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Northern Rivers Local News

Why you may be feeling anxious exiting lockdown



Why you may be feeling anxious exiting lockdown

Why you may be feeling anxious exiting lockdown

After months of being in lockdown, it’s very normal to feel overwhelmed when reconnecting with society.

As we begin to gradually reopen in New South Wales after more than 100 days in lockdown, friends and family joke about bringing notes with talking points when reconnecting – as we’re all potentially feeling a little rusty in the socialising department. But jokes aside, there are also those who have expressed feelings of anxiety and mixed emotions as we start to return to some form of normality.

Is it normal to feel this way? And how can we best manage our feelings of anxiety?
“It’s very normal to feel anxious about socialising after being in lockdown for so many months,” said Dr Suraj Samtani, clinical psychologist at UNSW Medicine & Health and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA). “Studies from other countries have found that a lot of people felt this way during the first few months of reopening after lockdown. Remember that you are not alone in feeling this way.”

Dr Samtani said there are a number of factors that may cause individuals to feel anxious as they re-enter society. “First, it’s important to remember that COVID infections are a health condition, so it’s human to feel anxious about getting sick. It may be that friends or family have had COVID and we saw what it did to them.

“It may be that we’re worried about our loved ones getting COVID if we start to socialise again. We may also feel this way because we have not been socialising for a long time so it’s easy to lose confidence.”

Allow yourself time to readjust
If you are feeling anxious, Dr Samtani said it’s important to go at your own pace and allow yourself time to readjust.

“We know from other countries that people felt anxious about reopening for a few months and then their anxiety decreased naturally over time. If you are feeling anxious, start with small steps – like meeting one or two people outdoors – and repeat the steps until you feel more confident before moving on to medium steps.”

Simply strategies such as setting time boundaries may also help you get back into the social groove. Rather than accepting open-ended social interactions, you may feel more comfortable meeting up over a coffee for an hour or so. It’s important to articulate what you’re comfortable and not comfortable doing when it comes to socialising.

Dr Samtani also suggests trusting and following the government’s health advice instead of looking at other unofficial sources of information. “Don’t binge watch COVID news and don’t avoid situations if you know they are safe, but take things step by step.

“Avoidance leads to anxiety, but experience leads to confidence.” Those who are most likely to feel anxious

Those who are most likely to feel anxious
Individuals in particular pockets of society are more likely to feel anxious about reopening, such as those suffering from financial stress. Dr Samtani said research showed people living alone, who lost income or had economic worries felt more anxious during lockdown.

“Often these are young adults working in gig economies who don’t have savings, migrants or people living with health conditions. People with pre-existing mental health conditions are more at risk of feeling anxious due to changes in restrictions. As children go back to school, parents and teachers may also feel anxious about re-opening.”

The effects of reduced social connection on individuals as a result of the pandemic may depend on an individual’s personality. Interestingly, research from Kingston University in the UK revealed extroverts experienced less anxiety during lockdown.

However, despite individual characteristics, socialising is potentially going to feel more exhausting for some of us compared to pre-pandemic times as more thought needs to go into socialising safely. As we navigate public health orders that are constantly being updated, as well as ongoing public health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and entry into venues based on vaccination status, there are additional factors we now need to consider before stepping out the door. And that’s okay. Just remember, it’s perfectly normal to feel stressed as we begin to reconnect with society. Sharing your feelings with a close friend or relative will help overcome these feelings.

“It’s important to have someone – like a friend, family member or health professional – you can confide in about your feelings and the changes that are happening. Set up a routine with getting outdoors, exercising and doing activities you enjoy. Helping others can also help us to reduce our anxiety. Reach out to a friend or family member who has been isolated,” said Dr Samtani.

While there may be ongoing anxiety-related conditions as we gradually reopen, the good news is a study on resilience suggested that we can build resilience during the pandemic by actively seeking social support, finding meaning in our experiences, and helping others.

Northern Rivers Local News





NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News


Labor Candidate for Page Patrick Deegan today confirmed his support for an increase to the minimum wage for Northern NSW workers.

“The real wages of ordinary Australians are going down under the Morrison-Joyce Government,” Patrick Deegan said.

“Inflation is now steaming ahead at 5.1 per cent. Everything is going up, except for wages.

“That’s why I fully support Anthony Albanese’s call for an increase to the minimum wage, and agree that the minimum wage should go up in line with inflation.

“An increase to the minimum wage of around 5 per cent would equate to just one dollar an hour. It would be a modest increase, but it is desperately needed by many people in Northern NSW who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Patrick Deegan said Northern NSW included some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

“For many people in our region, life on the minimum wage is not an abstract concept. It is their lived reality.

“These are the people who suffer most when governments choose to pursue policies that intentionally drive down wages.

“That’s why so many felt deflated when the Prime Minister claimed an increase to the minimum wage that matched inflation would be ‘incredibly reckless’.

“Let’s get this straight: a small increase to minimum wage would help people to pay for their rent, for their petrol and their food. It would be anything but reckless.”

Patrick Deegan called on Member for Page Kevin Hogan to support low-paid workers in Northern NSW by also backing the call for an increase to the minimum wage.

“Kevin Hogan has been missing in action on the issue of pay and the cost of living. The people of Northern NSW need to know where he stands.”

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2022 Floods

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 




NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 


Residents and businesses in many parts of the Byron Shire, especially Byron Bay and Suffolk Park, have been affected by flooding with heavy rainfall across the region overnight.  

Rainfall figures released by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show Coopers Shoot recorded 319mm of rain to 9am this morning (30 March 2022) with 282mm at Byron Bay. 

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms remains in place. 

Moderate flooding is also possible along the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby and along the Marshalls Creek at Billinudgel early this afternoon.  

All available Council staff are at work, although many have also been impacted by the rain and flooding.   

For links to all the latest information from the SES, BoM and Council go to our Emergency Dashboard. 

Our Facebook page has loads of information as well. 



At 11:30 am, we have 37 reported road closures and a significant number of flood cautions issued across our network in Byron Shire. 

The M1 is closed southbound at Tyagarah. 

Significant flash flooding has been experienced in the Byron town centre and industrial estate. 

The flash flooding experienced in Lawson, Jonson Street and surrounds has been unprecedented. Traffic controls have been in place since early this morning.  

Shirley Street is closed at Kendall Street and Ewingsdale Road is closed near Belongil Bridge at Sunrise Boulevard, police are on the scene. 

We also have a landslip reported at Broken Head Road near the Coast Road and emergency services have been on site this morning. There is another landslip reported at Bangalow Road that remains inaccessible to emergency services. 

Suffolk Park experienced significant flash flooding overnight, a number of roads remain cut off here. 

New Brighton Road is closed near the intersection of Redgate Road. 

The majority of our major hinterland roads remain cut off and inaccessible, with crews unable to further inspect the damage in these areas. We have been advised by locals a new landslip has occurred at Wilsons Creek Road. We will provide updates on this when they come to hand. 

We’ve received reports of a number of trees down, blocking roads across our network, many in areas we are still unable to access. 

Evacuation Centres


The Cavanbah Centre Byron Bay was opened as an Evacuation Centre this morning by the lead agencies (Department of Communities and Justice and Northern Rivers NSW SES). 
We are aware getting to the Cav is a challenge at the moment because of road closures. Check MyRoadInfo to see what roads are open and closed.  

Water and Sewer


All available staff are working on the water and sewer network across the Shire. 

Any urgent problems with water, sewer and drainage should be reported to our Depot staff on 02 6685 9300. 

Non-urgent problems can be reported via Report It on our website. 

Drinking water and water for household use 

There is currently no problem with water supply in the Byron Shire and the water is safe to drink and for household use.  

Our water treatment plant at Mullumbimby is still off-line but we have enough water reserved and we have also turned on the emergency connection to the Rous County Council water supply. 

There are no water restrictions but we do ask that people use water sparingly until the flood water recedes and operations return to normal. 


Heavy rain yesterday and overnight is continuing to have an impact on our sewer system and our network is under pressure from the large amount of water flowing into pump stations around the Shire. 

Staff are doing all they can but they can’t get to some sites because of flooding.  Once the rain stops and water subsides we will get to all the affected areas. 


Everyone should stay out of stormwater.  This is the water in the streets and coming up through the drains. 

Stormwater is dirty and often contaminated with sewer run-off and other substances that are harmful to our health.  

For more information about the danger of stormwater go to the NSW Health website. 


Due to the severe weather and issues with access, Byron Resource Recovery Centre, the tip, is closed today. 

Kerbside bins will be collected on your normal bin collection day. There may be some delay to collections if access has been limited due to road closure and flooding. 

Flooding through Byron township has resulted in multiple vehicles getting inundated and large quantities of floating rubbish. This area will be a primary focus for our crews clean-up once water levels drop.


Areas that we have not been able to collect are: 

·        Byron Industrial Estate 

·        Skinners Shoot Road  

·        Shirley Lane   


Flood recovery clean-up is on hold. 


Visit Flood clean up and waste for more information. 

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2022 Floods

Severe Weather Conditions in Ballina Shire – Avoid Unnecessary Travel




NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Severe Weather Conditions in Ballina Shire – Avoid Unnecessary Travel




The Lennox Head Cultural Centre is open today as an evacuation centre for anyone seeking shelter from the severe weather and flash flooding.


Please only travel to the centre if it is safe to do so. If you are currently safe in your home, it is still the best option to stay where you are and stay off the roads if possible.


For emergency help in floods and storms call the SES on 132 500.



Residents are strongly urged to avoid travel today.


The Pacific Highway is closed from Wardell to Tintenbar, between Coolgardie Road and Tamarind Drive. This means the Cumbalum Interchange remains closed as well as the Interchange at West Ballina. River Street in West Ballina is also currently closed due to floodwaters.


The Burns Point Ferry remains CLOSED until further notice.


Due to access and safety restrictions Ballina Shire Council staff cannot inspect and signpost all urban roads. As soon as it is safe to do so our crews will complete inspections and Council will post updates to Please be aware of changing conditions in your local area.



Anyone needing to collect sandbags should lodge a request with SES by calling 132 500.



The Recovery Centre at the Ballina Surf Club remains closed today due to the severe weather. The Recovery Centre will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Flood-impacted residents can still access support by calling the Service NSW hotline on 13 77 88.


Minimise water use

If you hear your toilet gurgling, it is expected during the extreme weather we are currently experiencing.

The current high rainfall and tidal impacts are putting extreme pressure on our pump stations and wastewater network.

Council crews are doing all they can to clear the excess backlog but they’re up against it in the current conditions.

To assist us please minimise your water use such as bathing/showering, washing and toilet flushing.

If residents experience problems with sewage entering their home please contact Council on 1300 864 444.


Bin collection

Council’s Resource Recovery Team will be unable to complete collections today, Wednesday 30 March due to flooding.

Missed collections are expected to be rescheduled for Saturday 2 April 2022. Where safe to do so, residents can leave their bins out for recollection.


Missing bins
If you are in need of a bin replacement, please log a request via the Community Portal on or call 1300 864 444 for our team to log your request.


Waste Management Centre Closed

The Waste Management Centre on Southern Cross Drive is closed today due to staff not being able to access the site. It will reopen tomorrow if it is safe to do so.


Ballina Byron Gateway Airport

Commercial flights have been cancelled today and access roads are flooded. Passengers should not to travel to the airport today and should contact their airline directly for flight information.

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