Who Switched On The Light? A Book Review

Who Switched On The Light? A Book Review

Pina Di Donato’s has emerged to the self-help arena with her newly released book Who Switched the Lights On?

Self-described; it is a companion guide for the person ready to have an illuminated life.

The 158-page paperback is easy to read, down to earth, humble and give’s a first person account of the author’s journey after reaching 40; living more consciously and mindfully.

Anecdotal, the conversational tone makes it a breeze to read; like a warm chat between friends, a rarity for many self-help books.

Themes of friendships, leadership, life, children, along with timing and entanglement feature throughout and it felt like a beginners guide when you start to get that itch that says life might need some attention and some cleaning out of the metaphoric cobwebs.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

“Who Switched the Lights On? is essentially a book about life; my life. More than a self-help book, it is a journey over time which highlights my growth and the things I was able to learn, or unlearn, along the way. It is my hope, that by coming along with me as I adjust to the light, clear out the cobwebs, and work through my process of ‘un-conditioning’, that you too will be inspired to shine a light on your own life and adjust the brightness until it’s just perfect for you” says Di Donato on her website. 

The lens of the author is transparent and poised, wordsmithed with pleasing honesty and the hum of authenticity. 

About the Author

Pina Di Donato is an avid philanthropist, business person, highly experienced marketing professional and author. Pina lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her three children.

https://www.booktopia.com.au/who-switched-the-lights-on–pina-di-donato/book/9780648792741.html

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Who Switched On The Light? A Book Review

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Messages of Hope From Brisbane-based Poet Tom Stodulka

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Messages of Hope From Brisbane-based Poet Tom Stodulka

Messages of Hope From Brisbane-based Poet Tom Stodulka

Written by Renae Failla

Around the world, lockdown and isolation continue with long term impacts of COVID-19 lurking, many are struggling to come to terms with what a COVID Normal will look like.

Tom Stodulka, named 2019 Australasian mediator of year is reinforcing messages of positivity in these challenging times. Contrasting COVID-19 to experiences of war, he reminds Australians of how we have overcome and survived what has been thrown at us. “Sometimes it is easy to forget that as a nation, we’ve survived wars, conflicts, depressions, and economic uncertainty all before COVID-19,” And stresses focusing on the small moments of positivity to help get us through “We should remember that life is about enjoying what we can in every single moment. Enjoy the world around you, because happiness is found in every single one of those moments, especially when you’re being active and creative.”

Tom is no stranger to life’s hardships, with his birth taking place in Bathurst 1951 in one of Australia’s post-WWII refugee camps after his parents fled Czechoslovakia in 1947 during a time of political unrest, while his older brother was born in a UN Displaced Persons Camp in Italy. His parents primarily spoke German in his childhood years which added an extra burden to his school years and English essay writing. Seemingly a very distant memory, Tom went on to study law, join the Royal Australian Navy and secure a full-time career as a mediator and facilitator.

He is now an inspiration to people all over Australian. With three reprints of his first book and the support of his loving wife and three children, Tom now hopes to spread messages of hope to Australians experiencing their own hardships.

His new book Life is a Dance, explores the way in which we are challenged as life unfolds but despite whatever is thrown our way, life is about enjoying what we can in every single moment. Hence, Life is a Dance, not a journey. 

So as we wake up each morning and type “Daily Coronavirus cases” in our Google Search Engine to read the news and lasting impacts COVID-19 is having around the world to determine when we will go back to work full time, when we will be able to see our family, ponder on when we will be able to leave the house without a mask, wonder when we will next be able to travel overseas… it’s important to find the positivity to enjoy that singular moment – Like the added time at home with a loved one, your newfound cooking skills, the opening of your new business or the introduction of a new exercise routine. Celebrate those small wins!

Tell us more about your latest book.

It’s exciting to have a second book out there called Life is a Dance it’s a follow on from a previous book that I wrote about 2 years ago called Storm Clouds and Silver Linings: My Journey and I thought rather than repeat the word ‘journey’ I would try and look at things from a different perspective and again look at things positively with ‘Life is a Dance’. Someone then said to me when they stumble they did part of a dance and I think that’s very positive.

Some people have asked me why the word dance and when you think of music and people’s need for entertainment and gaining some pleasure or joy often people meet in life through dancing, certainly in the old days – maybe not so much now but it’s nice to think of those concepts and those actions of people dancing. Whether they danced together, alone or in a group a lot of people are inspired by dancing – sometimes in a group running across cultures like for example Australian, Indigenous, European, African, Asian and South American so there is a cultural play in it too.

Fun fact: The cover of Life is a Dance features the backdrop of a painting of a Bush Fire scene that Tom’s Dad had painted in the 80s. He selected it as the cover of “Life is a Dance” as Australia was going through the intense bushfires last year when the book was being prepared for publication.

Can you tell us what inspires you to write poetry?

It’s something that is inspired by nature, our surroundings and people because the poems in both books are about people and about trees and the changes in weather and scenery. Many aspects of Nature are a given in our lives but its not always positive with storms, cyclones and droughts but there is always a perception that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s a change in the seasons or a change in the weather. When you think of the terrible droughts across Australia a year ago and the bushfires and then it’s a very Australian thing to think of a return to a better result with sea change in the weather and people have been over the moon across the country to have their dams full again or to be able to grow plants and agriculture is thriving in many ways again thanks to the changes of the weather. There’s a connectivity between everybody and everybody in Australia is affected by the things that occur right across the country.

So many people have been looking for positives despite all the stresses that they have experienced. Just to hear today that all the kids are going back to school today in Victoria and its sort of like a new beginning for so many people – there’s an amazing hope again. There are some people who have really struggled with COVID and the lack of connection with their friends and family. As you may know, I am a mediator so I work a lot with families with conflict and dispute and that’s something that from working in the field you’re always looking at remaining positive.

With poetry, like music, there are so many ways to be creative in our world.

 

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During the COVID-19 what has kept you inspired?

Always to think in a positive light (7.31) because magazines like yours that are real community literature, I’ve been reading those because magazines like that are able to pick up what’s happening in society and what people are doing, what’s inspiring people to keep going or do things differently. All these new ideas – fantastic new ideas like Food Services for people working in hospitals, they were really struggling to get their meals and to virtually keep going. These community incentives, community motivation and community-driven to feed thousands of people that are sort of futurists in a way whether its writers or musicians – some of these writers capture the moment noticing all the good things despite the stresses. One of these positives, for example, is the loads and loads of wattle that line this road in the Sunshine Coast.

I’m very inspired by people and what they are doing like the people living with very serious illnesses, these people that have lived through some of the most tragic experiences can come out being so positive. Like Turia Pitt for example or the lady that lives up in Sunshine Coast in Maroochadyre who had a fall doing some things around the house and it just didn’t put her off she just came back being stronger than ever before and that’s what can make life better for so many people.

I have developed this perspective as a mediator to work with the concept of a ‘glass half full’ so you can give it your best shot and get the people you are working with to adapt and adopt an idea or concept of looking at things which can be helpful.

 

Can you pick one of your most memorable poems and explain why?

On page 42 of my latest book Life is a Dance there is one that is dedicated to my writing teacher Linda Henderson. It was her amazing capacity to inspire and encourage people to recognise that they have actually got something to give by their writing. This poem talks to the influence of people around you which not only focuses on messages of hope like many of my other poems but is a different aspect of positivity.

Below is an excerpt from Life is a Dance:

Imagination and reflections 3 April 2018 by Tom Stodulka

The Commonwealth Games are about to begin.

Let the best win,

Let the other’s too enjoy the din.

And bask in the glory and the sun.

You fantasise many a thing,

What may it all bring?

Even one day a lotto win.

Reality lost, as reality is not always kind.

May even start playing on your mind.

And get you into a bind.

You try to be a cool dude.

Hopefully never rude.

Patience sometimes sorely tested.

Still staying in control.

Though not always very droll.

The drum may start to roll

Beating at your very soul.

The bell also may toll.

Sharing and caring are best.

As you ride high upon the eagle’s crest.

Full of zest.

Taken up to the very highest nest.

You still soar and conquer, but too often never rest.

Let the young give you a jolt,

Just like a young colt.

Give up some of that control,

As you accept, that you too may one day have to accept the dole.

Imagined for certain.

Just avoid the final curtain.

What’s next? And how has COVID-19 impacted your planning?

I’m hoping there might be a third book in the works. I have thought I might not be able to manage a third book with me writing less – I’ve only written 10 poems in the last year whereas previously I was writing 1 or 2 a week and I think COVID has had that slightly negative impact in some ways I should have more time but then works picking up again and there is a lot of working via zoom and phone and this completely different way of operating. The very nature of life has changed, there’s no more of that going out to have a coffee before meditation starts and that interconnection with people has been very important to my life.

The coffee culture has changed and all of a sudden we have lost that ability to meet up, we’re now so restricted and that can have an impact on you. That’s why it’s important to write about the positives.

To learn more about Tom or purchase his new book Life is a Dance for $24.99, head to his website.

 

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How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

Written by Karen Brooks

Here we are at the tail end of a year that, in its numerical configuration alone (2020) promised so much.

Instead of clarity, pragmatism and all the other positive meanings that arise when we used to think of 2020, many of us have encountered sickness, death, loss of income, stability, isolation, family crises, never mind sadness, fear, and familial, social and state divisions. 

Throughout these long months, the arts – music, dance, poetry, prose, films, TV, clips and events on social media etc – have played an enormous role in helping us cope with the harsh reality of Covid-19 and its fallout – including the endless dismal and doom-laden news-cycle. This has enabled us to appreciate, perhaps in ways we haven’t before, the integral role the arts play in helping us understand and define what it is to be human.  

Books and fiction especially provide a measure of unquantifiable comfort in harrowing times.

 

They allow readers to escape, even briefly, the cruel or mundane veracity of the everyday and walk vicariously in someone else’s shoes, to safely experience their emotions and undergo a journey that, more often than not, resolves in a satisfying way.

More than just bibliotherapy (which is how the psychological and emotional consolation books offer is sometimes described), books can be personally transformative and, most certainly, transportative as well.

After all, when the going seems tough, there’s always a story to fall into, a lexical journey to embark upon, and sometimes quite literally lose yourself in.

According to recent studies, reading has increased anywhere from 37% – 41% during  the pandemic.

While some folk sought eschatological narratives (end of the world scenarios) in order to perhaps channel their own fears, others turned to the classics, re-read old favourites, reached for their enormous TBR piles – some of which contained books they’d been promising themselves for decades (War and Peace anyone?), found the time to increase their knowledge around certain topics (racism, politics, history etc), or took the opportunity to read genres they’ve never tried before.  

One British study simplified people’s choices as those who “read for exploration and those who re-read for safety”.  

At home, curled up in a chair or in bed, reading of other people, periods and places, is a panacea that both soothes the soul and fires the imagination. It reminds us that while we might be doing it hard (whether that’s because of the pandemic, loss, grief, sad memories, poor health, relationship issues, anger, parenthood etc), struggling or triumphing, these are what humans have done since time immemorial. We’re remarkably resilient. Sometimes, the only way to recognise and appreciate that characteristic, to understand we too will get through this, is within fiction.  

What’s evident is that books offer something few other options can: they’re the word equivalent of comfort food and we’re hungry for it.

Gratitude for what creative artists have given us during lockdown – through their books, art, music, film, dance, TV, social media, cyber-performance etc – has been loud and clear right around the world. What a pity our government cannot acknowledge the importance of the arts and artistes; their intrinsic social, cultural and personal value, choosing instead to cut funding to important bodies and prizes, or offer meagre and competitive grants and loans – and at a time when both the creators and the grateful public need the arts most.

Creative artists are both inventors and curators of culture, of our collective imaginations and hearts. Their work worms its way into our souls and minds, becoming part of individual histories, our memories; they’re a short-cut to a moment in time, even to a version of ourselves we no longer recognise – for better and worse.

Books allow us to escape the nightmare of the present (or past) and dream of other spaces, possibilities; of different ways of being. They enable us to move beyond the present and imagine a different future and even, in our darkest moments, a better one.

About Karen: 

 Dr. Karen Brooks: is an Author,  columnist, social commentator and academic. Karen is also a part of a gorgeous brewery in Tasmania with her partner. The brewery and the authory keep her busy!

www.karenrbrooks.com

Twitter: KarenBrooksAU

Associate Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow IASH, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland.

Join Karen for great conversations and sharing on FaceBook: Karen Brooks Author – love to have you!

 

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How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Children

How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Children

Written by Katie Moore

The benefits of reading are hugely impactful in many different areas of your child’s life, and not just in the classroom.

Reading builds your child’s imagination, increases their vocabulary and helps them develop critical social and communication skills that will prepare them well for later in life.

Reading can also help kids become more emotionally literate with both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. This in turn helps them become more open when it comes to talking about how they’re feeling. 

It’s obvious that reading can help your children in school, but studies have shown that it goes beyond mere English lessons. A UK study by the Institute of Education showed that reading for pleasure can increase a child’s cognitive development across many areas, including a 9.9% advantage in mathematics. 

Reading helps your child build wider knowledge about the world around them, exposing them to different cultures, perspectives and ideas from the comfort of their own home.

Reading helps your child build wider knowledge about the world around them, exposing them to different cultures, perspectives and ideas from the comfort of their own home.

On top of all that, reading gives your children a fantastic alternative to screens. This year, and with the on-set of the pandemic ourchildren – and ourselves – are spending more time than ever in front of a screen. Living, learning and evolving online.

We’d all love ourchildren to spend a little less time glued to a device or TV series, but it couldn’t be more important today, to make time for a book.

So, the benefits of reading are clear. But how can parents encourage regular reading and eventually foster a lifelong love of books?

Use this Book Week to re-introduce the habit of reading, whether that time is every day, before bed or even a specific time slot set aside each weekend; here are some simple tips and tricks to help make the activity a regular, enjoyable experience for your child.

Make it a regular activity

Reading regularly with children is very important. The minimum recommendation is to read a book a week with your children, however I believe that once a day is a better baseline to aim for. Build reading into your child’s everyday bedtime routine, and soon it’ll become as regular as brushing their teeth. 

Select the right book

Having the ability to select the right book seems to be an important factor in children’s excitement around reading: nearly three-quarters of kids aged 6–17 (74%) responded to a Scholastic Kids study to say that they would read more if they could find more books that they like.

In my own home, I foster my children’s love of reading by building excitement throughout the day. Each afternoon we select our bedtime book – one book for each child – and pop it on their beds. My children get so excited to narrow down their book selection that it makes it easier to get them to bed, because they know they have that specially selected book waiting for them. 

 

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Give back control

While screen time requires at least some parental control, reading is a safe independent alternative – as long as you’ve checked the recommended reading age, of course!

A trip to the library or bookstore can also help build a sense of ownership around reading, especially if you let the kids have total control over what they select. 

Start a discussion

I try to build a discussion around the books we’re reading, instead of simply shutting the book and being done with it. Instead, we have a little chat about what’s happening as we go through, or talk about what we thought about the story when we’ve finished, including how the different characters must have felt. It’s a great way to help their comprehension of the story, and work on building their emotional vocabulary. 

Start young

While it’s never too late to introduce a child to books and reading, it’s ideal to nurture it in them from birth. It doesn’t always have to be a traditional written story per se: you can still find a lot to explore in a basic picture book, with many different things to point out and talk about through illustration alone. 

Credits

About Katie Moore, founder of Luxuread:

Katie Moore is the founder of Luxuread, a book subscription box that delivers a hand-picked book every single month alongside indulgent treats from Australian producers. Created in 2018, Luxuread is helping adults and kids alike take time out of their busy days to sit down, relax, and read. To date, Luxuread has sent out over 5,000 boxes filled with incredible reads and indulgent treats to customers around Australia and beyond. Katie has recently launched Luxuread Kids, sending children three surprise books tailored to their age every month. https://luxuread.com.au/

Photo credit Katie Moore

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Torrens University and Beyond Blue Launch Free Mental Health Course

Torrens University and Beyond Blue Launch Free Mental Health Course

Written by Renae Failla 

Warning: This article deals with the sensitive topic of suicide and mental health. If you (or someone you know) need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 available 24/7. You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

It’s no surprise that during the first stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of Australians have claimed their mental health was impacted.

(PLoS ONE, Acute mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.)

The very real fact is that people have taken their own lives as a result of the pandemic crisis for an abundance of reasons, be it the loss of jobs, the closing of small businesses, halts to education, life milestones and isolation.

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, Torrens University and Beyond Blue have joined forces to run a free online short course exploring experiences of people living with depression and their journeys.

The four-week course will begin on Monday 26th October 2020 and is titled Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience. While the course is presented by Torrens University lecturers, those who partake will also get to hear directly from people who have lived with depression as well as Beyond Blue representatives.

Kath Curry, General Manager of Health and Education at Torrens University comments “We talk a lot about mental health, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to support someone from the outside looking in.” The course will aim to help people take the first step in supporting someone with their recovery journey by ultimately stepping into the shoes of someone who has had a first-hand experience.

The inevitable COVID spike in people experiencing depression and related symptoms has made it more important than ever to address mental health and equipping people with the tools to identify what depression looks like.

Georgia Harman, CEO of Beyond Blue stresses the variability of depression in each person “Depression may not look the same for everybody – and that’s why it’s important to learn the signs. It’s also important to note that depression doesn’t only affect the individual experiencing it, it also affects those around them. This course – designed by lived experience experts – will help people ‘on the outside’ to better  understand, connect with and respond to those living with depression.”

Meet Paul Grainger – Torrens University Australia Success Coach

We had a chat with Paul Grainger, Torrens University Australia Success Coach, Blue Voices member and mental health guest speaker. Paul is 27 years old and has experienced both anxiety and depression as well as a family history of suicide. For Paul, his first experiences of depression and suicidal thoughts began when he was only 16 and peaked again at the age of 23 where a myriad of thoughts ran through his head and he thought he was at the end of the road. Paul unknowingly took the steps to help himself ending up at the local hospital and being discharged 4 days later.

Since then, Paul has changed his perception and approach to life with the assistance of friends and work managers. Friends and colleagues have been ears to listen without inferring judgement or solutions which he believes is important and was exactly what he needed.

Amidst COVID-19, one of the most difficult times for many, Paul not only graduated with Bachelor of Business from Torrens University but has begun his role as a Success Coach. Paul stresses at this time it is imperative to be “radically kind to ourselves” and reframe every experience to “give pain purpose”.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

In preparation for the course, what are some tips that you would give to young people living with depression based on your own personal experience?

Simply, remove the pressure, explore your curiosity, let go of the expectations created by society; ‘you do you’, as the expression goes. Throughout school I was a dreamer, an entrepreneur, an athlete, an academic; there were so many pathways that I could pursue. And yet, I was also unable to look at myself in the mirror and, sometimes for months, be unable to get out of bed. Why? I’d built an enormous expectation for what I thought I was meant to achieve, none of which seemed possible. And every time I would look into the mirror, I would reaffirm this impossibility.

So, my suggestion for young people is simply, as cliché as it might be, to let go and allow what’s meant to come, come. With this too, be patient. It’s taken me almost 10 years to fully embody this philosophy; I just wish I’d be kinder to myself in that time and to enjoy more of the moments between then and now.

And finally, if I can be so bold, delete social media (or at least turn off notifications). Spend more time connecting with your friends and family and having fun.

 

What can we expect from the 4-week course: Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience?

Over the 4-week short course, participants will learn about depression directly from those with their own lived experiences. As they will see, depression looks different for everyone, and so they’ll hear from the stories of a range of men and women, young and older, to challenge stereotypes and spark conversations. What I love most about this course and why it’s going to be so impactful, is that it’s not presented from a ‘clinical’ point of view; it’s not esoteric and scientific; it’s real stories, real voices, and real insights into what it’s like and how we as family and friends can support one another better.

It will discuss what led up to the experience, the things that guide beliefs, values and expectations, the things that can help us during ‘low’ periods whilst also exploring the things we must do more of to help us stay well and prevent some of the early symptoms. In addition, some of the course content will be delivered by experienced Torrens University lecturers who have worked in the area of mental health for many years.

We know that warning signs of depression can be different from person to person but what are some key signs that individuals can look out for in their loved ones and friends?

If I am to look back on my own lived experience with depression as a school leaver and young adult, I’d see myself losing enthusiasm for the things I once loved to do; I’d see myself not going out for those bike rides any more, not wanting to go out to the go-kart track to race that weekend. I’d see myself cancelling plans with friends or, perhaps more often, I’d see myself not making any plans in the first place because I was terrified that when the day came, I wouldn’t be able to leave the house; I was terrified that people would notice or ask too many questions if I wasn’t as chatty as normal. 

I’d also see myself sleeping more – a lot more – and recognise the thought in my mind that my dreams created a better reality than reality itself; it was this destructive escape that I would be drawn to for months at a time. Of course, I would be so frustrated at my inability to ‘see the woods from the trees’ that I loathed my need to try and explain to people what was happening; relationships soured and my ability to deal with trivial challenges became harder and harder. It seemed so logical for me at the time to withdraw completely from society, self-sabotaging relationships and opportunities, not knowing of course that the one thing that was going to help me was the exact opposite.

Tell us more about how can we be a positive support to someone who is/has been suffering from depression?

It’s really important that friends don’t feel any pressure to be able to ‘solve’ anything. There’s a reason trained professionals like psychologists exist. To be a positive support to someone with depression can simply mean letting them know you’re there to listen, not to offer advice or prescribe any solutions, just to listen. By educating ourselves on what to look for, through resources like those available in the Understanding Depression MOOC, and by engaging with the Beyond Blue website, we can understand in greater depth what’s going on and perhaps fill our toolkit with tips and tools on the types of support that we can offer that won’t do more harm than good. In some of my darkest moments, I thought that I was ‘throwing everything away’ and had nothing to live for, and so to know that I had friends who were still there, and would still be there, for whenever I was ready, meant so much and gave me a reason to keep going.

Tell us one positive mantra that you love to live by?

Prayer, patience and perseverance.

Participants of the Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience course will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course and it will require a 2-hour commitment each week.

For more information, to meet the people who share their experiences with depression in the MOOC, or to register go to: https://www.torrens.edu.au/understanding-depression-learning-from-lived-experience.

 Resources: 

Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ 

World Mental Health Day https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

Who Switched On The Light? A Book Review

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A Guide To Looking After Our Mental Health- World Mental Health Day

A Guide To Looking After Our Mental Health- World Mental Health Day

As measures to restrict movement as part of efforts to reduce the infections of COVID-19, many of us are faced with making epic and not always welcome changes to our daily lives.

 

We have faced some new realities of curfews, restricted travel, working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling, and the lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues may be aspects we won’t ever get used to. Anyone missing hugs?

Adapting to aspects like the reduction of human physical connection, the distance of family members, economic factors, home-schooling, and the interruption to the basic essentials in life on so many levels is challenging for us all.  If you add in managing any fear of contracting the virus, or the societal impact of the situation, it is far from normal. There are many in our community already vulnerable that are now impacted even more so, and there are those who will become vulnerable as a result of our world situation. Mental Health is paramount even more than ever. 

There are scaffolding and tips we have researched you might find useful. These are provided by the World Health Organisation, the organizers of World Mental Health Day. 

 

 

  • Keep informed. Listen to advice and recommendations from your national and local authorities. Follow trusted news channels, such as local and national TV and radio, and keep up-to-date with the latest news from @WHO on social media.

 

  • Have a routine. Keep up with daily routines as far as possible, or make new ones.  

 

  • Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.

 

  • Keep up with personal hygiene.

 

  • Eat healthy meals at regular times.

 

  • Exercise regularly.

 

  • Allocate time for working and time for resting.

 

  • Make time for doing the things you enjoy

 

  • Minimize newsfeeds. Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed. 

 

  • Social contact is important. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.

 

  • Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink alcohol at all. Don’t start drinking alcohol if you have not drunk alcohol before. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation.

 

  • There is no evidence of any protective effect of drinking alcohol for viral or other infections. In fact, the opposite is true as the harmful use of alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and worse treatment outcomes.

 

  • And be aware that alcohol and drug use may prevent you from taking sufficient precautions to protect yourself again infection, such as compliance with hand hygiene.

 

  • Screen time. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.

 

  • Video games. While video games can be a way to relax, it can be tempting to spend much more time on them than usual when at home for long periods. Be sure to keep the right balance with off-line activities in your daily routine.

 

  • Social media. Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.

 

  • Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.

 

  • Support health workers. Take opportunities online or through your community to thank your country’s health-care workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19. 

Don’t discriminate

Fear is a normal reaction in situations of uncertainty. But sometimes fear is expressed in ways which are hurtful to other people. Remember:  

  • Be kind. Don’t discriminate against people because of your fears of the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Don’t discriminate against people who you think may have coronavirus.
  • Don’t discriminate against health workers. Health workers deserve our respect and gratitude.
  • COVID-19 has affected people from many countries. Don’t attribute it to any specific group.

Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide is a stress management guide for coping with adversity. The guide aims to equip people with practical skills to help cope with stress. A few minutes each day are enough to practice the self-help techniques. The guide can be used alone or with the accompanying audio exercises.

Informed by evidence and extensive field testing, the guide is for anyone who experiences stress, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. You can get your copy here: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927

Ponderings Subscribers jump over to the App to get your PDF copy. 

Resources: 

 

Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ 

World Mental Health Day https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

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Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

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