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To residents, staff, friends and families,

As I wrapped up last weekend, I realize that I’ve been contemplating this topic for several days/weeks. There seems to be anger, frustration, disillusionment, and pessimism present in our society as we come through the unwinding phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are negative emotional reactions to what we have faced this last year. Our management team has been discussing this challenge as we see it impacting the relationship of residents to staff, staff to staff, and in some cases residents to residents. Are you sensing any of these negative emotional reactions? Are you seeing it in others? Are you seeing it in yourself?

This phenomena is actually studied and common after disasters. We seem to be at that ‘anniversary event’ stage, a low just before moving into a true recovery. In reading some of the study research, the low we are experiencing has no set time period. And the cycles of lows can repeat on anniversary phases. For the COVID-19 pandemic, one might argue that we still in the disillusionment period and there is no real anniversary because it isn’t over. What does seem to be over is the Honeymoon Period.

The honeymoon period was when we were all working together to respond and fight against COVID. Now it seems we have lost that collective approach and are more focused on individualistic ideals, breaking down the ‘We’re all in this together’ motto from one year ago.

So how do we get out of this downward cycle? I’m going to suggest a few key ideas for us as individuals to consider.

  1. Kindness: Be kind to one another. If you are angry, bite your tongue and walk away. Instead find one good thing about your day and share that with someone. Find one positive thing to say to someone else and make their day more meaningful.
  2. Smile: Fake it till you Make It. Smile if the sun is shining and bringing warmth to the day. Look someone in the eyes and smile so they can see your eyes light up. Just like a yawn….smiles are catching, too.
  3. Touch: We have feared touching for far too long. You won’t get cooties or COVID-19 by reaching out and touching someone’s arm, shaking hands, hugging, or giving a high five! Touch is so critical to human existence. Do it!

COVID-19 has seemed to close us off from the feelings of others. What each of us do is seen and felt by others. Let’s each think about our actions and focus on one thing that could give others a good feeling. Each small gesture, when repeated, will gradually grow and be felt by others in a positive way. Let’s each do our part to change the disillusionment cycle into one of hope and forward progress as we begin life anew.