Are you flourishing during lockdown?
Now is the time to dig into our mental reserves as we drop from Alert Level 4 to 3, and continue to get into and develop some good habits around emotional well-being.
Some are taking the opportunity to spend some time reflecting on how the last lockdown went, what needs to be repeated again and what needs changing.
As we plan for Alert Level 3, it’s good to start each day planning for the day ahead and making sure we’re scheduling well-being into the day.
Practice exercising, socialising - within bubble limits, mentalising, and spiritualising on a daily basis. Catching up on some sleep is important too.
In Brookfield, Roseanna Hennessy made yellow, red, green and blue playdough with flour, salt and food colouring, for her daughter Evie, age 2, to play with, and provided rocks for her to paint. Photo: Roseanna Hennessy.
Roseanna Hennessy, who is a member of the Tauranga Rocks Facebook group, enjoys painting scenes and designs onto rocks.
“I’ve been doing some painting to help clear my head,” says Roseanna.
Rock painting. Photo: Roseanna Hennessy.
Her daughter Evie, age 2, also got busy painting with her mum, using watercolour paints.
“They dry into cake disks and you just add water to use them,” says Roseanna. “They’re great because at the end of the day I can just wash it off for her to paint again tomorrow.”
Evie also enjoyed going for a walk to Sydenham Park with her dad Matt Hennessy.
Evie, 2, enjoying some outdoor exercise with her father Matt Hennessy. Photo: Roseanna Hennessy.
Flourishing is not just about settling for just getting through lockdown by the skin of our teeth, we can focus on how we can flourish in spite of the circumstances.
Take for example every day activities like eating. Change things up a bit with food presentation or trying out new foods.
In Greerton Ford Saunders enjoyed a variety of lockdown activities with Moss, age 3, and Dottie age 2. Ford painted Dottie’s fingernails and introduced her and Moss to a coconut. Mum, Che Crawford made fabric dinosaurs with Dottie and Moss followed by lunch served up as dinosaur bread with eggs and a green tree. They also iced lots of cupcakes with coloured icing and had fun with playdough.
Dottie, age 2, enjoying her fingernails being painted by her dad Ford Saunders. Photo: Che Crawford.
Learning about a coconut with dad. Photo: Che Crawford.
Making a fabric dinosaur followed by a dinosaur lunch. Photo: Che Crawford.
Moss, age 3, and Dottie, age 2, icing cup cakes. Photo: Che Crawford.
Katie, 4, and Grace, 2, were kept busy painting their own beauty salon on a long strip of paper thanks to their mum drawing out hands and eyes for them to colour. Photo: Rachael McKoy.
Jasmine Shaw, an early childhood education teacher, created a fun educational maths activity to share with her whanau online. Her daughter Jamarie, who is 17 months old, drove around in her little car while her mum worked drawing outlines on the driveway.
“Haha. Jamarie certainly had no idea what I was talking about,” laughs Jasmine, who also measured the shape of her daughter’s car.
Jasmine Shaw’s daughter Jamarie, 17 months old, learned about measuring her mum’s and her own bodies, and also measuring Jamarie’s car shape, using her books. Photo: Jasmine Shaw.
In Welcome Bay, Chloe Chaplin, 6, and sister Maia Chaplin,3, got busy painting cardboard murals.
Chloe Chaplin, 6, and sister Maia Chaplin,3, painting happily during lockdown, at home in Welcome Bay. Photo: Supplied.
Also in Welcome Bay, Jenna Graham who is an essential care worker, decided to make a whimsical sign.
A fun multiple direction sign, made by Jenna Graham on her day off as an essential worker. Photo: Jenna Graham.
“I did this for fun on my day off,” says Jenna.
The signs point in various directions to great ‘escapism’ locations like ‘Middle Earth’, ‘Pixie Hollow’ and ‘Sherwood Forest’.
“[At the] top is coffee, and the other one [on other side of the sign] is Narnia.”
Her father Paul Meredith made a birdhouse.
Birdhouse, made by Paul Meredith, in Welcome Bay. Photo: Jenna Graham.
Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear can trigger mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how we interact with others, go about our lives, our work, study and many other aspects of our lives.
We know that a combination of stress and uncertainty can have significant and wide-reaching impacts on the mental wellbeing of people in New Zealand.
Musician and singer Adam McLean from Bay Music is well-known for live-streaming his music sessions during lockdown, cheering up people across the Tauranga region and further afield.
This week Adam also dived into some busy craft making with his children Louis, age 4, and Andie, age 2.
They created a cut out squid, painting each of the separate pieces various colours and turning it into a fun jigsaw puzzle.
Adam McLean with his children Louis, age 4, and Andie, age 2. Photo: Supplied.
Adam McLean with his children Louis, age 4, and Andie, age 2. Photo: Supplied.
Bex Ede took photos of Aspen Ede, age 5 taking her ‘babies’ to feed their hens in the chook house, while dad Matt Ede got busy cooking on an outdoor camp oven in the back yard.
Aspen Ede, age 5, taking her babies to feed the chooks. Photo: Bex Ede.
Matt Ede cooking on an outdoor camp oven. Photo: Bex Ede.
Piper Ede, age 2, celebrated her second birthday during lockdown with a pile of balloons. She and Aspen had delicious ‘homeschooling’ lunches made for them by their parents, with fun and loving messages written on their bananas.
Piper Ede, age 2, enjoying her second birthday with balloons. Photo: Bex Ede.
Piper and Aspen Ede’s ‘homeschooling lunches’. Photo: Bex Ede.
Reuben Pooley was busy on a Zoom call with his school teacher and classmates when Andrea Pooley took a photo of him.
“He’s been sitting at the table for two hours, laughing and chatting, having fun in their Zoom class,” says Andrea.
Reuben Pooley on a Zoom call with his teacher and classmates. Photo: Andrea Pooley.
Earlier she joked that she was in a house with three teenage boys who didn’t want to do school work and she wasn’t ‘feeling the flourishing feelings right now’. That seems to have soon changed.
Andrea also snapped a photo of husband Roger reading a book while sipping coffee, and was caught later by him with camera while she was chainsawing in the garden.
Andrea Pooley chainsawing during lockdown, while husband Roger Pooley enjoys a good book. Photo: Andrea and Roger Pooley.
Roseanna Hennessy decided that her two-year-old daughter Evie definitely has lockdown sorted.
“No pants and eating cookies off her stomach in a beanbag,” says Roseanna. “Evie with lockdown sorted.”
Evie Hennessy. Photo: Roseanna Hennessy.
It is normal to not feel all right all the time – it’s understandable to feel sad, distressed, worried, confused, anxious or angry during this crisis. Everyone reacts differently to difficult events, and some may find this time more challenging than others. The ways people think, feel and behave are likely to change over time – we all have good days and bad days.
During this time, you may be looking for new or additional ways to help you feel mentally well and get through. Here you can find information on tools to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you need it.
If you or those around you are concerned about how you’re feeling or your wellbeing, there is information and tools available to help you feel mentally well and get through.
Download information on online mental wellbeing tools and resources:
Self-help tools and apps
- Sparklers at Home is an online toolkit for parents, full of fun activities that support the wellbeing of primary and intermediate students.
- Melon is an app with a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help you manage your emotional wellbeing. You can also join their online community to connect with and support others, and watch daily webinars about health and wellbeing (Melon Health)
- Mentemia is an app that you can use to monitor, manage and improve your mental wellbeing by setting daily goals and tracking your progress (Mentemia)
- Staying on Track is an e-therapy course that teaches you practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life (Just a Thought)
- Small Steps are digital tools to help you maintain wellness, find relief, or get help for yourself, friends or whānau
- Working through problems with Aunty Dee is a tool to work through problems, generate ideas and find a solution (Le Va)
- Whakatau Mai - The Wellbeing Sessions are free, virtual community events aimed at supporting wellbeing in real-time – to help you connect you with others, learn and practice new skills, and start looking at things differently.
Self-help tools for young people
- Feeling down, worried or stressed (SPARX)
- Learn more about mental health issues (Mental Wealth)
- Recognising and understanding depression and anxiety (The Lowdown)
- Aroha is a chatbot that uses Facebook Messenger to provide practical, evidence-based tools to manage stress, maintain social connection and stay active (University of Auckland)
- Youthline’s web chat, where young people can talk one-to-one with a real person
- Melon Health has a range of online resources specifically for young people
- RainbowYOUTH provides free 1:1 peer support for youth in the rainbow community, their friends and whānau.