Judson Haims: Team approach is needed to end COVID-19
Special to The Aspen Times
We’ve spent the past many months preparing for a move to our new office. We’re almost finished. It’s been a very trying process. I hope this is the last week I have to say to my staff, “we’ll be in later this week” when I know in my heart there probably will be another week before a final move in.
It always seems that the last efforts getting to the finish line are always the hardest. Whether it’s a work project, a sports game, or any project that involves great amounts of planning, execution and attention to detail, often it’s completed with greater ease with a team approach. Often, teams achieve more per person than the individuals working alone.
In a few days, 2020 will be in our rearview mirror. A new year is ahead of us and with it may come an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the release of vaccinations may greatly advance us to the end of this terrible pandemic, getting to the finish is going to require a team effort and team buy-in.
We are all tired. Social distancing, social isolation, staying at home and wearing masks has been grueling. Many of us are physically and emotionally exhausted. Combined with months of fears for our own health and the health of those we love, layoffs and deaths, it’s no wonder that the medical community has coined a new term to explain this phenomena — “COVID fatigue.”
The best definition of COVID fatigue may be found in a posting from Psychology Today: “COVID-19 fatigue is a complex of emotions that include boredom, loneliness, sadness, frustration, anxiety, fear, anger and resentment, all brought on by the loss of activities and social relations produced by pandemic restrictions.” It is making an already challenging situation more complicated.
For those of us who have a support network of family and friends nearby, the stress and anxiety of the pandemic may have been lessened compared to those who do not have much support. Consider for a moment the brief reprieve from COVID stress and isolation the holidays may have offered you.
For many people who did not have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, the stress continues. We must not forget that it is important to support not only your own family and friends’ mental well-being, but that of others around you as well.
As we enter the new year, it would do us all well if we could remind ourselves that even the smallest acts of kindness and care can make a difference to those who may be struggling with anxiety, grief and isolation.
Here are some suggestions to help us all get through this:
Reach out: Make time for frequent phone/video calls. Hearing the voice from a loved one can be very therapeutic. Share your day and let others know you are there to talk about challenges they may be experiencing.
Limit the news and social media: Watching 24/7 media and deciphering facts from fiction can cause anxiety and depression.
Exercise: Alone or while socially distancing, get outside. A walk or any physical activity may brighten your day.
Beyond the physical and mental health challenges, COVID-19 fatigue may be causing us to lose focus and loosen up on the precautions we know we should be taking. Hard choices need to be made. We must keep our head in the game and not fumble when we are so close to a possible end game.
While vaccines are providing a light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel is long. It may not be until mid-summer that everyone who wants to receive the vaccine can. That leaves about six more months of people needing to provide care, compassion and to remain vigilant.
Make a New Year’s promise to reach out to the people you care about. Letting others know you care about them can do much to brighten their day. Getting our old lives back will not happen with a siloed approach. For us all to get through this, we must work together — as a team.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.