My Turn: Especially now, love those around you Posted on April 2, 2020 By Rebecca Wolfe For the Concord Monitor Published: 3/31/2020 Last week, three different co-workers approached me within a span of two hours to express that I didn’t quite seem like myself, and they had taken note. The first one, I brushed off. It was just Jim being Jim. But after the next two well-meaning conversations, I felt dejected. I didn’t think I had been acting any differently… sure, I was a little more tense and distracted than usual – but wasn’t everybody? I mean, it is a whole mood right now, is it not? Yeah, I felt a little burnt out and weary, but I still had my health, my job, and my child was being taken care of during the day. I had nothing to complain about, so I figured I’d better keep pushing through *whatever* this is. I didn’t really expect to be called out on it. So, I began to overthink it and take it personally. Figured I must not be doing something right or not doing my work well enough. I became exasperated and was pretty close to needing to take an early lunch just so I could, you know, cry it out for a minute. Then a new day came. I started my long day at 7 a.m. by setting up the conference room for a committee meeting. John arrived shortly after with a smile and a “you’re efficient!” positive greeting to start my day. I almost believed it! I had on my brand new, bright red flats that I had just received as a birthday gift. We’d been permitted to wear jeans other than on a Friday and I had put in a slightly greater effort getting ready in the morning. The meeting started in typical Zoom fashion, folks announcing themselves as they were told to do, but of course we are humans – not robots – and we don’t arrive neatly, one by one. We crash in yelling “can you hear me?” “you’re all muted!” and beginning sentences – stopping – mirroring each other like two people who stopped at a 4-way-stop at the same exact time. It’s almost a beautiful disaster. One that, after two weeks of instructing, scheduling, starting, or joining, I was finally finding the humor in. John ended the meeting like he had the other two that we participated in together today. He commended the leadership team multiple times as was much deserved, they’ve been working their asses off. If he received praise himself he deflected it back to the staff who are working within the community, risking their own health and safety to take care of some of our most vulnerable population to ensure that they stay safe and healthy and out of the increasingly scarce hospital beds. It has been inspiring to hear the stories of teamwork, creativity and innovation in the ever-changing workflows. I felt an overwhelming feeling of comradery through the misery. A collective “this is so unbelievably, unpredictably, hilariously horrendous.” My mood was changing, and I could feel it. I felt like a part of a team, not just within the workplace but within my community as well. I called my 95-year-old grandma, who lives just 0.2 miles from where I work but is in lockdown at her retirement home. She always says she got through life on faith and a sense of humor. Though she doesn’t drive, she claims to have Triple A – Accept And Adjust. I bought a drink from Dunkin’ and made sure to make eye contact, smile and thank the person who handed me my drink. I sat for a while in the sunshine on the State House lawn. I watched a State Trooper speak to a homeless man with so much kindness. At 6:15 p.m., I walked out of the building a little bit lighter than I had when I arrived this morning. I was so grateful to have noticed a change, that I wanted to take the time to reflect on what had caused this shift in outlook. A little bit of self-care, public-spiritedness, and finding connectedness with my fellow co-workers and humans had seemed to do the trick. Take care of yourself. Find your team. Love your community. From all of us at Riverbend, remember to take care of yourself!