Over winter break I made it a priority to give my brain a rest from the never-ending barrage of information that swirls around us every day. It was a much-needed pause that I acknowledged daily, even though I was doing a countdown to when I had to reboot and rev back up. It seems I was only partially successful! The problem is, I can’t seem to find any enthusiasm to re-enter the fray at full speed right now. What is the point, I wonder, when public health strategies are not only being ignored, they are willfully legislated against. Even the CDC falls prey to corporate lobbying fueled by political pressure. Review the “new” guidelines announced through a press release on 12/29/21, and you will see what I mean. And by the way, good luck in trying to understand if they apply to school communities.
Facing 2022 is like looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. COVID years should be measured in dog years, a 1:7 ratio. If that is true, we have aged 14 years in 2, no wonder we feel so tired and beleaguered as a workforce. School nurses are not machines, we are devoted professionals who have worked tirelessly for 24 months to keep school communities safe with little to no supports. The expectations we place on ourselves have always been high, rightfully so, the consequences literally hold people’s lives in the balance. But there is a cost.
I wanted to embrace 2022 with all of the promise of a new year, a fresh start with endless possibilities, but it seems my reboot needed a refresh. As I step back and intentionally observe these feelings as dispasstionately as I can, it is sobering to look reflect on all that has happened. What will the true impact of pandemic school nursing have on us as a collective community? How will it even be measured? Most importantly, how do we recover and what do we need to begin to heal? How do we heal when the pandemic is surging?
Rather than setting resolutions for 2022, I decided to reframe expectations and claim what mantras I will follow instead. This shift in a typical New Year narrative was prompted by this Tweet:
-Be the solid object in the room— Robin Cogan (@RobinCogan) January 1, 2022
-A dysregulated adult cannot help a dysregulated child
-Don't take things personally
-I can only do one thing at a time
-Keep writing, keep speaking out
And so, I invite the readers of this blog to share your own mantra(s) for 2022 in the hope that we will work through this third pandemic year together. Creating this list did shift my perspective because these are things that I do have control over. Small acts of self-empowerment are healing.