The COVID Diaries: Kat and Petrie

Kat
Melbourne, Australia
Yoga Teacher / Burger Joint Owner


Where are you at this very moment and how are you feeling?

At this very moment I am sitting at my desk in Melbourne, Australia. We are half way through the toughest restrictions our country has been in as we are experiencing a much more aggressive “second wave”. This means I cannot leave my house for any reason but for 60 mins of exercise/grocery shopping or work. We are also not allowed more than 5km from home and have a curfew from 8pm – 5am. I am feeling exhausted, frustrated, over it, bored, tired and flat. None of those verbs are in my usual vocabulary so I feel very different to usual.

Looking back on the past months, what have you been struggling with the most?

The last few months have been a real roller coaster for me. We have been in some form of lockdown since March meaning my teaching and my business (which celebrated 12 months of operation in July) have both been affected for most of the year. From a work perspective, I have really struggled with having to make the “tough” decisions i.e. standing down most of our workforce, having to reschedule retreats and teacher trainings. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life and even though I seem as if I am very high functioning, I really struggle with making little and big decisions that impact my life. The more anxious I am, the harder it is for me to make quite simple menial decisions.

I have also struggled with a sense of being caged up. My husband and I live in a tiny apartment with my mum and our two dogs so cabin fever is at an all time high. I also travel internationally at least once a year and Australia has hard closed boarders for the foreseeable future.

And finally, I have really struggled with is all the plans that have been cancelled. This year I was to complete another 500hrs of teacher trainings (4 different trainings), run three retreats, run a 200hrs YTT, assist on another two 200hrs, celebrate our first year in business with a really really big party, move house, travel to Europe and South East Asia and countless other fun friend related activates. I’ve missed the first months of some of my best friends new babies which breaks my heart. I am loving watching them become mothers virtually but with there was some way I could support them further.

Has Corona taught you anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?

Has anyone said no to this question? Haha! What I am about to say is really hard for me to admit… and I feel so much resistance in writing it…. My life pre Rona was very very very busy. Like ridiculously busy. In the four years beforehand, I think I had a total of 30 something days where I did not teach a yoga class…. Rona gifted me the opportunity to  slow down (basically stopped me dead in my tracks) and I had to show up to what I was keeping myself busy from.

I am essentially unhappy.

All of the things that have had to go on the back burner (work, social life, travel, connection) are truly the things that bring me the most joy and contentment in my life. When they were removed, I was just left with the shit stuff I didn’t want to admit were real. Most glaringly, I had to show up to the dynamic between my mum and I which has never been great and I also had to show up to how in the doing of things I have been as opposed to truly connecting to them.

On a more positive note however, Rona has allowed me to refocus a lot of my energy back into creating things. Although this situation has not necessarily taught me that about myself, it has given me the time to really delve deep into it all and be present to it.

They say every crisis is a chance for growth. Where have you grown over the past months?

Oh love this question! I have really really used this time to go inward. I have spent more time in meditation in the last 7 months than I have in my whole life. I have also has time to really spend time on my sadhana and incorporated so many different techniques to it (journaling, meditation, lots of pranayama, mantra, asana). I have had the opportunity to study some online teacher trainings which has also been so amazing.

During lockdown 1.0, I started a virtual studio called State of Connection. This was actually an incredible experience. I am actually blown away by how intense and steep the learning curve was considering I am relatively ok with tech and already own a business. I closed it down at the end of lockdown 1.0 as our government changed their social support scheme and I found that the juice was no longer worth the squeeze.

I also brought a harmonium during our first lockdown. I never played an instrument growing up and I am naturally left-handed so there has been A LOT of learning here for me. I’m really really really bad at it which is amazingly humbling for me to sit in. All of that is negated however when the resonance and vibration from the bellows infiltrated my cells. I love it more than I ever could have imagined I could and am so happy I invested.

With everyone focusing their attention on COVID-19, which other topic doesn’t get enough attention any more in your opinion?

MENTAL HEALTH + HOW TO SUPPORT IMMUNE FUNCTION!!!!!!

The messaging we are receiving is wear a mask, wash your hands and stay inside to be healthy… as a Naturopathic Nutritionist I am saddened by the lack of messaging about the importance of vitamin D, healthy diet and exercise. These things are simple but so incredibly effective in supporting immune function and mental health. In Australia, we have lost 1200 people to suicide since March which is up from 200 the same time last year and presentation to emergency for self-harm is through the roof.

Sadly, a recent Monash University study of lock down 1.0, found that 10% of respondents had experienced thoughts of being better off dead or self-harm, 20% of respondents felt mild to moderate clinically-significant depressive and generalised anxiety symptoms and mental health problems were at least twice as prevalent as in non-pandemic circumstances. If we extrapolate these figure out to the wider Melbourne community, we are looking at almost 50,000 people who had experienced thoughts of being better off dead or self-harming and almost 99,000 people with mild to moderate clinically-significant depressive and generalised anxiety symptoms. This means that there are 149,000 people out there in my community who are feeling non-viral effects from “stopping the spread” of this disease, that is enough to fill our MCG (the biggest sporting arena in the world) 1.5 times.

Furthermore, a meta-analysis which included data from 3 million respondents found that the number one factor that influenced someone’s morbidity is social connection. This was proven to be more important that smoking status, weight, socioeconomic conditions and geographical location.

With everything in me I wish this was part of the messaging people were receiving. It breaks my heart to think there are people out there in my community who fall into the above categories.

However complicated, confusing, and challenging life may be, there are always so many things we can be thankful for if we take the time to look for them. What are you rateful for today?

My body – what an incredible piece of machinery I get to do this version of life in. I am so blown away at its capacity to learn, evolve and move. I feel very very luck to call this meat suit my home.

It really really rained today – I live in a very drought-stricken country so anytime it rains is amazing! I also love that the snow falls on in the Victorian Highlands (where I am meant to be skiing right now!!) have been the best in a long time so that is incredible for part of the country that was so severely affected by bushfires at the start of the year.

COVID-19 – Yep. As much as I hate it and am so resistant to it…. I am so deeply grateful for this opportunity to stop and reassess everything. I am also so fkn grateful for the deep connection back to my soul space this weird moment in history has allowed me.


Petrie
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Spokeswoman / Orthomoleculary Therapist


Where are you at this very moment and how are you feeling? 

I’ve been home from work for almost a year now because of a burnout. I am feeling happy about the little sparks of inspiration and ideas of what to do in the future that have to fly in spontaneously again. I see that as a sign of getting more inner space.

Looking back on the past months, what have you been struggling with the most?

Looking back over the past few months I have to admit that I had a lot of distraction from my personal challenge of how to balance my energies and changing patterns. For me and my own health, that was more worrying than Corona. During the mild form of lockdown we had in the Netherlands at the beginning of the pandemic, I had to get used to the fact that there wasn’t anywhere to go, but I got used to that pretty quickly. I have to admit though, that I am very happy that cafés are open again for coffee!!!

Has Corona taught you anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?

It has taught me that I am as not as alone as I tend to think I am. On the other hand, the fact that there was nowhere to go and the limitations on everyone’s social life (including mine) made me realize how much pressure I put on myself in terms of everything I think I „have“ to do or what other people expect me to do.

They say every crisis is a chance for growth. Where have you grown over the past months?

I already had my own little crisis that had started way before COVID. I hope I already gave a hint of my personal struggles over the past year. What I really wish for myself is a healthy dose of selflove: feeling that I am okay as I am with all my up- and downsides. And oh yes, I did try out new things! I really love wildpicking and veggie gardening. I could fill my day sourcing food and preparing it – and eating it, of course. I feel very lucky that I decided to go studying again and get a degree in an area that has everything to do with food as well.

With everyone focusing their attention on COVID-19, which other topic doesn’t get enough attention any more in your opinion?

Environmental issues and what we as human beings can do to be grateful to mother earth instead of misusing her.

However complicated, confusing, and challenging life may be, there are always so many things we can be thankful for if we take the time to look for them.What are you grateful for today?

I am very grateful for:
getting time and space to grow and find strength again.
the people who are on my path and walk with me for a longer or shorter time.
being born and raised in this part of the world with its limitless possibilities.

>>>Read the previous chapter of The COVID Diaries here: Kim’s and Anne’s story

>>>Read the introduction to The COVID Diaries here

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