Well, Melbourne, here we go again. But there’s something eerily different about this time around, it feels divided.

Last time there was this feeling of togetherness. Social media was flooded with positive stories about how we are “together, but apart.” Television adverts were pumped full of corny music and images promoting resiliance and feelings of unity. Neighbours were helping neighbours. People from all over the world and, more importantly, all over Australia were here as one, fighting the same battle. Together.

Today is Day one, but if we are being honest: Today is day One Hundred and One. March 30th was the last time we were put into Stage 3 restrictions and it really hasn’t stopped too much since. We returned to school after most. We eased restrictions more cautiously than most Sadly, we never eased restrictions enough for Cafe’s and Hotels to even function again. Yet here we are, “Lockdown- The Sequel.”

Last time my head was full of the “Unknown.” What would lockdown be like? How will we survive this financially? Will we get through this?. This time is distinctly different because we know what to expect, and in a bizarre twist, that actually doesn’t help. We know how hard this is. I am channeling my inner Ben Lee here when I say: the only thing that got us through last time was that we were ” all in this together.” This time we simply are not.

I am here to tell you: It’s okay to feel bitter about that. It’s okay to see the rest of Australia opening up and to feel pretty bloody upset about it. It’s okay to eye-roll at your mates snap of them out on the town. Or to want to throw your phone at the sight of sunbaking selfies. It’s okay, In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s expected and accepted.

Here are a few things you may feel over the next six weeks, and you guessed it… that’s okay!

Take a Break

Ironic I know, that during the time we are literally unable to escape and “take a break” that its the first piece of advice I give you. But what I mean, is take a break from the rest of the world. Social media is going to be flooded with friends and family living their best lives for the most part. While you’re in aisle ten, fighting someone for Toilet Paper.

Try limiting your time online. Social media a great way to stay connected when we are otherwise quiet alone, so I don’t suggest removing it from your life entirely for six weeks. But just be aware when the feelings of bitterness turn to hatred then remove yourself from the platform for the night. It will all still be there in the morning when you have regained yourself.

We Are In This Together

Sing it Ben! It’s corny, but it’s true. It may not feel this way at the moment, but it’s more important than ever. At a time when the media have painted state against state, suburbs vs suburbs and now even groups of Victorians against other Victorians. Try and remember: We are all in this together.

Regardless of how we got here, we are here now.

The most important thing you can do is be there for one another and offer support where you can. Do a mailbox drop offering assistance to anyone who may need it on your street. Reach out to family members who may be more isolated than others. Smile, while we can still see those pearly whites before the masks cover them. Don’t fight one another for items at the supermarket, if you miss out, reach out, someone in your circles will be able to help.

We need to remember how we are feeling right now: write it down somewhere, whatever you need to do to remember how it feels to be divided from the rest of Australia. Because this could just as easily happen in any other state next and although it’s my hope that it doesn’t… if it does: Be kind Victorians. Help and support them, because we know what it feels like when the shoe is on the other foot.

This Too Shall Pass

This will pass. We will come out of this BUT what we do now is incredibly vital! We need to do the right thing now, to ensure this is the case for everyone, including our most vulnerable. Follow the rules. It’s hard, but we know what happens if we don’t. This will pass, but how long it takes is up to you.

I know personally, I want to travel again. I want to fly up north to see family, fly out east to the coast for some much-needed sun time. For myself and for my business, I need travel to resume. So I know I need to act now to make this happen in the future.

If you want this to pass, and some form of normality to return ( because let’s face it, normal as we knew it may never return) then we need to act now!

For the latest information on restrictions click HERE.

It Is Okay, To Not Be Okay

This one is quite possibly the most important. It’s okay, to not be okay.

This will be a testing time for everyone. Those who were just beginning to see the sunshine through the haze of the last lockdown may be feeling incredibly anxious heading into this one. Financial stress can bring on feelings of despair. Being away from family and friends is hard.

Please know, it’s okay to admit you may need to talk and get some help through this time. Please reach out to anyone you may see struggling and please know above all, it is okay, to not be okay.

Reach out below:

Beyond Blue

13 11 14 – Call 24/7 for crisis support

1300 659 467 – People at risk of suicide, carers and bereaved

1800 55 1800 – Counselling for young people 5-25 years

1300 845 745 – Counselling service for people suffering grief.