Let’s take a grateful breath

The pandemic has only heightened the sense of community. (Photo supplied)

Carole Levy

One of the keys to good mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, say the pundits, is to tap into purposeful gratitude for all the good stuff that’s still around – in spite of facing challenges of historic proportions.

To kick off the gratitude journey, let’s stop and consider: The Greater Geelong and Bellarine regions would have to be some of the prettiest and most explore-worthy and most innovative in the state.

In other words, if we must face coronavirus restrictions, this is a mighty fine place in which to be “confined”.

And once COVID-19 loosens its grip, it’s expected that the need to get out and about will hit hard, but people will be still thinking and wanting to act “local”.

The sense of community has only heightened, and we now have a clearer understanding of how dollars spent locally can literally save the livelihoods of friends and neighbours.

There are about 19,000 businesses in the region, each responding to the crisis in its own way.

The hard-hit hospitality industry, for example, has been very proactive by introducing takeaway, collect and home delivery services. The various cafes, pubs and restaurants have definitely done their bit in maintaining the region’s foodie cred – and helping families enormously along the way.

As medical centres and other businesses turn to video consultations and meetings, the use of technology to keep everyone connected has skyrocketed – and this uptake through necessity has likely forever changed the future landscape.

The lifeblood of tourism has also been seriously curtailed, but once freedom returns we have the chance to support our locals by taking holidays close by, weekend trips to the region’s many attractions, and spending money that will rebound back into the community.

So let’s all stop, take a grateful breath, and realise that everything wonderful in Greater Geelong and the Bellarine is waiting to welcome us back, show us things we’ve not yet discovered, and introduce us anew to just how special are the people and places that surround us.

It’s our backyard, after all, and its care and maintenance is more vital than ever.