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No one ever advised sprinting the first mile of a marathon, but that feels exactly like what the past two weeks have been – a sprint. New data, policies and protocols are constantly changing, bringing heightened stress and anxiety. Our fuses are getting shorter; the emotions we usually navigate smoothly are coming to the surface. Personally, I have felt like I shouldn’t be allowed to parent a four-year-old in the time of COVID, but my wife kindly assures me that we are all just doing the best we can. With 25 miles left to run, many of us are feeling exhausted from the sprint already. This week’s challenge is about learning how to catch our breath while running at pace. Now more than ever, taking care of ourselves and our own recovery will be critical to our path ahead. We need time away from conversations about COVID, and those spaces and places are hard to find as we move from work to home with tensions arising in both spaces.

Our community is behind us and that will help sustain us for the miles ahead. Coffee, funding for Peer Support, meal delivery, and a local Girl Scout Troop donating a kajillion cookies … Our community is showing tremendous gratitude for the actions of everyone across UW Medicine and especially our Clinical Care Teams.

Now let’s focus on catching our breath while running at speed. The behaviors and coping mechanisms you put in place now will become routine during the challenges we face ahead. Choose how you want to cope with the hard stuff in a way that will support your health and well-being.

What can you do?

  • Let others help you out! Our UW Medicine Care and Share site has been filling with heartwarming offers from across our community: Childcare! Dog Walks! Errands! Carpools!
  • Move your body in a meaningful way to you: walk your dog, start your day with 10 minutes of yoga, check out the Whole U’s UW Fitness Challenge 19x19x19 Challenge.
  • Eat as healthy as possible. We’ll mix some healthy items in to balance the Girl Scout cookies.
  • Get outside. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is amazing. In all of the crazy, go stare at a blossoming tree for five minutes.
  • Share your experience during these intense, emotional, and stressful times in 55 word stories.
  • Take a minute to breathe. Headspace is offering their app free to healthcare providers through the end of 2020!
  • Leverage UW supports to get connected to childcare through UW’s Child Care Connections.
  • Help alleviate your partner / spouse’s anxieties through our next zoom support session March 25, 11am to 12pm.
  • Join the conversation: Attend our weekly Town Halls – submit your questions now.
  • Stay up to date with all of our UW Medicine Well-Being and Support offerings.

Help us chart the path towards well-being. Tell us what would make a difference in your work from the small things to the big ones. We also want to hear your stories of gratitude. Who have you noticed going above and beyond? Working behind the scenes with no one watching? Help us lift up the stories that make us great and share your well-being and gratitude here.

With deep appreciation and gratitude to you all,

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