Staying up when things are down

This is a special episode about adapting during COVID.

How do we cope when the world suddenly changes and we have to change along with it?

We talk with Kane about his experiences and his recipe for making the most out of unexpected change.

He shares his tips for staying calm and positive in trying times: meditation, getting into nature, dancing, family, friends, and avoiding too much social media.

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Staying up when things are down transcript

 

Fiona

Hi everyone. And thanks for listening to Visibility, the monthly podcast produced by CID, the Council for Intellectual Disability.

 

Fiona

Here, we will be telling our stories, and exploring some of the issues that impact people with intellectual disability. To find out more about our work visit www.cid.org.au.

Now, settle in and enjoy.

 

Music

[CID’s podcast tune]

 

Adele

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Council for Intellectual Disability acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

 

Erin

Hi I’m Erin and you’re listening to Visibility, CID’s podcast. Today we’re going to talk to Kane about adapting to changes during COVID and new ways of working as a person with intellectual disability. So, thanks for joining us Kane. I’m so excited to have you here.

 

Kane

Thank you thanks for having me. I’m really happy to do this podcast for you.

 

Adele

Yeah, I’m excited. I have heard and I’ve talked to you a little bit about all of the things you’ve done to get through COVID and I guess I just want to introduce you to people.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your life and what you do?

 

Kane

I’m Kane. I live in a great place in Ballina in the Northern Rivers and it’s been really out of the ordinary with the stuff that has been going on lately. I’ve been keeping really smooth and really positive to myself.

 

I just take day by day. I go for walks. I swim. I meditate. I try and not get too involved with all the media stuff.  I just leave that behind. I only check it about once a day and that’s enough for me.

 

I work at a herb nursery. It’s a non-profit organization where people with disabilities, yeah, all sorts of disabilities, we deliver plants to our local shops and with this COVID side of things some of us have to stay home.

 

I was one of those people who had to work from home. But I’ve got to go to work

and get herbs and plants and take them back home put them up and as well jump on the

computer and do some nursery work.

 

Erin

Can you tell us what the nursery work was like before COVID?

What was your day like before we hit COVID?

 

Kane

It was great. I enjoyed it. I love going to work. It’s really inspiring me.

They’re basically my friends there.

 

Adele

It sounds awesome. I’ve heard that you know it’s changed a little bit since COVID.

 

Kane

Yeah, it’s changed. There are high needs people, people who need more help than people who just …..They have a disability but they can help themselves out more. But the high needs people have to stay home. Because, say if they came to the nursery a small chance of them getting the virus.

 

Erin

It sounds like you’ve done a really good job at adapting to the way the nursery has changed.

 

Kane

Yeah, I’ve adapted really well. It’s like I’m at work but I’m at home like you’ve got to

switch your brain. That’s how I look at it.

 

Erin

The computer is really different to working with your hands, isn’t it? And getting to work with plants. Do you want to tell us a bit more about that brain switch and how that helps you to motivate to do that computer work?

 

Kane

I had to trick my brain into like saying “oh it won’t be for ages. It won’t be for long” and I said to myself “Kane you can do this”.

I taught myself to do the old switch your brain off and switch your brain on.

 

I found a special rock. I put the rock on the ground, then I said “I can’t really do this. I can’t work at home. It’s frustrating.”

Then I walked five times back and forward not saying anything then I said a positive thing.

I said “Kane, I can do this. It’s not going to be for ages then I can get back to work.”

I said that five times and when I went back picked a rock up and walked a couple of times and, yeah, I didn’t say “I can’t do this” because I made my brain switch over.

 

Erin

There’s two things you’re doing there. You’re acknowledging the negative feelings or the negative thoughts that you can have and you’re kind of putting it on the rock and acknowledging that that is how you feel but then you’re doing a process where you then can turn that negative thought into a positive thought. And then you complete that cycle by picking the rock back off.

 

Kane

Yes.

 

Erin

I think that’s amazing.

 

Kane

Yeah, the negative is still going to be there but the positive is, it comes first. It just doesn’t keep back up to you.

 

Erin

It sounds like that’s been a big thing that’s helped you to adapt to COVID and to cope and get through all the changes.

 

Kane

COVID just one of those things where it’s just going take time as it comes.

I guess how I look at it. I just went all right. It’s never going to go away quick.

I’m just going to live day by day and just keep to myself and just be positive.

 

Erin

Do you want to talk a little bit about what you pay attention to and what you try not to pay attention to help you keep that positivity?

 

Kane

I try not to pay attention to all the online social media and the government side of things.

Because if you pay all your time and all your energy with all this COVID stuff and you listen to everything day by day and hour by hour, you’re just going to get caught up into all the stuff and it’s going to make you so negative and so frustrated and so annoying for me.

I don’t look at it. Oh I like to go slow.

 

Erin

I think that living slowly. I think that’s really important and I think protecting your energy and your mindset and your positivity is really important.

So those are the things you’re avoiding.

What are the things you like to focus on?

 

Kane

I’m focusing on being outside, going walking, swimming, even going to a waterfall and listening to the birds. And if it’s sunny sitting on a rock and meditating for I don’t know how long you want to meditate but I meditate for half an hour.

The next day I’ll get up and go for a walk and go to the beach and go for swimming and go for a surf because the beach is one of the things I love.

And I think about the surf I don’t think about anything else.

So I think about\ catching a wave, seeing my friends and yeah surfing.

And when you’re doing those things that you love it’s easier to not think about the things that are stressful. Because if you’re thinking about something stressful you’re just slowly going downhill. You’re pretty much going to end up getting unwell and sick.

That’s how I see it.

 

Erin

I agree with you completely.

So, this is really inspiring everything you’re saying Kane.

Thank you so much for sharing.

We’re just going to take a short break and then we will be back to hear

more insights.

 

Fiona

You’re listening to Visibility the podcast produced by the Council for Intellectual Disability.

If you enjoy this episode, you can support us by viewing us through apple podcaster or your favorite listening app.

 

[Music]

 

Erin

Welcome back everyone you’re listening to CID’s podcast Visibility and today we’re chatting to Kane who is a positivity and resilient superstar and he is sharing with us his experiences of adapting to life during COVID as a person with an intellectual disability.

 

Kane

Welcome back. Thanks for having me.

 

Adele

So, we’ve talked a bit about the nursery but I know that you are also a dancer and not just a dancer but you’re a senior dancer at Sprung Dance Company. Is that correct?

 

Kane

Yeah, you can say that. So, I’m with a company called Sprung and one of the

parts I’m in it’s called senior dance program. It’s with seven dancers and about five teachers.

In the mornings we do a bit of fitness work where we get the body moving correctly. We use our muscles to get stronger and working all the muscles properly so we don’t cause injuries and we do a little bit of ballet in the morning but in the afternoon it gets more into dancing where we get into groups and we do performances to each other.

 

Erin

Dance is such a physical thing and you dancing with people so obviously that’s very different on Zoom. Do you want to tell us the differences?

 

Kane

I can tell you about that. When we’re in tune we can watch each other’s screen because you

put it on gallery mode and then we can be in sync with each other on Zoom.

And, when we’re doing single dances we go to split screen where it’s only one person showing a dance.

 

Erin

So, you can use technology in that way to focus on someone?

 

Kane

Yeah. At first, we’re all a bit like not happy been on Zoom because we weren’t used to it was our first time but I got used to it because I’ve been on the computer for ages and I know what Zoom’s like. But for the other guys they’re getting a bit a bit upset a bit frustrated because they didn’t know how to work it and they’re getting a bit like frustrated with the screen volume and yeah it’s tricky it’s a hard thing to get used to

 

Erin

You have to you know do a little bit of brain switching yourself to get motivated to do the zoom classes because a computer just isn’t as fun as being in person is it?

 

Kane

No. Being in a group then going on computer, I said to myself “Look it’s not going to be

face to face but I’m still going to be with the dance group” so I, yeah, handle it.

 

Erin

Yeah, and that’s that thing that you you’ve acknowledged like you acknowledge that it’s not ideal and it’s not what you want but there’s also positives to it and you focus on the positives because you’re such a positive guy and that helps you get through.

 

Kane

I told the other guy I said, “Look, it’s not going to be forever. It’s just going to be until COVID is all good then soon it’ll be fine, back to when we can get back in the classroom” that’s the last edge from it, you’ll be fine. We’re all in this as one big family.

 

Erin

I think that’s a beautiful way to put it yeah and does that help you to get through to think about the fact that this is temporary and that we’re all together and we’re going get through it together.

 

Kane

Yeah, it helps. It helps me big time. We all tell each other after the end of the Zoom meeting we just said “that was great work today let’s just do it next week”.

 

Erin

So resilient and positive because you kind of going back and forth with the dance avenue like you had regular dance pre-covered times and then we locked down and then we got out and it was kind of normal for a bit again and now we’ve locked down again.

What do you think the first in-person dance session is going to be like when you get back?

 

Kane

For me, it’s going to be normal as we got back together the first time for the other

guys. It’s going be wonderful they’re going love it. We’re all going to love it.

 

Adele

When you can actually dance with a partner not just by yourself. It is going

to be so exciting. What I wanted to touch on is that it sounds like the things that have got you

through is kind of a combination of your personality just being a really positive person but then you’ve also got these great techniques that when you do have negative thoughts or feelings that come up, you’ve got all of these techniques to try and help you to navigate that so I’m wondering with that are there any tips that you would give to other people or advice to help them?

 

Kane

The first thing I’ll say is just live a positive life we’ll just get for it. Just listen to your friends and family and just keep living the way you want to live and I just want to say good luck enjoy yourself and live your dream to the fullest.

 

Adele

Beautiful thank you so much Kane. I think that’s a perfect note to end on.

 

Kane

You’re so welcome.

 

Erin

You’ve shared you’ve had some amazing tips you know and your positivity has just shown through and I’m really excited that that people are going to hear this and benefit and try some Kane tips try and live like Kane and I think we could all do that better.

To those that are listening thank you so much as well we’re so glad to have you here and we hope to see you next month as we move away from COVID and start our new series on arts and culture.

 

Fiona

You can support our podcast by leaving a review on Apple or your listening app of choice

until next month.

 

 

 

 

 

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*  The content and views discussed in this podcast series are those of the individuals involved. They are not necessarily condoned by, or, are the views of the Council for Intellectual Disability or its employees.