By Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO, LeadingAge California
We hear daily about the two-year ‘anniversary’ of COVID-19 – closing down offices, working from home, staff burnout, the ‘great resignation,’ zoom calls from morning ‘til night, and more. On this second anniversary of the pandemic, I thought back on my own feelings of isolation, inability to visit freely with family and friends, and missing my work-family’s daily routines – convening in the conference room, over lunch, a walk around the block, attending a conference.
I have tried everything to help defeat isolation – walking long distances to exercise, getting a Peloton, trying out new recipes, getting hooked on a Netflix series or two, perfecting the zoom-blur background, playing virtual-games with the LeadingAge California team and members, being ‘present’ on every virtual meeting, and more. There is no replacement for in-person connections, but these self-care techniques have helped to get me through these last two years.
I saw a headline in an article recently that read “The
New, Newer, Newest Normal.” This rang true as I wondered what the “next normal” would be. How would we retain our organization culture, build new leaders, and create new member value in our ‘newest normal’? How would we all stay sane if there is a new variant that slaps us in the face? Then I realized – our organizational culture is built on intentionality of planning, doing, and accepting. Self-care then is and should be accepted as part of our culture and integrated into everything we do.
This issue of Engage is important to each of us individually and to all of us collectively. How we integrate self-care activities personally and into our corporate culture will have an impact on our future success. There are rich examples of what self-care activities are working, and may work for you, your team, and your residents/patients – from iNSPIRE to JAVA, to EAP, and to the myriad mental health bills on the horizon.
I hope to see you all at our Annual Conference in Pasadena May 16-18. We will have self-care activities for all members, business partners, students, and residents as we come back together – safely – for the first major conference since early 2020.
In the meantime, read these articles and integrate something you haven’t tried before to improve self-care in your personal life and at your community.