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What helps you cope? Our staff shares what lifts them up during tough times

After a year like 2020, we all get why these times are challenging for everyone. But as we begin this new year together, members of our JourneyCare staff are sharing what helps them find joy, comfort and peace during difficult times. We hope their words offer you inspiration, comfort and hope in your next life chapter.

Eileen Considine-Boggins, Provider Outreach Manager

In following a quote by Mother Teresa “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

My twin 9 ½ year old daughters and I have been cooking a lot and sharing with our elderly homebound neighbors. It has really cheered them up, and us even more. We have delivered cookies, quiches, soups and more. One of our favorite neighbors is a 93-year-old veteran with out-of-state family. My daughters made him a Christmas wreath, write him notes and deliver food. This helps us cope during COVID and is so much fun.

Victoria Foreman, Bereavement Counselor

Ted Talks! I’m addicted to Ted Talks: I learn something, they’re uplifting, often very funny and ALWAYS inspiring.

The best one I’ve watched recently (which also helps me with clients) is “How Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are” by Amy Cuddy. Grief is a very physical experience and learning about the power pose – how the body affects the mind just as much as the mind affects the body – helps me (and clients) feel more in control when so much of what we’re experiencing feels like we have no control. Such a simple thing, yet so powerful.

Angélica Gómez, Community Health Worker Apprentice

I enjoy spending some alone time and minimizing the “noise” around me. This can look like riding my bike around Big Marsh Park in Chicago, lighting some incense and coloring in an adult coloring book while drinking hot tea, or stretching on the floor while listening to soothing meditation sounds.

Patricia Hernandez, Certified Nursing Assistant

Talking to my best friend. She is the sunshine in my life and she is also the person who keeps me grounded. I don’t have a lot of family near me, so talking to her everyday helps me know that I’m doing the best I can with everything that is thrown at me – especially with all five of my kids being home and being a single parent. She lets me know that everything will be ok and, if all else fails, always believe and have faith.

I also have a spa day every month. I go and get a massage that relaxes me and makes me feel so good. Going to get your nails done. Reading a great book relaxes me it feels good to take a breathe and know that life goes on. You can be sad about things that happen but you always need to keep on going every day.

Anita Juarez, Staff RN

I am grateful for my friends and family who remind me that, in the midst of chaos, there is still beauty in the world. But aside from that blessing, there are a few practical things I do to keep myself from getting burned out:

I paint and redo old furniture, picture frames, and other household items and make them functional and beautiful again. For inspiration, I watch way too many furniture re-dos on YouTube 😊. I schedule “getaways” with my spouse, which are usually long two- or three-hour walks in the city or a short drive away to Milwaukee or another nearby town. We feel like we’ve been away for days, but are home by the evening. Looking forward to the walks also makes the days leading up to them nicer too. I get my hair professionally done at least once a month to remind myself that there’s still a nice-looking woman under my mask!

Because of COVID and all of the social isolation, I’ve managed to paint every single wall and ceiling on the second floor of my modest home, painted several pieces of furniture, learned to play a few beats on the drums, made my own curtains for the first time, and taught my adult sons and daughters how to cook family-favorite dishes and complete small home repairs. All of this is to say that COVID doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever – there’s usually a positive take on a bad situation if you search hard enough.

Megan Andriano, Bereavement Services Manager

Taking time everyday to walk outside. I bundle up, lace up my boots and walk in the crunchy snow if the sidewalks are icy. My dog loves it and I also typically use this little break to call and catch up with my mom, who lives alone. It lifts us both up and that sunshine in the winter is crucial for mood boosting!

Tony Pederson, Music-Thanatologist

Part of my coping is similar to what some people call “having life balance.” It is easy to see the benefit of balancing work with family time, walking in the forest, or a Netflix binge; but if that is all I’m doing, then life becomes static. Furthermore, if my fulfillment only comes from these one or two things (work, family, nature, etc.), then I’m more vulnerable to any disruption.

Instead, I want to build my capacities in as many areas as possible. On average, it takes about 100 hours to learn 80 percent of any skill. So I will spend two or three months getting a handle on the basics of something, whether it’s blacksmithing, archery, audio editing, animation, eating a keto diet, stretching, rough carpentry, playing the piano, beach volleyball, or any of 1,000 other things (in fact, I just described my past three years of “coping”).

Because my fulfillment is bolstered by each of these, any setback or difficulty I encounter is just a fraction of a much larger whole. It also is important go deep; to take a few areas and really pursue that remaining 20 percent of mastering a skill. Currently, that is woodworking, Tae Kwon Do and binging on Netflix.

Linda Rockwell, Veterans Program Manager

Taking a breather several times a day from social media and the constant barrage of COVID-19 updates has helped maintain my mental health.

Reading more books has transported me to worlds and eras far from our current situation.

And the weekly “team huddles” with my colleagues has been a great opportunity to vent, share funny stories and remind one another we’re all getting through this together!

Sheila Gatz, Pediatric Associate Team Manager

My role working with families in pediatric hospice and palliative care can be emotionally tough, so my day-to-day support is honestly my faith and my colleagues – we know that we can call anyone on our team to debrief a difficult situation; we frequently get and send group messages to brighten up each other’s day, but usually it’s to give everyone a laugh. We have a “Fun Committee” that helps with celebrating each team member. When you feel appreciated and part of a team, it makes all the difference since you feel supported and never alone.