A new life after lock­down

For some, lock­down was a chal­leng­ing and stress­ful time. For oth­ers, it was in­cred­i­bly pos­i­tive and life-chang­ing. Stephanie Ock­huy­sen asked peo­ple what lock­down taught them and how they’ll live dif­fer­ently be­cause of it.

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - Abbey Mac­fie

33, owner of Tar­tan Rose Cak­ery and Deli, New Ply­mouth

I was in a re­ally bad way right be­fore lock­down.

I’d just come out of a crazy, busy wed­ding sea­son, I wasn’t hav­ing any days off and some of the days I would spend 16 hours plus on my feet. I was just sore and tired and grumpy and un­happy.

It wasn’t great for my staff ei­ther. I know I was aw­ful be­fore lock­down and it’s not good for staff to see their boss that stressed.

What’s the point in hav­ing a busi­ness if it’s mak­ing you un­happy?

Lock­down was filled with sleep and made me re­alise the busi­ness doesn’t have to rule your life and you can make changes and make it work for you.

Lock­down made me re­align the busi­ness and make those changes be­cause the thought of go­ing back to what I was do­ing gave me so much anx­i­ety.

We’re go­ing to be closed Sun­days and Mon­days for now with re­duced hours and if it wasn’t for lock­down I wouldn’t have made those changes.

It’s still go­ing to be long hours be­cause I’m busy, but just know­ing that you’re go­ing to have a cou­ple of days off for some down­time doesn’t make the long days quite as ex­haust­ing.

I used to be a long dis­tance run­ner and I’ve just been too ex­hausted to run but I’ve been run­ning al­most ev­ery day in lock­down and it just makes me feel so much bet­ter about my­self.

So I’m mak­ing bet­ter pri­or­i­ties and mak­ing sure I get away from the busi­ness. I lit­er­ally didn’t have a life out­side the busi­ness for a year-and-a-half.

I’ve got my en­thu­si­asm for bak­ing back and it’s go­ing to be bet­ter for the busi­ness in the long term. Rob Green

Re­tired, New Ply­mouth

At 72, I stead­fastly re­fused to feel as though I was to­tally iso­lated. I ob­jected to any­one sug­gest­ing I was in the elderly and vul­ner­a­ble group.

I didn’t have peo­ple go­ing shop­ping for me, I con­tin­ued do­ing my shop­ping just as I al­ways had done.

I’ve got neigh­bours around, and we would sit out and have neigh­bourly gath­er­ings over a glass of wine or two.

But gen­er­ally, it’s been a bit of a pain, and I was very pleased to get out.

How­ever, I’ve found it’s amaz­ing I can just sur­vive fi­nan­cially on the pen­sion if I stop go­ing out for cof­fees and gath­er­ings.

I’m a parish­ioner at Taranaki Cathe­dral so that weekly com­mu­nity, that weekly church has been lost, but we sur­vived with an on­line church ser­vice.

I’ve dis­cov­ered how good Zoom is. We’ve had cof­fee gath­er­ings of the church com­mu­nity held over Zoom and sev­eral meet­ings held on Zoom and it’s amaz­ing be­cause peo­ple can be all over the coun­try.

The meet­ings I’ve had over Zoom run per­haps even bet­ter than the ones where ev­ery­one is gath­ered to­gether.

I think it’s un­der­scored how fre­netic our con­sumer life has be­come over the years and this lock­down has caused us to have a re­set and think very care­fully about ‘do we need that or have we been brain­washed into think­ing we need it?’.

It’s a good wake-up call from that point of view. I’m hop­ing this re­set mo­ment might ac­tu­ally con­vince peo­ple life is a bit more about ba­sics and not so much about con­sumerism.

It’s al­ready mak­ing me think care­fully about what my fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­ity is go­ing to be.

My heart thinks when peo­ple start go­ing back and us­ing the old mea­sure­ments of how we’re do­ing like growth and GDP, well ac­tu­ally, that’s go­ing to be bad for us in the long run.

GDP doesn’t mea­sure the power of com­mu­nity sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties or par­ents stay­ing home and look­ing after kids.

I also learnt the value of den­tists after two fill­ings fell out. Kaylee Mi­hal­je­vich

16, Ha¯ wera High School stu­dent

Lock­down was re­ally weird for me as I’m a re­ally busy per­son. I’m usu­ally do­ing three sports, I’ve got school and it was just a chance for me to do noth­ing.

It taught me that I re­ally need a break some­times and the im­por­tance of tak­ing a sec­ond, hav­ing a bit of ex­tra sleep, hav­ing a bath, or read­ing a book, just some­thing to re­lax, so I’m not al­ways on the move.

It made me re­alise I can do a lot of fit­ness from home. I’ve al­ways done a lot of sports to keep busy but

in­stead I’ve been do­ing a lot of run­ning which gives me time to think about things and that’s my mo­ment of chill.

I did a lot of re­search on the im­por­tance of sleep while I was in lock­down, be­cause I had a lot of time, and I learnt the im­por­tance of not us­ing your phone so much be­cause of the blue light com­ing from it so read­ing has be­come my way of fall­ing asleep at night now in­stead of my phone and I’ll keep that up.

There were a lot of new habits like cook­ing din­ner which I now do a cou­ple of nights a week.

I’ve be­come veg­e­tar­ian over the iso­la­tion break so that’s a bit of a change for me and be­ing able to cook my own food be­cause not all my fam­ily is veg­e­tar­ian.

Lock­down was a bit of a chal­lenge be­cause I’m quite a peo­ple per­son and I did crave a bit of at­ten­tion, but the first day back at school and in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple was re­ally weird.

Hav­ing ev­ery­one around you con­stantly, there’s al­ways some­one ask­ing you a ques­tion and just the con­stant peo­ple was weird as I went from a bub­ble of four to a school of 700.

Beth, 44, Brian, 48, Si­mone, 12, and Libby, 9.

Beth: As com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for the Taranaki Dis­trict Health Board I was gear­ing up to tackle this huge work­load while the rest of my fam­ily’s world was com­ing to a grind­ing halt.

My hus­band and I did a com­plete role re­ver­sal. He be­came a stay-at-home dad whilst I spent long hours work­ing. My hus­band en­joyed be­ing at home quite a lot which sur­prised him and he strug­gled to go back to work.

Be­cause I wasn’t ac­tu­ally there that much, any hours at home be­came re­ally precious and I loved that qual­ity time of just chill­ing or go­ing off on ad­ven­tures by foot or bike.

It was re­ally cool to get to know the peo­ple in our com­mu­nity bet­ter and after 10 years of liv­ing in Whalers Gate we dis­cov­ered Bar­rett Do­main on our back doorstep.

Post-lock­down we’ll be mak­ing more of a habit to get out as a fam­ily, and get out on our bikes and ad­ven­ture walks.

Lock­down was a real eye­opener for me be­cause it ac­tu­ally high­lighted that Mum doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need to be around all the time for the house­hold to run ef­fi­ciently.

My daugh­ters have al­ways been in­de­pen­dent, but they re­ally had to step up and be a bit more re­source­ful, and they’ve done more cook­ing and clean­ing than they’ve done in their whole lives.

We learnt we can cook seven days a week. We don’t al­ways want to, but we can.

We man­aged to save money from no friv­o­lous spend­ing, and eas­ily con­nected to friends and fam­ily via tech­nol­ogy. In fact, we were in touch more.

We ab­so­lutely did not miss our chaotic, busy lives of squeez­ing in work, school, sport, so­cial com­mit­ments, and try­ing to get away.

They’re things we know we should be do­ing any­way, but life gets busy, and we don’t pri­ori­tise the im­por­tant things we should and it’s taken this lock­down pause mo­ment for our fam­ily to fully ap­pre­ci­ate what we’ve got, as­sess what we need to get by, and reeval­u­ate what we don’t need.

47, mi­grated from Malaysia with his fam­ily in 2015

The lock­down was a whole new ex­pe­ri­ence for the fam­ily. Things were just not like our nor­mal.

My wife Donna and I had to sort out work­ing spa­ces for us both and sep­a­rate ar­eas for our two boys, Ni­cholas, 11, and Caden, 9, to do home school.

Donna and I took turns help­ing the chil­dren with their school as­sign­ments and all meals were cooked at home.

After two weeks in lock­down the kids would come out with their lunch re­quests – mostly con­sist­ing of sand­wiches, fish and chips, burg­ers and oc­ca­sion­ally frozen piz­zas with juices and a fruit or salad.

We cer­tainly saved time on trav­el­ling to and from work and that has added more value time with the fam­ily.

The lock­down made us men­tally stronger as a fam­ily, united us and has given us more pa­tience for one an­other.

We missed our fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours, es­pe­cially the chil­dren, so al­lowed them to make What­sApp or Zoom video calls to their friends over the week­end and after school. It helped them keep in touch and share stuff like what they had for lunch, board games they played and also man­aged to ex­change ideas on some study as­sign­ments.

Lock­down helped us re­alise pre­vi­ously we had over­pur­chased food, and we also saved hugely on petrol. Be­fore lock­down we spent an av­er­age of $250 a week on gro­ceries and al­lo­cated $200 a week on eat­ing out and take­aways.

How­ever, dur­ing lock­down we spent just $600 on gro­ceries, pur­chas­ing only what we needed, which lasted us a month.

We’ve started to do more home cook­ing and when it comes to gro­cery shop­ping pur­chase only what is needed. Lock­down al­lowed us to teach our chil­dren to cook and bake – such as choco­late cake – and learn­ing ba­sic cook­ing skills like cut­ting onions and car­rots.

With the money saved we are plan­ning to ex­plore our own back­yard this July school hol­i­days. It’s time to help the tourism and com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by Covid 19.

ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

Work­ing right through lock­down, ev­ery minute at home be­came precious time that Beth Find­lay-Heath could spend with her daugh­ters Libby and Si­mone and hus­band Brian.

ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

Lock­down brought Dun­can Yeow's fam­ily to­gether and helped them save money.

Tar­tan Rose Cak­ery and Deli owner Abbey Mac­fie has now de­cided to close the cafe on Sun­days and Mon­days to bet­ter look after her­self. ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

SI­MON O'CON­NOR/STUFF

Rob Green says he hopes lock­down has taught peo­ple there is much more to life than shop­ping.

SI­MON O'CON­NOR/STUFF

Kaylee Mi­hal­je­vich, 16, says lock­down taught her she can take a minute to re­lax.

ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

The Heath fam­ily in­tend on con­tin­u­ing with their moun­tain bik­ing mis­sions post-lock­down.

ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

Mac­fie says lock­down made her re­alise she didn’t have to pour ev­ery­thing in to her busi­ness.

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