My experience staying connected with family and friends

Luke Sondergeld has embraced his role in the health industry since his graduation from the Diploma of Enrolled Nursing in 2017. Luke was a dedicated nursing student at the Rockhampton Campus, as a member of the Student Representative Council and the Student Participation and Retention Committee.

How I keep connected

Thankfully for me, I have a fairly tech savvy family. We all own Apple products, so FaceTime gets a fair workout, and we were pretty good at staying in contact anyway. I call my parents every couple of days to check in out of habit, and I FaceTime the girls when they are sitting still for longer than 30 seconds.

I play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends once a week, on Saturday nights. We chat during the week on Facebook, Messenger and Discord, and generally share our days, what’s going in life, the struggles with our kids, the difficulties of being ‘essential’, and the day to day mundane facts of life.

The difficult people to stay in contact with are my extended family. My grandparents aren’t tech savvy at all. My grandfather here locally has trouble working a microwave let alone a mobile phone, and I can’t visit him as we must limit the number of people who drop in. I tend to share things through my father to him, he shows him photos and tells stories about the girls. That’s what makes this COVID-19 stuff hard, the time that my grandfather is missing with his great-grandchildren.

I am taking time for myself by

I am shamelessly watching Netflix, a lot of Netflix. While my girls are watching ABC Kids, I have my phone out and headphones in watching the shows I want to watch. So far, I have binged my way through the entirety of Brooklyn 99, Rick and Morty, Altered Carbon and I am about to continue on my adventures with Gotham. For me, escaping into a TV show and not thinking for a while is very relaxing.

As mentioned earlier, I play Dungeons and Dragons over Discord with my friends. I actually run the game, as dungeon master. I write the story, create the characters that players interact with, I describe the world they are in, and guide them through their adventure. I love it. I love creating the world, the non-player characters, and I love watching (or in this case listening) to my friends realise the error of their ways as the story unfolds.

Something I have found comfort in this time is

I have found comfort in the little things. COVID-19 has been an interesting time to realise what really matters, how much busy-ness we all have in our lives, and for a chance to simplify. For some, slowing down to work, home, and family is a drag. I am trying to make the most of it. I am spending more time with my girls, taking more time for me, trying to make sure I self-care a little better, and most of all stay connected to those who matter.

It comforts me to know that we, as a community, have banded together, done the right thing, and are beating this thing. We aren’t getting pig headed and selfish in our quest to go back to normal at whatever the cost. We as a Country have supported those in need, given a hand to those who can’t do it on their own, and strived to be better for it. The real comfort is being part of that, it’s being Australian.

Something I’m not doing (and that’s okay) is

I am not, however, taking it easy…. completely. My role as the only nurse at a Meat Works has meant some very long days. Some days are 12-14 hours, then we are working 6 days a week, public holidays included. This time at work has meant that I don’t always have the amount of time at home, and the one day off I do have, I try and cram everything in. Which then leads me to be tired and worn out for the week.

So, in short, I am not balancing work and life as well as I should be.

It’s ok to be a little out of sorts. It’s ok to snack a little heavier than normal. It’s ok to feel a little disconnected. It’s ok to be a little scared of what is going on. It’s ok to feel a little blue, and a little worn out.

It is OK to not feel OK.

We have to remember that this is only temporary. Before long, we will be back to swimming at the beach, catching up with friends for a coffee, eating a Parmy at the Pub, and getting back to the way things were. But we must acknowledge that not everything will be the same, there will be a ‘new normal’ on the other side of this. And we need to be ready for it.

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