Kaye Deppeler

COVID reflections | By Kaye Deppeler

Local resident Kaye Deppeler has bravely penned her own story of mindfulness throughout this unprecedented COVID-19 event – a moment in history that took away her income, her routine, her sense of purpose and her confidence.
We hope you enjoy this valuable insight into how Kaye is learning to cope and how she is improving her mental health in preparation for life as we all once knew it.



By Kaye Deppeler

One thing that I have learned from the 2020 new world order is that whilst we are never in control of our own destiny, or can predict the future, we can control how we physically and emotionally deal with the destiny that we find ourselves in.

I did not ever once consider that I would be standing, physically upright but emotionally withered in a queue at Centrelink in the rain at 7:30 in the morning, hoping no one I knew would notice me. Well, turns out, I was, and I now know that I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to have had a queue to stand in.

I have always worked really hard. I am a creature of routine, and habit. My days, no matter what, for the past 25 years have always included physical exercise and that is my time to think, reflect, dream and plan my days ahead. I have a positive outlook on life – a ‘yes I can do it approach’ and always believed that there is hope in movement.

I learned so much every day from my job as a teacher.  I have loved my work until the day I decided that I needed a change. So, not one to procrastinate I resigned from my 24-year career and life as I knew it, and decided to go in a different direction.

In 2019 with my routine gone, I physically worked really hard, saying goodbye to 30 years of accumulated clothes, books, children’s drawings unnecessary clutter and moved upstairs.  I cleaned, painted, redefined spaces and spent a considerable amount of my savings to renovate my 34 year old home and turn it into an Airbnb. What a great plan!

I opened in November and absolutely smashed it! In December over 115 people stayed in my home!  January was amazing I hosted up to 7 people every night – people from all over the world. I cleaned, changed sheets, washed windows and then raced off to work at my second job in a local retail store, raced back home to greet the new guests, walked my dog, fell into bed and did it all again the next day! Thursdays was my day off when I minded my beautiful grandson.  This, I thought was going to be my destiny, my future for the next 5 years or so.

February with bushfires and the beginnings of the global threat of a pandemic, things began to change.  I adjusted my prices, and still got amazing occupancy and reviews. The curtain came down for me in March. Existing bookings were cancelled, no new ones were wanted. I had to shut my business.

The retail shop was no longer an option for me. I would wake up to a day of no actual required things to do. I was way out of my depth and was a bit scared about my physical and mental health. I increased my walking regime to try and figure it all out and try to work out where I now had found myself. My children (grown up and with their own lives) began to worry about me and our roles somehow became reversed.

I had to face the reality that I had lost my income. I had also however lost my daily routine and in many ways my sense of purpose.  Standing in that Centre Link queue was a defining moment (or two hours!) I had lost my social connection.  I subsequently, lost my sense of purpose, and with all that, my very sense of self. All in a very short time!

I could not change what had happened. But, I could change how I dealt with it. I had to rethink what really mattered. This was easy. My family. My friends. My mental health, and my physical health.

For me, physical health and mental health have always been inseparable. When I have had a dilemma, with work or relationships, or any damn thing, I have always walked!

For me, walking is physically uplifting. My body works, my posture straightens, my aches disappear, my heart pumps, my brain kicks into gear, my senses open up to smells, sounds, sights of wonder, and I suddenly can see clearer. It makes me happy. My problems become insignificant.  It also has made me make decisions and dream and plan. Walking gives me a sense of being grateful for what I have.

During this Covid-19 catastrophe, I have lost a lot but I have achieved so much more. I have walked an average of 16 kilometers a day. My dog has lost weight. I have maintained my fitness level and hence my ability to make the most of the day. I have reinvented my garden. Created two vegetable patches using mainly my own seeds.

My Airbnb is still there, looking great and I will reopen at some stage before too long when I get my confidence back. My family are all so amazing. We zoom every second night. My mum is out of aged care (we whipped her out on the morning that the facilities went into lock down!) My friends are all so supportive and important. My partner of 5 years who lives 40 minutes away is still speaking to me!

I still struggle at times with my mental health, but I just go for a walk!

  • Suzanne Wilson
    Posted at 18:06h, 29 May Reply

    You are amazing Kaye!! You have achieved so much and walking 16 kms a day!! Wow.?

  • Fiona Royle
    Posted at 18:10h, 29 May Reply

    Kaye, I had to comment and thank you for putting your story out there. I can relate on so many levels, the decision to move out of the life you’ve had to something that is unknown is not easy. And yes I’ve “queued” online at Centrelink, something I’ve never done in my life. But to not lose sight of who we are and why we made our choices is worth hanging onto because for me, I’ve become a happier and far more relaxed person, able to embrace life and what it brings my way with a better ability to cope.

  • Lesley Barnewall
    Posted at 20:54h, 29 May Reply

    Loved reading this.

  • Tracey Heeps
    Posted at 16:11h, 30 May Reply

    Bravo Kaye, that which doesn’t kills us…..

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