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Stecher: You are enough

Michelle Stecher
Valley Voices

We’re now in Week 2 of this abrupt lifestyle change. Without much notice, many of us have been thrust into working from home, while balancing teaching our children and maintaining the rest of our responsibilities. Routines are upended and we’ve got to keep our game face on.

There are so many unknowns with this epidemic— will someone in my family catch COVID-19, or might we have it now? How long will schools be closed? When can we get together with friends again? Will our favorite small businesses survive? Will our family be financially stable through this? How will our mountain community look post-apocalypse?

These questions can be overwhelming. Please have grace with yourself, and grace with your family. Allow yourself a time out for a few minutes by stepping away to take a couple of breaths outside. Our resilience is growing stronger each day.

About three-quarters of local youth are engaged in extracurricular activities, according to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, and opportunities for pro-social involvement — athletics, clubs, arts, theatre, volunteerism and more, are one of the greatest assets of our community. Social isolation and less opportunities for connection can be one of the biggest challenges during this time, with strong linkages to mental and behavioral health concerns. Embrace the creative ways we have in order to stay connected with friends and family virtuall — FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Marco Polo, Telegram, Zoom, and good old hand-written letters and phone calls.

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We’ve all heard the cliché of embracing this time with our families. This health crisis is something we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look back on a few positive highlights? Quiet walks outside, puzzles and games, wearing comfy clothes every day, getting to experience a eureka moment when something clicks with your child.

Perfection is not the goal here. Your grand projects probably won’t turn out like the impeccable photos you’ve seen. It is OK to give your kids a break before they’ve completed 100% of their daily assignments.

Remember to laugh! Humor will help get us through this, and smiles are contagious.

As far as resources, we may be on information overload. I appreciate hearing about how our providers, such as MindSprings, are utilizing telehealth to provide support and services remotely. Remember that the school district’s free lunch program is available to all students, with pickups from 11-1 at various locations around the valley. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention typically has more accurate and current facts than your social media feed.

Doing your best is the best you can do. Be proud of how you’re handling this new world, and celebrate the little successes. Stay healthy, safe and focused on family. What you are doing is enough.

Michelle Stecher is the executive director of Mountain Youth. Email her at mstecher@mountainyouth.org.


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