As COVID-19 continues to impact our work, social and home lives, it is important to check in with one another.
We asked Melbourne staff member, Judy Morgan, the question, ‘R U Ok?’
Judy shared her response and explained her experience with COVID-19 and the challenges she has faced in 2020.
When I rushed into the office one Sunday afternoon in March to prepare to work remotely for a week or two, I never expected to still be here in September.
Until last week, I’ve worked from a tiny table in the corner of my bedroom with my laptop propped up on books, a ream of paper as a footrest and fighting to keep our cat off the keyboard.
I could have bought a computer stand and a footrest, but I kept telling myself that this was temporary. There was nothing I could do about the cat.
My role at CQUniversity is student-facing and I expected to be back on campus within days. But the days turned into weeks and then into months.
This week, my family has negotiated a workspace rotation and I am now working from the living room. I can see trees and sunlight from my window, and being Melbourne, rain, wind, and clouds.
I didn’t know what to expect, when this all began. I wasn’t sure how I should feel.
It was wonderful to be able to go for early morning walks with my family, to support my child who’s doing it tough without having to miss work, and to have the flexibility to make up working hours when I needed to.
It was also wonderful to know that I could support students just as well remotely and build stronger relationships with my team during months of daily Zoom check-ins.
But there are still challenges. Some small, some large.
My suburb has been in lockdown since the first week of July. I’m confined to my apartment for 23 hours each day unless I’m the designated person allowed out once daily for essential shopping.
I can’t leave my house between 8 pm and 5 am. I am unable to travel more than 5 kilometres from home.
I no longer feel the fresh air on my face because I always wear a mask and I’m uncomfortable if someone comes closer to me than 1.5 meters.
It’s tough, but I’m mostly okay. There are days when I’m not.
Some days I have Zoom fatigue. Other days I feel helpless because our students have lost their jobs, can’t buy food or are trying to study on their smartwatch. Some don’t know if their family members are okay and when facing intolerable stress, they make bad decisions and there’s little we can do.
The things that keep me sane are the simple things.
I enjoy my brief daily walks in the fresh air. I love to connect with friends, colleagues, and family online via phone, Zoom, Whatsapp and Teams.
The virtual morning teas, quick chats and sending photos and silly memes keep up my spirits.
I am grateful for having people around me who care, who are brave enough to ask ‘Are you okay?’ and listen to the answer, even if it doesn’t always make for comfortable listening.
What all these things do is remind me I’m not alone. That help is there if I need it. That there are good days and also some pretty horrible days, and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.
Together we’ll all get to the other side of this.
Remember, it is important to check-in with one another, not just on R U Ok Day. If you’re looking for more ways to start the conversation or for resources for what to do when someone says they’re not okay, visit www.ruok.org.au.
Remember to look after yourself too. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
If you need support or are concerned about someone in your life and want to talk to someone, reach out to CQUni’s Student Counselling and Wellbeing team.
Student Counselling and Wellbeing a free and confidential service for students.
There are also external support services available. These include:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SMS service 6 pm and Midnight 0477 13 11 14
- Suicide Call-back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
- 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Headspace (for young people 12-25) on 1800 650 890
- QLife on 1800 184 527 (3 pm to midnight)
- Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277
Check out what events are happening on at your local CQUni Campus on 10 September by visiting your campus Facebook Groups or visiting your reception.
Don’t have a local campus or want to get involved with R U Ok? Day in other ways, get involved on Social Media. Keep an eye on CQUni Student News Facebook page to stay up to date with other events and activities.