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Be Angry. Navigate your Fear. Find Joy.

Everyone is impacted by current events. And, everyone is impacted differently.

Self care is crucial as we work through something where there are no standard operating procedures.

To those who are able to get rest this weekend, enjoy your rest with no guilt because you flipping deserve it.

To those unable to get rest this weekend, just know we appreciate the work you are doing to serve the base level Maslow functions of our students.

To those who are able to perform the functions of their jobs without direct human contact with students, rooms, etc, that does not lessen the emotional impact of what we are facing. The phone calls to access program staff from students who are afraid they are not only at risk of the virus, but will also be homeless or have to go home to an abuser. The international students unsure if they can get back to school calling their advisor. These are merely examples. All of those things take emotional toll on us.

To those who are putting more on the line by risking human contact because of your job and serving students, we understand. Your sacrifice is important. Your feelings of struggling to feel physically safe in your job while at the same time managing your emotions related to family, students you have pushed home that may be going back to a tough family life are real.

We are just at the beginning of this. For those of you able to get rest, we are going to need you next week. The staff who has been working 14 days straight (because they are working this weekend) will need relief. Please get as much rest as you can so that you can step in when needed.

To those of you going into work today; stressed about your family and that sister who just had a newborn, and that bar mitzvah your nephew has coming up. Or your grandmother who is in a home in an area where the virus is centered, we see you. As you go into work today to serve the human beings who are still living in our halls, you are amazing people.

Everyone serving the human beings entrusted with our care deserves recognition in these tough times.

Someone venting their feelings and struggles is not about the rest of us. We need to give people to experience a wide range of emotions right now; fear, sadness, ANGER. All valid. Our field does not do well with anger. I think this is an opportunity to practice.

Anger is a valid emotion. Let me say that again. Anger is a valid emotion. How we deal with anger is not something we talk a lot about as a field.

I’ve been angry a lot this week. Anger at slow communication and decision making. Anger at people more worried about minutiae and losing sight of the bigger picture. Anger at people choosing to steal supplies from the health center putting my colleagues at risk. Anger. I could list more.

As a white person. Cisgender. Heterosexual. Male. I’m not used to having to worry about how I handle anger. Life is designed to avoid me being angry. This is a new(er) emotion to manage for me.

A colleague on our campus deeply impacted me when they talked at our EOC meeting yesterday. They shared with us the idea of looking for joy. We need to do our best to find Joy.

At first this made me angry- because how dare you suggest I find joy in the midst of my anger. However, for the day, this kept be going.

Because although all those feelings (anger, sadness, fear) are valid in this situation, so is joy.

Right now it may be hard to find joy. Maybe all you have is knowing you were able to help a student find a place to live because they have no where else to go.

Maybe it’s knowing that right now, when you look around you have people who care about you and your well being.

It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be afraid. It’s ok to anxious. It’s ok to feel stressed.

These are unprecedented times. Grad students are going to be studying us and probably combing through our Facebook in 50 years. We are living through history.

So my friends; TL:DR: Be angry. Navigate your fear. Find Joy.

Thank you for letting me practice self care.

*Special thank you to my colleague Tracey Ranieri who inspired this post. Find Joy.

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