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George and Jean Hegarty three tips tips for staying sane during COVID-19

Tips from the farm: Pappinbarra couple George and Jean Hegarty say there are a number of ways to maintain sanity during times of isolation.

Tips from the farm: Pappinbarra couple George and Jean Hegarty say there are a number of ways to maintain sanity during times of isolation.

Want some tips on how to stay sane while adhering to social distancing rules and congregating guidelines?

The best people to give advice are those that are used to living, working and playing in some form of isolation - members of the farming community.

George and Jean Hegarty have a small beef cattle business on 80 acres of their property, about an hour west of Port Macqarie.

Nearly all the off-farm activities they are involved in have cancelled meetings for the foreseeable future.

"That means we have little need to travel except essential shopping for ourselves and our animals - now limited to one trip a week," the couple said.

"The various jobs we have on the farm keep us well occupied so our normal day hasn't changed much at all.

"On visiting town we are aware of the heightened hygiene and social distancing measures put in place by the various businesses and strictly adhere to recommended procedures.

"We miss regular contact with other members of the community but we all generally realise that the measures recommended by the health authorities are prudent and temporary and will only succeed if all get on board."

We miss regular contact with other members of the community but we all generally realise that the measures recommended by the health authorities are prudent and temporary and will only succeed if all get on board.

George and Jean Hegarty

Greater compliance by all means a quicker return to normality, the couple said.

So, how should we more readily come to terms with the stay-at-home rules and minimal contact.

The Hegartys have three solid tips.

"Come to terms with the fact that the social distancing measures, as well as the general business shut downs, will likely last for several months if we are to get on top of the pandemic. Even if we successfully overcome the first wave of the pandemic there will, most likely, be secondary waves.

"Secondly, keep in touch with family and friends via telephone, email, social media platforms - whatever. It is vital that we offset the negatives of social distancing measures with the positive energy that regular contact engenders.

"And, finally, maintain a sense of perspective and humour. We are not alone. Our leaders are heeding the timely and consistent medical advice we are getting and are throwing all the resources they can at the problem to ensure that no one is left behind and that businesses are well placed to recover."

The Hegartys say success in beating this pandemic in a timely fashion depends on every single member of the community adhering to the measures that medical experts advise are essential if the virus is to be contained and brought under control.

"Chief among these is limiting all face to face contact to what is essential and exercising strict hygiene practices.

"This pandemic will likely have profound changes to the way we conduct ourselves in future.

"When the good times rocked and rolled who could have foreseen that our buoyant national economy as well as the surging global economy could be stopped in its tracks by a tiny virus only visible through the lens of a powerful electron microscope.

When the good times rocked and rolled who could have foreseen that our buoyant national economy as well as the surging global economy could be stopped in its tracks by a tiny virus only visible through the lens of a powerful electron microscope.

George and Jean Hegarty

"The recent droughts and bushfires have already shaken our sense of mastery of the universe and forced us to accommodate known risk factors into our decision making.

"Pandemics, such as COVID-19, present new and frightening ones - things that are matters of life and death and whose emergence is completely out of our control."

As a farming couple, the Hegartys are also keenly watching the movements and shifts in markets across the globe. They already see some patterns emerging.

"The weaknesses of global trade - something that is, in some measure, under our control - have also been mercilessly exposed.

"Chasing the cheap labour dollar has resulted in countries all over the world being over-reliant on one or two suppliers of vital medical and safety equipment.

"The same goes for the supply of other essential equipment now outsourced to the cheapest provider.

"Again, the 'V' or 'U' shape economic recovery being promoted by government is nonsense.

"The idea that after falling over a financial cliff we are all going to be magically elevated to the position we were in before the pandemic struck is fanciful," the couple said.

Recovery will be slow and painful and there will be many losers - big and small, they added.

This story Three top tips for keeping your sanity during COVID-19 first appeared on Port Macquarie News.