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    Jax Williams enjoying a science project at home.
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Emma Kealy: Use time to connect or reconnect with home life | COVID-19


Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has urged people to use high-level social-distancing measures designed to stem the spread of COVID-19 as an opportunity to connect or reconnect with home life.

Ms Kealy said at a time when everything appeared bleak, one positive aspect of crippling social circumstances was that families would probably never have a better chance to consolidate ties.

“The truth is, for many of us we might suddenly have that time we’ve long been craving to strengthen family connections at home or do all those hobbies, jobs and activities that a hectic day-to-day work life prevents,” she said.

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“COVID-19 is causing considerable anxiety and stress that is affecting not only physical, but also mental health and engaging with family, if possible, might be a good way to help deal with this.

“While acknowledging all the challenges this presents, for those with children, being at home with the kids and needing to keep them occupied might in many ways be a good thing and one of the few silver linings to come out of this crisis.”

Ms Kealy acknowledged Prime Minister Scott Morrison had told Australians to avoid all ‘non-essential’ travel but said that did not mean people needed to completely lock themselves inside in their homes.

“We’re really fortunate in our part of the world because we have a lot of space,” she said.

“We’re not in complete lock-down and we can still go shopping for essentials when we need to. We can also take the dog for a walk and be confident we can plan to easily avoid contact with groups of people.

“There also other things depending on our circumstances we might be able to do without travelling anywhere. 

“This might be in the lounge room, back yard or back shed or finding an isolated spot on a riverbank to go fishing or some wide-open parkland to throw a ball with the pet dog.”

Ms Kealy still stressed that people, in exploring things to do as individuals or families, needed to ensure they avoided turning any activities into social gatherings involving several people.

“I would suggest for individuals and-or people living under the same roof to consider short-term ways of staying active while avoiding unnecessary interaction with others,” she said.

“It can’t involve inviting families or mates around for weekend, for example. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Ms Kealy, a qualified biomedical scientist, said the heightened possibility of people catching infectious disease was also good reason for people to work at being as healthy as possible.

“This not only means following critical sanitation guidelines such as continually washing hands, but also being as healthy as possible overall – inside and out and mentally,” she said.

“There is probably no better motivation than what we have confronting us right now to eat healthily, cut down on the sugar and salt, do some exercise and try to manage our stress levels while maintaining social distancing.

“When the body is under stress, be it physically or mentally, it makes us vulnerable to illness. 

“Having good eating habits as well as having a greater dedication to hygiene has never been more important.  

“Much of what happens in the body is at a microscopic level. Viruses are microscopic and so are the body’s defensive mechanisms. Have a think why dieticians and health professionals constantly talk about the value of vegetables and fruit. 

“It is because when you break them down they are loaded with immune-building and body-strengthening elements that help fight disease.”

Ms Kealy, also Victorian Shadow Mental Health Minister, said it was important that people, despite many experiencing high levels of anxiety, try to remain as calm and measured as possible.

“Mental-health issues stemming from uncertainly surrounding financial and health security are stalking the ever-changing environment we’re experiencing at the moment, not far behind the direct threat of COVID-19 infection,” she said.

“Never before has it been more important that we look after ourselves and each other.”

The entire March 25, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire March 25, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!