We’re moving forward with gratitude
We’re moving forward with gratitude

Fourteen women reflect on their coronavirus experience



While we collectively entered this period of uncertainty with understandable anxiety - and perhaps a sense of loss - a slower pace of life has also given many people a chance to take a breath, and reflect on what matters most.

We asked 14 amazing women in our circle about their COVID-19 experience, knowing they each had their own unique circumstances. They share their powerful answers to three simple questions below: what will you keep, what will you leave behind, and (most importantly) what matters now? In May, a survey of Australian women found 70% agreed that life as we know it has changed forever*.

But the majority were also cautiously optimistic about the future and what that meant for them personally. For some, this is about being more grounded – appreciating the small things, or adopting mindfulness practices. Others have renewed gratitude for their health and wellbeing, and for the comforts of home. Nearly half intend to hold onto the new healthy habits they’ve developed, like eating better food.

And 82% said they feel there is no better place to be than Australia right now.

*Bauer Media, S54 Research HERpulse 4.0 Study, May 2020.

Mel Gleeson

endota's Founding CEO

What will you keep?

Finding a new sense of balance – to be a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend, as well as CEO. I had to quickly adjust to a different pace of life, while making thousands of decisions - and consuming more information than is able to be processed. But somehow, I have been navigating this turbulent sea as best I can. The wee hours of the morning allows some much needed me-time, which I will definitely be keeping and building upon.


What will you leave behind?

I am exhausted with the responsibility that comes with uncertain times ahead. So I’ll be leaving behind fear and regret. Having lived through COVID-19, I’ll stop worrying about things I can’t control and do my best with those things I can.


What matters now?

I love and care for so many and although this is the most amazing privilege of my life - in this time it has been a lot to bear. It is important that I’m aware and responding to my own needs as well as those of the people I love. Looking back on the last few months, I want to use what I’ve learned to make more insightful, grounded choices. I am open to the clearing and change that has to come.

 

Robyn Lawley

Model and Nature Warrior, @robynlawley

What will you keep?

It’s been a surreal experience to stay in one place – in my case, that’s NYC. Life in New York can be so fast-paced and the fashion world intense, so this has been a chance to stop for a bit, focus on setting up my veggie garden for summer, and create vegan recipes and music.


What will you leave behind?

Being my daughter’s school teacher – home schooling has been hard, I prefer teaching her practical skills.


What matters now?

My focus and priorities are still on the environment and how we can help as individuals. I hope people can use this time to also reflect on recent matters and help #endracism

 

Nicky Briger

Editor of Marie Claire Australia

What will you keep?

A feeling of gratitude: for the fact I live in Australia, have a healthy family, still have a job I love and continue to lead a fulfilled and fabulous life. After witnessing the hell that's been unleashed globally all we can do is be eternally thankful. I seriously hope I keep a vice-like grip on that sense of gratitude.


What will you leave behind?

My bulging ‘iso’ belly thanks to regular kitchen trips to snack on morsels lurking in the fridge! It's also time I left behind my penchant for elasticised sweat pants, Ugg boots and family-sized Toblerone. This slob mentality has been a dream, but I'm becoming too accustomed to it. It's time to re-enter the world of the living… and spend a day at an endota spa to machete my way through those post-pandemic eyebrows!


What matters now?

Family, friends, nature and a return to optimism. We've all gone back to basics - home life, no late-night functions or crazy schedules. Now that our lives have been stripped bare, we've learned valuable lessons about what really matters. And positivity and hope will help us rebuild. The last few months have also allowed the environment to breathe and for nature to return. Even the most die-hard sceptics can't turn a blind eye to human impact anymore.

 

Lorraine Sebastion

Head of HR, endota spa

What will you keep?

Track Pants and Sneakers! I’m a late adopter on these as they have been standard wear for my daughters for some time now. I have to admit, they are very versatile and incredibly comfy. Also very fashionable if you wear them well, which they do and I don’t! My daily walk (sometimes more than one) with our 15 month old Jack Russell Missy and my husband, is also a keeper. This has helped me to clear my mind and stretch my body after hours of sitting at my desk working, and Missy definitely enjoys dragging me around the local park.


What will you leave behind?

Zoom – it is not kind to many people! You may think you’re having a good hair day and don’t really need any makeup, then catch yourself on screen and it’s not pleasant feedback. My preference is definitely for the old mobile phone. There haven’t been many things that have felt overly burdensome over the past few months. Many people were and are going through things much worse, both COVID related and in other areas of their life. My family, friends and colleagues I care about are safe and well, so everything else is manageable.


What matters now?

What matters now is what always mattered, the people I care about. Family and friends, and their health, safety and happiness are what matters most. In the day to day activities of living life we can sometimes loose sight of this. Trying to do and be our best in all the things that make up our daily lives, we don’t always take the time to really connect with people in general, but also with those we care about the most.

 

Kym Eliopoulos

Owner and Founder, Wicks and Stones

What will you keep?

Morning runs to the end of the pier with my son Max. Even if everything else goes back to ‘normal’ these mornings are so special. If that’s all that comes from it, we have come out on-top.


What will you leave behind?

Home Schooling. The value of a teacher is almost priceless!


What matters now?

I’ve learned the importance of constantly adapting which can be applied to all areas of life. What worked today, may not work tomorrow. Also, not to sweat the small stuff. The outcome isn’t always the focus.

 

Keegan Dyt

endota Spa owner, Albury

What will you keep?

I struggle with not having control. During the last nine weeks there was really no choice other than to surrender to what was happening, and make the best of the time I was given to rest. After the fear started to dissolve, I began to really enjoy the freedom that came from trusting there was a bigger meaning behind what was happening. I would like to keep that big picture thinking.


What will you leave behind?

I intend to leave behind the guilt I felt whenever I wasn’t ‘busy’, because it was in the still moments that I made space for things that made me feel well. Doing that is the best way for me to lead by example. Having reflected on how I was operating before, I’d like to stop using so much valuable energy on things that I am against, and instead send it towards what I am for!


What matters now?

Genuine and whole-hearted human connection. Instead of being distracted behind a screen, just slowing down and taking the time to be in someone’s presence. Making time to play!

 

What will you keep?

Personally, to reinforce the need for kindness and compassion and to make more time for family, I missed my ‘grannies’ (grandchildren) when we were in ‘lockdown’. It made you reach out to extended family and check in on them.
Professionally, to make sure a focus on Kindness and Compassion is always across the organisation for staff, as well as the women and families we work with.
I felt it was very important to continue to be seen on the ground at work so I was here for the frontline workers in Baya Gawiy, the Early Childhood Learning Unit, the Child and Parent Centre and the Women’s Shelter who continued to provide a service within our community, to give strength to other members of the team and be across the issues in communities as they arise.
We noticed the real strengths in Aboriginal Communities and Organisations with leadership stepping up, providing solutions, Aboriginal Communities were the safe haven. While often Governments talk about our communities as the “Problem” we actually have the solutions. Elders were taking young people on Country and teaching them the healing nature of connecting. When it was safe my family went fishing and my grandson has been switched on to this learning.
Covid hit us in the winter months so a good time for hunting and gathering.


What will you leave behind?

‘Toilet paper’ interestingly there wasn’t a lot of hoarding in Fitzroy Crossing because we didn’t have the money, but food security was an issue because the hoarding in the cities left us scrambling for what was left in these small towns, because of what went on in the cities, by the time it got to us there was sparse pickings, for the first month anyway.
It taught us we don’t have to do our work always face to face, so we can reduce the need to leave our communities, so I might leave behind lots of demands to travel and meet people, I have become an expert on zoom.
While we have been kept safe we now have to work in a world that Covid could come in. While we are aware of it and take precautions we need to live life and find a ‘new normal’ that supports us where ever we live


What matters now?

Personally , is to continue to have personal time, and that we know that we live in a world that is very fragile and we need to nurture ourselves and others
As far as the organisation Covid has taught us the direction we are heading in is the right direction, trauma aware and healing informed needs to be continuous at the core of all we do.
We need to lend our voices to Aboriginal Communities as they have shown great strength and leadership and need to be honoured. They need to be supported to realise their vision, to get the resources they need like investment in housing , jobs and creating safe nurturing spaces for women, children, families and communities , true self determination where they have the capacity to create their futures on Country.

 

Sheree Commerford

Stylist & Creative Storyteller, @shereecommerford

What will you keep?

The sense that nothing is certain is now part of my every day. It has finally hit home – I will not be taking my loved ones or my life for granted again.


What will you leave behind?

This is still a work in progress. We have not yet experienced the full extent of what this virus means for our lives and the world. Right now, I’ll replace grand plans with smaller, more realistic ones. Ones that can prosper here in Australia. And I’ll leave behind a sense of urgency for things to move forward, and replace that with contentment.


What matters now?

Adaptation. Taking what we have learnt about the world, connecting to what we really need to exist and be happy, and making brave choices in our work and personal lives. Everything is changing fast, and to be able to live, prosper and support our families and our own mental wellbeing we must adapt.

 

Sarah Tammer

Celebrity Make-up Artist, @sarahtammer

What will you keep?

I have been doing three to four yoga classes a week and it’s making the world of difference for me on all levels – mind, body and spirit. I will definitely be keeping more yoga in my life!


What will you leave behind?

Pressure! I’ve been feeling a huge sense of relief and I’m loving the more relaxed, laid back feeling of doing things in my own time, at my own pace.


What matters now?

My health, my loved ones, and Mother Earth.

 

Chelsea Treseder

endota Spa Therapist, Mornington

What will you keep?

The simplicity that comes with less rushing around. To make more time for what I love and activities that make me happy.


What will you leave behind?

Fear of the unknown.


What matters now?

Having the confidence to make positive changes based on self-reflection during this time. Staying connected and catching up with family and friends. Enjoying life!

 

Lou Kenny

Model, @lou_f_kenny

Photo: @kim_akrich

What will you keep?

My magpie mentality! I'm gathering up lots to keep from the curb side! A couple of tables, a 50s office chair, bikes from the neighbours, numerous towels left abandoned at the beach. I’m also keeping and repairing garments, giving vintage pieces some overdue TLC.


What will you leave behind?

A creepy self-centredness that rears up – the voice in my head that says ‘what about me’? It has no room in my life now and when I hear others do that I stop listening fast. In other words, I am leaving behind the ‘glass half full’ crew along with their whining and selfishness.


What matters now?

It has always been is our environmental wellbeing – and the wellbeing of everyone around me, the community at large. Sharing and practicing yoga is part of that, it opens the door to change.
Change is progress and I embrace it daily. It’s time to right some ongoing wrongs – when a mining company can blast an important Indigenous cave or people can scramble to climb Uluru, it shows disrespect for culture. We are still not learning from the past.

 

Dr. Hayley Dickinson

Women’s Health Expert, @eatforbaby

What will you keep?

A slower paced life. This means having more time each week where we have made no plans.


What will you leave behind?

Hustling and the feeling of being rushed.


What matters now?

Paying attention to and caring for those around me above all else.

 

Sarah Davidson

Influencer and Business Owner, @spoonful_of_sarah

What will you keep?

I've definitely enjoyed rediscovering a slower, gentler pace of life. This forced slow down has pushed me to really re-evaluate how liberal I was with the word "urgent" and how much faster I allowed life to accelerate even when it wasn't really necessary. I'm sure things will get a little busier as we slowly return to normal, but I hope to keep a grip on this new perspective on enjoying the ride.


What will you leave behind?

I guess the flip side of the above is leaving behind some unhelpful habits in terms of burning the candle at both ends. But it also showed me that as much as I thought I wasn't, I was definitely a victim of FOMO and sacrificed so much family time or simple down time at home with Nic and our golden retriever to be at events or taking on work when I should have put up better boundaries. So that incessant need to say 'yes' to everything will hopefully be left behind in part.


What matters now?

Kindness. I think if 2020 has shown us anything, it's that kindness is always a good idea.

 

Tanya Markul

Author

What will you keep?

Thank you sickness and injury for reminding me how important it is to make nourishing decisions, to take care of my body, my family, and my community.
Thank you quarantine and isolation for bringing me back to life’s real necessities and natural wisdoms—of Nature, the trees, and the sky—for reminding me that my footprint is significant, that my choices, voice, and actions matter, and have never been more important now and for our future.
And, a blessing for all of those who’ve crossed the Great Divide, to those in mourning, for reminding me that this time is so very precious. Thank you, hardest year of my life, of our lives, for waking me, and us, the fuck up.


What will you leave behind?

I’m leaving behind old ways of thinking and living that exist with the intention of corrupting, manipulating, exploiting, suppressing justice, truth, and the real beauty and purpose of life.
I’m leaving behind the old me. RIP Old Self. You served a great purpose.


What matters now?

Our time here is limited, and every second we waste not living out our potential is a moment we can’t get back. And every choice that we make that isn’t a HIGH & HOLY HELL YES, that isn’t nourishing and expansive, is not the right one. This is the time to make decisions and live our lives from a place of warriorship versus fear.
The paradigm is shifting and we’re being invited into an era where equality, passion, humanity, beauty, love, and creativity can make this world a better place—that these things aren’t weak, but more powerful than we have imagined.
Choose who you want to spend your energy and the time on—and, by all means, use life’s moments to make love, to make your life and the space around you beautiful and balanced and kind—And be fierce and unafraid to find the space in the world that fits your exact shape and fill it with your truth!
Fight for the kind of world you want to live in—for what you believe in—AND think of every breath as an opportunity to spread sunshine and flowers—and grow into your potential every chance you get!

We’d love you to share your experience with us

How has your experience over the past few months shaped you?
What behaviours or beliefs will you keep, leave behind and focus on now?

Head over to @endotaspa to share your experience.