I was lucky enough to steal some time from Louise Larkin, the heart and the brains behind Friend in Me. We had a chat about how she is coping during these uncertain times and how the restrictions have changed the way she is living her life. Louise is not only a beautiful mama and a rad business woman, she’s also an all round bloody good human.
Lou Larkin – Founder of Friend in Me
Today I found myself listening to heaps of live music, and the memories came flooding in. You know those days where we could go and dance in the sun, be with our friends, listen to our favourite band belting out our favourite tunes, making memories. Yeah those days.
I can’t help but keep asking myself, “when will we get the opportunity to do that again?” I feel a little sad. Not only for our kids, but for our world and our future.
As I was driving to get necessities this morning, I looked out my window at a very grey Melbourne. I began to wonder what people would say if they knew I was leaving my home. Would they judge me?
As I looked ahead at the people walking the streets, some with masks on, I began to notice how afraid I am feeling. I am scared of the future, I am scared of the world we are living in today. I realised I’m scared of the “new normal.”
Who’s in control?
I regularly get asked how I am feeling and how I am coping through this pandemic and I can mostly say that I am remaining positive. It’s true, despite the words at the beginning of this article, I am trying my best to focus on the things I can control and not on the things that I cannot. I think that’s critically important for everyone, especially when we have children who are watching our every move and looking to us for words of support.
I can control turning off the news and not getting caught up in the hysteria of media.
I can’t control what they’re saying or showing, so I just switch it off!
I’m immensely happy that I have a beautiful, healthy family who are safe, and I am aware that we are amongst the lucky ones. Rather than sit feeling sad for the people that have lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their independence, I am making an effort to reach out to them and offer kind words, and assistance where I am able.
I feel happy that my mental health is stable and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however I am equally aware of the thousands of people who are suffering in a world of turmoil and darkness. There may not be anything I can do to dramatically impact their lives, but I support charities, I reach out to friends, I talk to my children about being mentally healthy, and I make sure that mental health stays a top topic in our house.
I am happy that my organisation Friend In Me can still bring so much magic to children who are stuck indoors and cannot have that social interaction that they so deserve. Friend in Me promotes inclusive communities and is on a mission of making sure no child is left behind, not just in this pandemic but in every day life. To be in this position of bringing so much joy to children’s lives, makes me realise how very fortunate we all are to be living in a time where technology allows us to connect despite the distances between us. Connection is key to getting through this.
So what do I do to cope?
I get so much joy out of checking in on my friends, my loved ones, strangers in the street, so I make sure this is a part of my day. **We need to do that more. Less hate. More Love.
I don’t get caught up in scrolling through pages and pages of social media, ending up saturated with the doom and gloom. I limit my screen time, and stick to it!
I surround myself with positive energy. Whether it’s great music, relaxation exercises, or walking outside and really breathing in the air, taking time to find the positives in your day is incredibly beneficial.
I also regularly buy a coffee for my neighbour just to show I am here for her. #itsthelittlethings
I will be ok. We will all be ok.
Of course, I have no idea when this will all be over, or what the new normal will look like in 6 months time, I am however, certain that if we continue to put one foot in front of the other and focus on the job ahead we will all be better together.
Go gently Friends, the world needs us all to unite and please, please always be kind – Louise Larkin
About Friend in Me
The Friend in Me organisation brings together children of all ages, nationalities and abilities to dance, play, sing, create and most importantly, make lifelong friends and memories they will cherish forever. These events will ensure “no child is left behind”. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.