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  • Thanks for being awesome in weathering the ice storm!
  • There is no right or wrong way of marking the new year.
  • Reflecting on 2022 can help us be intentional in 2023.

Whew, we made it to January 2023! It was touch and go for a moment there as an epic weather event shut down roads and airports across our country and made getting to your own mailbox a feat! To everyone across UW Medicine who managed to don their micro spikes and navigate the roads and sidewalks into our hospitals and clinics during the ice storm: Y’all are champions. Thank you for your incredible efforts to care for our community. With all the accidents on the ice, I know that our teams were busier than ever taking care of injuries big and small. Thanks as well for sacrificing some time with your own families and friends to come in and help care for people in need.

Whether you spent the last few weeks surviving the holiday gauntlet, navigating winter storms or just getting through the end-of-year to-do list, you have made it to the other side. My end-of-December was filled with snow, ice, power outages and closed mountain passes — and some lovely times with family and friends. I was able to sit on the shore of Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula under a beautifully starry sky to welcome in 2023.

There is no right or wrong way to welcome a new year. For many of us, the chance to pause and reflect helps us be intentional about how we move forward. (While I highly recommend remote national parks and starry skies to set the mood, this can be done anywhere.) I found myself reflecting on how this year felt different as I was able to meet new people, make new friends and reconnect with folks from the past. A year ago, we were riding a wave of COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant limiting much of our movement. This year, despite the ice storms, most of our travel restrictions have been lifted and, for many, our worlds are opening back up. The past year has been unique within the pandemic as it has been marked by shifts for many toward a return to a new normal.

As you look back on 2022, what returned to a pre-pandemic way of being for you? What has stayed different? What new practices have you adopted that you want to carry forward, and what will you leave behind? Where are you now relative to last January?

Another practice I have at the start of a new year is to pause and think about the best part of each month from the previous year. I often look through pictures I’ve captured to remind me of adventures both close to home and a world away. And as I look forward, I think about what I want to experience and who I want to become in the coming year. As the team in our office reflected this week, people shared how many books they want to read, the things they want to learn to cook, the new trails they want to hike — and for me, the things I want to let go of as clutter that has built up over the last several years.

For more questions and reflections as the year continues, check out The Huddle’s new monthly series, One Fun Thing, where we share small specific ways to have fun, plus a question to help you check in with yourself and others.

The last three years have been hard in so many ways. And when we needed relief the most, 2022 was probably our most challenging time as a UW Medicine community. Taking a moment this month to acknowledge where we are and how we are doing can help us set some intentions for how we want to move forward — both in our personal lives and in our collective mission to serve people across our region. Thank you so much for being part of our community.

With deep gratitude,

Anne Browning, PhD
Associate Dean for Well-Being, UW School of Medicine
Founding Director, UW Resilience Lab
Affiliate Assistant Professor, UW College of Education