Keeping positive


The need to stay flexible and responsive is the most basic requirement for any community group during the constantly changing restrictions we have all faced during COVID-19.

The East Melbourne Neighbour Network (EMNN) has responded quickly to the need to move our activities back online during each lockdown and to encourage our members to participate. During the extended lockdown last year, we all worked together with enthusiasm and our community came out of lockdown stronger than ever. We now face an extended lockdown number six and our enthusiasm has been worn thin.

We need to find a way to boost our positive energy. Now is a good time to refocus on the basic things that bring us a sense of happiness and positivity.

Something to do

Someone to love

Something to look forward to

Finding something to do with the endless days at home is the first step to feeling happy.  Our older members don’t find Zoom a comfortable medium, but the habit of staying active is a habit that once lost is hard to re-establish, so I encourage everyone to make the effort.

EMNN has volunteers willing to help with technology gaps. One of our wonderful exercise teachers, Jeff Lowinger, has helped several of us to defeat the technology hurdle and get online for a bit of fun and exercise with neighbours.

Thinking of small things you can do for others is a great help. Maybe you have some unexpected flower or herb seedlings sprouting in your garden. We cannot buy our seedings this year as the shops are shut. Maybe you can put some in a plastic bag or pot and offer them to neighbours.

Shelley Faubel, a local nurse, did the COVID-19 vaccination certificate course last year in case there was a shortage of trained nurses to administer the vaccine. She is now vaccinating locals at a pharmacy a couple of days a week and has even gone to homes to vaccinate vulnerable elderly residents who have still not been vaccinated.

Another local, Margaret Webster, wanted to help an elderly neighbour Prue Forster to stay mobile and involved during our endless lockdowns. She organised a roster of older residents to accompany her each day on a local wander and chat. New and deeper friendships have resulted, and everyone is more connected and happier. This is one example of a number of “walk buddies” that have developed in East Melbourne.

If we can reach out to help someone else through these isolating times, we all benefit from having something meaningful to do and are emotionally rewarded by the kindness we feel towards others. Just think of the many small acts of kindness we have all witnessed. Now more than ever, the old adage that you get back more than you give, is so true.

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