CINZ Conference 31 October 2019

File photos:  Above & below, Nigel Latta presents at the Convention & Incentives NZ Conference at the Skyline in Queenstown, NZ 31 October 2019.  Copyright image: Clare Toia-Bailey /,nz

Talofa lava. Kia ora,

I listened to some comments on the Breakfast show on TV One today, the team were interviewing, renown Clinical Psychologist Nigel Latta about his thoughts and  strategies to deal with the heightened anxiety levels that have resulted because of COVID-19 .

We are into the second week of a 4 week Government enforced lock down which has seen the majority of New Zealanders spending most of their time at home – that is unless you’re an essential service worker, or  getting groceries, medical assistance/supplies or exercise.

As a parent with three kids - aged 8, 11 & 13 at home at the moment, I took some comfort in his thoughts. I am passing on his views for the benefit of those that may have missed this information.

He acknowledges that anxiety is the new norm right now, “Getting anxious is going to happen - it is going to be tough. What we are going through now is an incredibly complex situation. There’s a lot of information.” He suggests to choose what you read or listen too, “I read an economic opinion piece and found myself starting to get stressed. I decided that I wouldn’t read these articles."   He suggests to choose how much of this information should be in front of your kids. “Try not to freak out about it (or at least not in front of the kids). Try and bring your focus back to those things around you that you can control like those things that are going on in your house right now.”

I felt a bit guilty about those thoughts having been slightly obsessed with the news for the last couple of weeks to help get my head around the new situation we are dealing with. To the point that I’ve been quite short with the kids if they interrupt some of the updates and I haven’t really bothered to shield them from what they are seeing or hearing! (The latter is a deliberate personal choice).

Nigel Latta
CINZ Conference 31 October 2019

Latta gave an example how his family was managing the lock down situation. “We are focusing on our mission which is to maintain the 'calm and peace' during this period. " He notes, whilst his kids are older, homework is not a relevant issue for their family but for other families this may mean:

- Try to avoid fighting with kids over homework or making school work a big fight, and

-If screen time is going to help (occupy) the kids then let them, and if its over the duration of the current (4 week) lock down it will not hurt them!

Phew, as we’ve let our 13 year old in particular indulge in screen time - connecting with his friends via computer and mobile is keeping him happy, with the odd chore and exercise thrown in...

Anyway, I’ve heard Nigel speak a couple of times now and most recently when I photographed the Convention & Incentives NZ Conference in Queenstown at the end of last year. Interestingly enough, one of his key points here was about “Reducing Friction” in the workplace. For most of us, our work place is now in the home and reducing the friction to keep the 'peace' will be a key focus to survive in our household too :)

Keep safe! Fa & nga mihi 

Clare Toia-Bailey

image central

PS Big ups for Nigel reducing his speaking fee to support organisations in this time of need - visit his website for more info.

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