At 4pm today I imagine that most of Tāmaki Makaurau were gripping their screens awaiting the announcement from Aunty Cindy telling us if we were coming out of Level 4. But alas many hopes were shattered when she added another week to what feels like a really long detention period. Understandably there is a lot of anxiety regarding many aspects of this pandemic but there are a few key things I have learnt since COVID reared its ugly head in Aotearoa that really helped me get through this current lockdown somewhat unscathed, and I would like to share three of these with you.
by Ria Reigns I 13 September 2021
Less is more!
In our first lockdown in 2020 I was working for an essential service which still operated at Level 4. Many of our floor staff had to physically go into work but I was one of the office staff that were able to work from home. At the same time of course, the kids were locked out of school and I found myself having to juggle Zoom calls and the kids constant need for attention or support to get their school work done. I remember in the first lock down I was NEK LEVEL stressed, trying to make sure the kids did EVERY part of the allocated work they were given. They complied sometimes but more often than not there was yelling and tantrums which created such a horrible atmosphere in the house and there wasn’t a lot of learning going on.
This lockdown I changed tactics. I was really worried at first because my son was now in Year 11 so they had NCEA Level 1 assessments on the line. However, I remembered how badly home-schooling went the first time and I wanted to avoid that atmosphere as much as possible. The first night of lockdown I reached out to all of his teachers and asked them what he needed to work on. As I heard back from them, I prioritised what was needed in each subject, explained it to him and then we agreed that he would do work in two subjects each day. If on a Friday he woke up not in the mood to do school work I let him have that day off and made him aware of what he will need to do on the following Monday to make up for it. The result has been amazing! Not only has he caught up on, and submitted a bunch of overdue assessments but he is now handing in things as soon as they are assigned. The best part about this is that school work has not been a source of contention in our house, so even though they are spending less hours on their school work, they are getting more done and the environment is calm.
Eating out is an expensive convenience!
I have never been a fan of cooking. For ten years I was a single working parent so I only cooked food that was fast, simple and would ensure the kids were full and healthy. As they got older and I got busier we moved more towards the convenience of takeaway food; and we also would regularly go for a late-night treat run to McDonalds for ice-cream and apple pies. When we snapped into Level 4 and takeaways were off the menu, I had to dust off the ole pots and pans and relearn how to use a stove!! Ok, it wasn’t that dramatic but you get the picture. I made a vague meal plan in my head and with a list in hand I headed to the supermarket to join the queues. When my first supermarket shopping cost over $400 I was like, Ummmm are you sure! I wonder if the attendant noticed how wide my eyes went! What happened though is that I noticed in the weeks to come that even though that seemed like a lot at the time, I actually had more money left over each week then normal. When I spend on takeaways, I don’t notice it as much because its $30 here, $20 there but if I actually took them time to add it up, I would find that I was spending a lot more then $400 on takeaways.
My goal now is that when the takeaways open back up that I will not rush to get a fix and that takeaways will be limited to special occasions – my bank account will thank me for it …. and I’m sure my hips will too!
You have to find something to be grateful for DAILY!
On one of my supermarket trips I was standing in a long queue and behind me were two women who were complaining about everything! I felt the Sasha-Fierce in me trying to get out to tell these two to quit their complaining as it was LITERALLY solving nothing. It was … Why do we have to wear masks? Why are the queues so long? This is all Jacintas fault (yip they called her JacinTA)! Why do these old people get to jump the queue? They’re not gonna die if they wait! Where’s their ID and so on and so on. Honestly, it was draining just hearing it.
As I listened to it, I questioned how much of my own time I spend complaining. I became super conscious of it and when I caught myself doing it, I immediately stopped and named three things I was grateful for. I am now also making a conscious effort to start my day naming at least three things I am grateful for so that I can start my day off in the right mindset.
I know that Lockdown life can become very overwhelming which is why it is even more important now to find even one thing EVERY day to be grateful for. If you focus more on what you do have then what you don’t have you will see a huge shift in life.
I am sure that most would prefer the pre-lockdown freedom that we had, but what also gets me through is knowing that this is only a temporary state and there are ways that we can adjust our thoughts, behaviours and habits to make it through this period.
Kia Kaha Aotearoa, we got this!
Enjoy the rest of Maori language week and stay blessed xox
Ria Reigns of Afakasi Scoop