Project Recharge

Members | September 08, 2020 | by Carol Silver Elliott

Carol Silver Elliott, LeadingAge board chair, talks about the need for recharging during these challenging times. 

There is no question that we are all tired. Each of us is tired. Our staff is tired. We have been slogging through the mud (and sometimes the quicksand) of COVID for six months and we are entitled to feel the way we feel. The pressure, the anxiety, the lack of information, the ongoing struggle—you know it all, you are living it all.

But exhaustion will neither define us nor defeat us. We are better than that and we are stronger than that. With all that pulls us down, we have all pushed to raise ourselves and each other up. We have fought to save our elders, we have fought to keep our staff strong, we have battled to get the PPE and testing that we need, and we are now battling to stay strong and be prepared for whatever may come our way.

So, giving those tired feelings the respect that they deserve, it is time for us to push them aside, time for us to do what one of our elders taught me—imagine that you can grab that negative feeling between your hands, rub your hands together, and then throw it away over your shoulder. Let it go. Now is the time for us to recharge.

The technology we all depend on plugs in or sits on a charger to recharge. We can’t do that to ourselves, but we can find ways to rebuild our strength and restore our energy. Of course, one of the best ways to do that is to give ourselves a break. Even a day or two away from work can help, just changing the scene. It’s even better if we can unplug. I fail dismally at that but if you can do it, it helps create that time of rest.

Put yourself into the surroundings that resonate with you. I love the peace of the woods on a hike, I also love the lapping of the water walking along a beach. Where do you find comfort? Make an effort to spend some time there. Maybe it’s with someone you love, maybe it’s walking your dog, maybe it is just time alone. There are no wrong answers.

Put care of yourself higher on the list. Eat for health and energy. Comfort foods are important to all of us, but they are not the answer to feeling your best. Fuel the body so that it can work for you and not against you. Move. Again, it doesn’t matter what you do. Take a walk, pop on a yoga video, find a quiet room in your house and close the door, and dance to whatever music moves you. Spending some time in motion helps you shake off the stress and, if you can make a habit of it, it will boost your energy overall.

Help your team by encouraging them to take care of themselves too. Start a walking contest and see how far you collectively travel to some goal destination. Make people smile, find ways to promote laughter. These are serious times but not every moment is serious. Find the fun and ways to share it. Find your smile and beam it out from under that mask, that’s contagious in the very best sense of the word.

Above all, look for ways to boost yourself and boost others. We model the behaviors that others will follow. The pep in your step, the energy that you radiate matters to everyone around you. Be the charger and recharge yourselves and others.