take charge of your morning and you’ll be in charge of your health. Your day and your destiny will follow. Click HERE for the free chi cycle day planner PDF highlighting the do’s and don’ts of an immunity boosting day.
For health, repeat this routine five times (Monday to Friday). You can ease off on Saturday, and then do whatever you like on a Sunday!
The end of soldiering on while sick
– Professor Stephen Teo, Associate Dean (Management) and workplace culture expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
COVID-19 should make us rethink the typically Aussie ethos of soldiering on through illness. Sickness ‘presenteeism’ at work has risks: not only in the cost to organisations, but also the potential cost to lives. Managers must show leadership in rejecting the negative ‘sickie’ culture and reinforcing the message to stay home when you’re sick.
Finding calm in a changing world: connect to the breath
– Kerrie Clayton Dip.Aroma, Dip.Nut, Cert.CT, Reiki Master.
As world events continue to challenge us, finding the space to feel connected, calm and clear can be difficult. For many of us, work, school and social norms may have changed completely. Yet as things in some parts of the world slowly return to normality, we know that this is a new normal we are now living. The days may seem to have morphed into one, as the previous structures and supports we have built our lives upon have changed, perhaps permanently.
Finding calmness in the midst of all this may not be easy but can be just what we need right now. For me, connecting to the breath throughout the day can be a wonderful anchor point. Taking a few deep slow breaths sounds simple but can provide a link between the mind and body, connecting us back to ourselves and to the present. If you like, you can even place your hand on your abdomen to feel it rise and fall. A few deep breaths, whenever we find ourselves rushing or feeling stressed, can be a simple way to slow down and connect.
No more vulnerable children slipping through the net
– Dr Eileen Slater, lecturer and education expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
When COVID-19 pushed Australia into remote learning, it forced the government to emphatically acknowledge the inequity that exists in our education system. They used the argument that many Australian children are vulnerable, and that school is an essential support structure for those children, to push Australian children back into the classroom as soon as practicable. Now let’s fund the schools that support our most vulnerable children and their families in ways that remove this inequity.
It works to give thanks ahead of time
– Joyce Vissell is a nurse/therapist and counsellor near Santa Cruz.
We have a very dear friend, Sister Sally, who lives in South Africa. She runs The Holy Family Care Centre for 76 orphans, many of whom have HIV or AIDS, making them very vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. Like us, they were also required to ‘shelter in place’. The children, some of whom are babies, are all home from school for the rest of the year. They are a five-hour drive to the nearest hospital in Limpopo. She has ten volunteers and some of them cannot speak English. Of these volunteers, one has limited nursing training. Sister Sally is in charge of keeping all of these vulnerable children, as well as her volunteers, safe and healthy. This would be an overwhelming task for anyone.
I spoke to Sally, and her energy and spirits were high. On the phone, she expressed all of the things that she is grateful for, like the fact that she has ten volunteers who are willing to stay given the obvious risks. She is practising thanking God ahead of time for protection.
The act of gratitude is keeping her going and keeping her spirits up
Perhaps you found it difficult to shelter at home for an unknown amount of time. Perhaps you have fears that you will get the virus. Or that someone you love will die from it. Or you will lose your job and have financial hardship. Maybe it is difficult to feel your purpose and energy while you sit at home day after day. Perhaps you are afraid that life will never return to normal, and you can hug people without fear, go to dances, sporting events, religious services, or just have a large family dinner together.
The practice of giving thanks ahead of time, with the hope that one day a gift will come to you from all of this, can bring you through even the hardest time. As you do this day by day, your gratitude will become stronger than any fear you can have.
LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the post-COVID world
– Dr David Rhodes, senior lecturer and social justice in education expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
The coronavirus has had significant impacts on marginalised groups, including LGBTIQ+ people. Many LGBTIQ+ youth have been forced into isolation during the lockdown within hostile environments, sometimes with unsupportive families. Upholding the rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ+ people in a time of fear and tenuous rights and freedoms is vital.
A steep learning curve leading to more connection
– Simone Maus facilitates organisational and group transformations and coaches facilitators.
The current crisis has exaggerated how we are making decisions as a collective to navigate change. The COVID-19 health pandemic and the consequent decisions that world governments have made brought up a lot of new and different emotions in many of us. In the democratic first world, we have not experienced this type of autocratic decision-making by our governments – which impacted on our liberties and our freedoms – since not long after the end of the last world war in the 1950s. For many of us, this is before our lifetimes. So this was an experience that was very new for us, but not so new for our parents and grandparents.
I don’t know how you went with that, but for me, it started with rebellion and feeling restricted until I tapped into the social and collective responsibility that each of us had to help to stop the spread of the virus.
Kids’ books can help bridge the racial divide
– Dr Helen Adam, senior lecturer and children’s literature expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
The COVID-19 crisis has seen a stark contrast between the sentiment of ‘we’re all in this together’ and an increase in racism and xenophobia. Coupled with the #BlackLivesMatter movement we face a vital point in world history bringing long overdue opportunities to build a more equitable world. Sharing diverse books with children is one way educators and families can support children’s understandings about diversity and social justice and contribute to a drive for change in a post-COVID world.
There is no other side of COVID-19
– Lesley Menere, mental health nurse, lomilomi practitioner, budding author.
There is no other side of the virus. There is only ever now, a now where your thoughts plant the seeds for tomorrow. Whatever hopes, fears and aspirations you nurture today will produce the growth of reality for tomorrow. Within the world of corona nothing is quite the same any more and so, as we envision a world ahead, I say create the best version of yourself in the now, dig deep into your past experience, and when you feel yourself wrapped up in your fears, activate your imagination and dream bigger, brighter and more loving outcomes for the world of tomorrow.
The slippery slope toward a cashless society
– Tim Roach, lecturer and taxation and cash economy expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the shift towards a cashless society, a shift that will result in winners and losers.
While banks and many retailers are happy to see the end of cash, disadvantaged Australians who may be homeless or struggling with technology face a range of issues as payment using digital means becomes the norm and possibly the only means of payment.
And what of ‘The Cashie? Will the increase in use of digital payments stop the time-honoured tradition of trades-people and other businesses giving a discount for ‘cash jobs’ that are then not reported for tax and other purposes? Add to this a rise in conspiracy theorists who claim the removal of cash is another way of removing civil liberties and we have a situation where reports on the death of cash may be premature.
Managing mental health with yoga
– Jacinta Brinsley, PhD candidate, University of South Australia.
The ancient practice of yoga could provide a sustainable exercise alternative for thousands of people isolating at home, as new research from the University of South Australia, shows that movement-based yoga can significantly improve mental health.
The world-first study conducted in partnership with the Federal University of Santa Maria, UNSW Sydney, Kings College London and Western Sydney University found that movement-based yoga improves the mental health of people living with a range of mental disorders, with the benefits being incremental with the amount of yoga they practised.
Exercise has always been a great strategy for people struggling with feelings of loneliness and disconnection as it boosts both mood and health. Our research shows that movement-based yoga improved symptoms of depression (or improved mental health) for people living with a range of mental health conditions including anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and major depression. So, it’s very good news for people struggling in times of uncertainty.
Your body knows
– Professor Ken Nosaka, Director of Exercise and Sports Science at Edith Cowan University, WA.
COVID-19 threw a curve ball at sports players, gym junkies and weekend warriors alike. For some, they found other ways to stay active at home during isolation. But for others, they may find bad habits are easy to fall back into.
The good news is our bodies are very good at remembering what our muscles did (muscle memory). So it won’t be too challenging to get your fitness back. However, we need to take it slowly and carefully to avoid injuries. It’s especially important for those who are sedentary to get active. Start by standing up and moving every 30 minutes, doing squats while watching TV or brushing your teeth. Start with five simple exercises a day and build from there.
Keep parents out of classrooms; it’ll help the kids
– Dr Mandie Shean, lecturer and children’s resilience expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
Forced separation at the school gate has allowed children to flourish because they have had to be independent.
When we step back from children we get to see how capable they are. It can feel helpful and kind by doing everything for them, but in essence we undermine them. They never get to learn that they are capable (I can unpack my bag), that they can cope with their feelings (I can calm myself down), and that they can depend on themselves.
It is easy to over support children because you care. But sometimes really caring means letting them do it without you. I hope when this is finished parents who tend to be over involved see their children as strong and capable, and continue to provide them with opportunities for independence.
Australian manufacturing must be smart
– Dr Flavio Romero Macau, senior lecturer and supply chains expert at Edith Cowan University, WA.
The post-COVID world reopens the conversation but does not change the fundamentals of Global Logistics. Made in Australia must be a strategic move, not a free for all. Otherwise we will pay the price for industries that are not competitive. Where to go next? Look for what is new, unique, complex, where we can go from strength to strength as a country. Find opportunities, where there is a gap and agility is rewarded. Look for products where quality and reliability are central, as that’s how Australia is recognised in the world.