August 31, 2021
HE WHAKAARO / OPINION: Top tips for surviving lockdown
By Atakohu Middleton
Kaiako/Lecturer, Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau/Auckland University of Technology.
Well, there’s only one thing on everyone’s minds right now, and that’s the lockdown that we’ve been thrown into by that hussy Delta. Kātahi te hōhā; what a ginormous pain. The Tāne and I are at home in Auckland, from where we have been teaching online.
We’re now two weeks in, with two more at least to go (auē!) The Tāne and I are experts at hanging out together, given that we’ve been doing it for 20-something years, but the novelty of a national emergency has worn off. Still, I’ve had time to test a few tactics to handle the weirdness of lockdown, and here are my top four:
1: Lower expectations of everyone and everything, and of myself especially. Focus on what has to be done; the rest can wait. He rā anō ki tua.
2: Get exercise every day. It doesn’t always get rid of my occasional bouts of lockdown lethargy, which apparently is a thing, but walking does make me feel mildly virtuous and chilled (that is, if I don’t wind myself up by glaring over my mask at the many people not wearing one).
3. When I’m chained to my laptop and can feel frustration, boredom or irritation rising, karakia of the “Kia tau te mauri” (be calm and settled) type are helpful. Taking a minute to turn one’s focus elsewhere can be a circuit breaker.
4: One feed of covid news a day is enough, and that’s the 6pm news. Ka nui tērā; that’s plenty.
Curious to find out what works for others, I asked my Facebook whānau what lockdown survival tactics they had adopted, and here are some of them. They might be useful to you.
J said: “Be realistic, not idealistic. It’s ok not to ‘stay positive’ or ‘kia kaha’ i ngā wā katoa (‘stay strong’ all the time). Exercise gives me energy and routine retains a sense of purpose.”
B said: “If locked down with partner or others, choose a little thing to do together each day and if they become big things, roll with it.”
E said: “Forgive yourself if the kiddos get more screen time than they would normally. Oh, and I probably saw this on one of those annoying affirming mummy blogs, but it helped me: the kiddos won’t remember the details of the 83rd craft project you curated for them. They will remember how they felt during this time.”
Aunty E said: “My three are crocheting, aerobics with my favourite walk-at-home DVDs and cleaning small sections of my home.”
J suggested: “Host a Zoom quiz game with your team or family and friends. During the first lockdown, I used to do this every Friday afternoon with my team or weekends with my friends and family that I can't see, so that we all get a chance to have a bit of fun and connect with each other.”
R said: “Gotta have a bit of naughty!” She was talking about treat food.
D, who lives with a chronic condition, said, “Lots of lessons for lockdown to be learnt from people who stay inside a lot because of chronic illness/pain. The first is to keep the nervous system calm. Regular breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness stuff, gentle exercise. Look up at the sky often (don’t know why it works, but it does). Listen to lovely music and move with it. Don’t spend too long sitting down, especially if you’re working at the computer. Find some small joy in every day. Keep connected with your loved ones. And don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not your fault and it’s not easy.”
Radio Waatea and its board would like to advise that the opinions posted are those of Atakohu Middleton and not the views of Radio Waatea, its management or its board.
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