24 August 2021

Has lasagne become your lockdown breakfast? Maybe it's time for some good news stories

| Dominic Giannini
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Deserted Kingston Foreshore during COVID-19 lockdown.

Deserted Kingston Foreshore during COVID-19 lockdown. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra is about halfway through the current lockdown and, for me at least, it’s heralded the end of any pretence of dietary care. Day six was when lasagne became a breakfast food.

It has been a tough and trying week-and-a-bit for the ACT. Canberrans have reacted differently to their first lockdown since April last year when the initial restrictions lasted for five weeks.

But there has been some good news floating around as well.

READ ALSO Proud Ken Behrens: Canberrans embrace the lighter side of COVID lockdowns

Ken Behren has risen to hero status and cemented his place in the community while the take up of AstraZeneca in young people surged, and GPs have requested more supply from the Commonwealth.

People like Garry Malhotra brought a smile (and food) to Canberra’s collective community by immediately putting his hand up to cook and deliver thousands of free meals a day to doorsteps across the capital.

Others engaged in online bake-offs or dedicated a ballad to Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

With the easily spread delta variant, cases numbers are expected to bounce around so sacrifices will continue for Canberrans.

On the flip side, volunteers will continue to help the community, roommates will continue to host impromptu dinner dances, and Canberrans will soldier on.

There are always good and heartwarming news stories to be found – and it’s important to balance the two.

READ ALSO The Ballad of Brave Sir Andrew

Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson says all Canberrans should be practising self-compassion and kindness during times of heightened stress and anxiety.

“It is incumbent on us all to stop and take time to reflect on how this pandemic is affecting us and determine what we want to focus on at this time to enable coping and decide next steps,” she said.

“The first step is to recognise that the solution for each and every one of us is as unique as we all are.

“They are some incredible resources throughout the community that we can tap into at this time and we are encouraging everyone to do so.”

Gary Malhotra prepares free meals for vulnerable Canberrans. Photo: Garry Malhotra.

But if lockdown is getting too much, there are some simple tips that can help reduce the stress and anxiety of lockdown or quarantine periods – communication and connection and taking time each day to reach out to family and friends.

“Pour yourself a cup of tea and sit out in the sun with a good book,” Ms Leeson said. “Most importantly, do not forget it is okay to laugh and smile during this time.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling during the lockdown, you can call Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support service on 13 11 14.

A comprehensive list of support services can be accessed at www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines.

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