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Living with COVID - an opinion piece
We’ve been gearing up to ‘live with COVID’ for almost 2 years now and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. In this opinion piece, one of our members, Mike Perry is sharing his thoughts on how you can deal with events that bring uncertainty…
One of the biggest issues we face these days is information overload, and the speed at which this information reaches us has increased phenomenally. When we consider how easy it is for us to access this information - Googling, for example, then it is no wonder that the proverbial 'grapevine' is bursting with energy from the large amount of ‘fertiliser’. Don't get me wrong, fertiliser is good, but the old cliche 'everything in moderation' still stands. Too much though, and the grapevine will give you lots of leafy matter and very little fruit.
With so much varying information - no wonder everyone finds the whole COVID-thingy confusing, frustrating and worrying.
Where we currently sit with the COVID pandemic is like being in the recovery phase of a hard landing in a plane where the oxygen masks have fallen from the overhead locker. Remember the safety briefing?
"...in the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you… if you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then help the other person".
The key piece of advice here is to make sure you are not endangering yourself through your action, or inaction and to look after yourself first.
The advice is not about being self-centered at the cost of all others - it's about looking after yourself so you are able to then help others. Looking after 'you' at this point is not mutually exclusive from helping others either. More often than not, actions you take to make 'you' more resilient, will have a ripple effect on your community - they will see you thriving, they will benefit from your ability to keep providing and hopefully that will drag them along with you.
Once you have ticked the 'me' box you can comfortably focus more on the 'others' box - bearing in mind the service and tune you have given yourself isn't a once off - you need to check in regularly. How many times have you heard someone say "I've been so busy helping out with [insert philanthropic act here] that I didn't realise I was so run down".
Here are some points to think about regarding our current pandemic situation:
Where are we at?
1. We know there is an issue and it has been around for a few years now.
2. Is it the first ever pandemic? No.
3. We know that the current handling of the pandemic has been less than wonderful (this is partly criticism, partly not, see below for why).
4. Australia has had a very disparate response based on State and Territorial variations in Governance.
5. Confusion has arisen, partly due to the above, but also due to large and continuous amounts of fertiliser being applied to that grapevine.
6. We are absolutely reducing restrictions, maybe, but we're not sure...
7. Most importantly, people are hurting - physically, mentally, socially, and so on so...
Where are we going?
1. It's not unreasonable to visualise a situation where life returns to some form of normality.
2. There is a distinct possibility (and it should be a definite) that rules and restrictions will change - some will be relaxed, some will be strengthened or modified.
3. This not only applies to the health aspect of things but the everyday life stuff too - eg. the Attorney General's Department now allowing remote witnessing of Notices of Intended Marriage.
4. We must adapt because the current pandemic surely will.
5. We can analyse the past, and the present, but the future is mostly prediction so...
What can we do?
1. Refer to "Rule No.1" - look after yourself - then the rest follows.
2. Have a good look at what we can currently do, as opposed to what we used to do - and innovate.
3. In a lot of cases this may mean some changes, like conducting more business online, or diversifying business offerings, as examples.
4. If your innovation requires a scrum to move a mountain of muscle then drag your team mates in and make it a co-ordinated effort.
5. Remember: if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got!
If you want to keep abreast of COVID specifics then this is currently a good link https://afda.org.au/covid19/ (maintained by the Australian Funeral Directors Association) - because they give a concise tabular summary of restrictions etc but also provide links to each State and Territories governing site. Or the broader federal view at https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/about.
Loved the article and the metaphor of the oxygen masks and making sure we put ours on first. As a Marriage Celebrant in training, keeping up to date with the changes and looking at how others are doing things in the new COVID environment is very interesting.