Hi Everyone! I can’t believe I am writing the September newsletter and that fall will soon be here. Summer is waning and it hasn’t felt like summer because we haven’t been together. I miss the picnic, barbecue, the volunteer celebration, ice cream social, the rummage sale, as well as all the classes, groups and the normal everyday things we do together. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s going on 6 months since we had to redesign how we do things, wear masks, practice physical distancing, and not see everyone at the Center every day. This is a tough time for so many. But, I’m one for silver linings and I believe we have learned some things and new ways to connect and many tell me they have never been more organized and decluttered.
But, challenges continue and I read several articles lately on loneliness and on how to find strength during trying times. An article by Dr. Murthy, Surgeon General from 2014 to 2017, says loneliness is not about the number of people around you, but how you feel about the connections in your life and about yourself. Serving others can help. “Service shifts our attention from ourselves to other people”. I think that’s why so many say volunteering has positive aspects on life. Dr. Murthy also says the “absence of physical contact with people shows how essential in person interaction is”. Interactions that we have with family, neighbors, community, and even strangers is important. And, my favorite from Dr. Murthy, “There’s something powerful in receiving a smile from someone. These moments have a significant effect on lifting our mood”.
Then two articles by Paul Schoenfeld caught my eye. He says this pandemic is taking a toll on mental health. How the loneliness and uncertainties of these times can get to us especially since it isn’t getting better very fast. He says it’s time to dig deep within ourselves and find our strength; we need to keep putting one foot in front of another. He suggests “this is a time for us to be at our best, kind, loving, caring, compassionate, community minded, and patient. It’s the time for us to be our greatest selves”. In another article he says to help us nurture inner peace and restore our energy is the ability to take a few minutes and simply do nothing, just be in that moment. What might you hear or what thoughts might come to you? He remembers as a child lying on the grass and looking at the clouds drift by and the thoughts that brought and the connection to nature and inner peace. Maybe we should all go out and sit and look at the sky and clouds.
September brings our very important virtual Al Hovland Memorial $pring for $eniors Auction on Sunday, September 13th. This is vitally important to the Center’s financial position for 2020. The pandemic has caused havoc with our funding ability. We need everyone’s help and support. It will be fun, exciting, and hopefully profitable. See the article on the front page.
I hope fall will bring improvement to the situation and we can safely add more services, but we must continue all the safety measures and protocols for the foreseeable future. I love fall and hope it will be a very good one for all of you. I wish each of you a lovely September.
Love and remember to smile; it makes a difference.
Hi Everyone! I say Happy August. August has always been Volunteer Appreciation Month at the Center. So, even though we are still mostly apart, I want to thank each of our wonderful volunteers who are the Heart and Soul of the Center. You make it what it is. THANK YOU!!!
It’s mid-July as I’m writing this and thinking about how long it has been since we have all been together. Handshakes and hugs were allowed, people could sit 6 to a table, we could see each other’s faces. Well, times have changed and for everyone’s health and safety, we have changed too. We miss you, and hope you and your families are doing well. We are happy to have started a very gradual reopen process that will take months to complete, but, we have a start. As you know, I’m one for silver linings and finding some positives in even the hardest situations.
For many the last 5 months have been extremely difficult and the challenges continue. I was reading an article in the AARP magazine by Sari Harrar on happiness in hard times. Countless researchers have found pursuing and finding happiness in hard times gives us the resilience to get through it. “We need to focus on happiness more now, not less”. “The happiness that helps in great difficulty is realistic. It recognizes fears and anxieties. It looks for meaning. It nourishes and sustains us”. Happiness is not necessarily “fun and laughs” but “positivity, a mix of realism, hope and compassion”. “When you pay attention to how you shape your life right now, you won’t feel victimized by what’s going on.” The experts suggest some ways to help cultivate happiness. (1) Play some songs of hope and happiness; Beautiful Day, What a Wonderful World, Happy, Here Comes the Sun, Somewhere Out There; (2) Connect – Human connection is the chicken soup of kindness, good relationships keep us happier and healthier; (3) Move and breathe – physical activity can boost happiness by reducing stress; (4) Take a moment to savor a wonderful moment, a sunrise or a cherished memory; and (5) People that keep themselves physically, mentally, and socially active focus more on the positive. So, while this is a tough time these tips can help us. Remember the power of that smile for you and all those that see it.
While we are sad we can’t have our traditional in person auction gala, we are excited that we will be doing a fantastic virtual AL Hovland Memorial $pring for $eniors, $eptember 13th Auction Gala. Silver lining, because of the virus we have learned new skills and a way to have our biggest fundraiser of the year which will be exciting, fun, and profitable and allow more guests to participate from anywhere in the country. Please see separate article. We need everyone’s help and support. Get September 13th at 6 pm on your calendars.
We hope that as the weeks move forward we can slowly add more inside and outside services. We are all tired of the “NO’S and YOU HAVE TO’S, but until there is a proven cure and vaccine, all the protocols and safety rules must continue. We will continue our pick-up and delivery lunch services for the foreseeable future. See the calendar for available services now.
Love and remember to smile,
Research shows that reading can keep your mind and brain active. Pick up something you enjoy or even an audible book-listening to a good book counts as reading too! What are your favorite reads? Please let me know at email@example.com. Reading out loud to yourself can help break up periods of silence if you live alone.
Laughter, it’s said, is the best medicine. And there is a lot of evidence that laughter does lots of good things for us. This has been documented since the 1300’s! It reduces pain and allows us to tolerate discomfort. It lowers blood sugar. It improves relationships and your outlook. Watch a funny video, TV show or radio program. Youtube.com has endless amounts of comedy to pursue from stand-up comedians or funny cat videos. Bookmark the sites you love. Comedy is a great distraction and can take your mind off COVID-19!
What’s outside your window? Mind your view. How does it change? Does it stay the same? We have had some really nice spring weather to take notice of. Keep an active journal about things you notice outside. Bird watch, People watch. Draw a picture of your view every day. Wave to people! Right now it’s important to connect any way we can with people. Waving is friendly and germ free!
Do you have computer access? Explore the world wide web! Look up your old addresses, schools ,neighborhoods on google earth or Zillow.com websites. Search old friends or clubs that you have been involved in. Many schools have alumni clubs. It can be fun to reminisce about previous places and remember the good memories. Research a destination you would love to visit! If you do not have a computer, can you write a letter to a friend or family member? Mail is one of our timeless ways to stay in touch and still reliable!
Try to do something creative today! Write a poem or start a positive journal (write down good things about the day…maybe at least two observations?) Maybe watch a video on how to learn calligraphy, paint, draw… even doodle! Coloring can also be therapeutic and relaxing.
Look to the past in general and to your past experiences. Get hope from your past and your resilience. What other challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? There are plenty of events to consider from weather related (hurricane, mudslide, earthquake) to national events like 9/11 or the 2008 financial meltdown/recession. You made it! You are stronger because of it. Know that you will get through this. Remind yourself of your resilience!
Limit your intake of news. Choose one source, like KING 5, Seattle Times or one of the national channels for example, and decide how much time to spend with it each day. Try your best to stick with that plan. My plan currently is reading online news sources in the morning for any updates-10 to 15 minutes on national news then again before dinner for 15 to 30 minutes for local news and weather. This provides me enough time to stay updated and not get overwhelmed! Please decide what you are comfortable with and adjust as necessary.