Words of Wellness: Reemergence

June 29, 2021 - Culture of Caring - Claudia Finkelstein

We are fifteen months post initial shut down. After a year that was odd for all of us (to say the least) and experienced differently by many, several state restrictions have been rescinded.

MSU restrictions have also been changing and you can keep up to date with them here at Together We Will. Our students have been experiencing a combination of virtual and in-person instruction since very early in the pandemic, as caring for patients and clinical exposure are very in-person activities.

The latest news from Human Resources is that employees who have student-, faculty- or public-facing roles will be returning, in some capacity, to onsite work while also asking leaders to support the self-care and flexibility of their units.

In other words, here we go! More change.

These changes will affect us in very different ways. Of the many people I have spoken with, I know that some are raring to get back to the office, others less so. We have been advised to stage our returns in order not to overwhelm IT or other systems. It seems prudent not to overwhelm our own systems too.

I’d like to encourage us all to take this as a period of gradual reemergence rather than as grudging re-entry. We can take a look at our relationship to our work, to our peers, to how we would like to show up, not only at work, but in the world at large.

We will be different, and our workplace will be different. There will be adjustments on both sides. We can ask ourselves what we can do to have our best post-pandemic selves emerge.

The issues within our control remain foundational. How many hours we sleep (except for new parents and people on call), the nature and quantity of fuel and fluids and news we consume, and the degree to which we have moved our bodies are all in that category.

There are others, such as institution, state or national regulations, which are beyond our control. In these cases, what we can work on are our own responses – internal and external. Recognizing and attending to our emotional states will help us to respond more skillfully. This is where therapy, journaling, and mindfulness can all play a role.

Then, there are activities that you know provoke either joy or relaxation or both for you. This can be music, art, nature, pets, massage, etc. You get the drift. Make sure to get these onto your calendar.

To that end, stay tuned for more information. In order to help ease some of the stress of transition, the Culture of Caring will be sponsoring free chair massages in East Lansing and Grand Rapids in late August. Mindfulness Pop-Ups will continue three times a week.

As we emerge, we can ask “What do I get to do? What do I have to do? What do I want to do?” and step into our new realities prepared to question our old ways.

Remember, there are resources to help.

Resources for Support

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Photo courtesy of Cynthia Vincent

Read more Words of Wellness from the Culture of Caring.