FROM my home office window I can see the 1950s house over the road is getting a new roof and another room to boot.
I can see the black lab next door never misses a chance to roll around on his back on the lawn to soak up the winter sun. (Sometimes he even pulls the bath towels off the clothesline just for the fun of it!)
I can see last season's silverbeet lives on long after every other crop has withered.
I can see every second group out walking up the back of East Albury has a new puppy in tow: mostly Golden Retriever, Groodle or Poodle.
I can see our Isa Brown hen stays close to a butterfly-shaped mirror in her chicken run all day even though she's free to roam the whole yard. She's taking her statewide lockdown seriously.
I can touch my computer mouse, tea cup, green ink pen and 2021 diary.
I can hear parrots, kookaburras and magpies, intermittently, all day.
I can hear the theme music for The Drum week days at 6pm.
When the sun goes down I can hear someone up the street welding every night until the clock strikes 8.
I can smell coffee and candles.
I can taste Cadbury Old Gold chocolate. (Hint: If you think you're buying something the kids won't like, think again. Turns out my youngest loves dark chocolate because her late grandfather always shared it with her! I like to think that we're keeping calm and carrying on a tradition.)
Sometimes a simple exercise in everyday mindfulness can make all of the difference to ground us in the present.
With millions of Australians under lockdown orders around the country this week owing to the escalating Delta outbreak, it's easy to think things are well outside of our control.
But we're still in charge of our own senses.
It may help - and definitely can't hurt - to notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
MORE MATERIAL GIRL:
Hint: If you think you're buying something the kids won't like, think again. Turns out my youngest loves dark chocolate because her late grandfather always shared it with her! I like to think that we're keeping calm and carrying on a tradition.
Failing that, I tune into TED Talks for life hacks in the same way Americans plug into Dr Phil and tweens turn to TikTok, (the latter is a whole other column I've been avoiding writing for months!).
TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers worldwide on education, business, science, tech and creativity, based around the philosophy of "ideas worth spreading".
One that resonated with me last year came from resilience expert Dr Lucy Hone, who lost her 12-year old daughter in a tragic road accident in New Zealand.
Co-director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience and adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, Dr Hone's research is published internationally and her PhD was acknowledged for its outstanding contribution to wellbeing science at the World Congress of Positive Psychology in 2019.
In Dr Hone's TED Talk, she says resilient people use three strategies to get through tough times.
Firstly, they accept that s**t happens.
They never ask "why me?"; they're more likely to think "why not me?"
Secondly, resilient people focus on the things they can change and accept the things outside of their control.They were more likely to practice gratitude daily rather than be desperately seeking happiness forever after.
Finally, resilient people make decisions informed by one question: Is this helping or harming me?
Dr Hore said that third strategy alone could be more powerful than any other because it puts people back in the driver's seat on their own lives.
At a time in history when we're locked down and challenged like rarely before, there may be something in that for all of us.
And when things feel like they're out of our control, we can always come back to our senses any time we like.
Pass the chocolate!
PS If you can't taste it, get a COVID test and isolate.
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