Responding to

“Every morning we are born again.
What we do today is what matters most.”

Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Tenacity: the quality of holding fast to a thought, idea or action.

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Endurance: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity.

These are some of the traits all of us possess, to greater or lesser degrees. We typically don't know our capacity for any of them until we're challenged. And they're not only the physical traits that many of us associate with athletes, but emotional traits that can be developed in everyone over time and with regular training, just the same.

Emotional resilience refers to our capability to adapt and respond to stressful developments in our life (think of "life quakes"). When we're emotionally resilient, we're skilled at overcoming adversity without having to deal with many long-term negative effects on our mental health. If we're less emotionally resilient, change can be difficult and it can take a long time to move past an unpleasant experience. Degrees of emotional resilience can also vary between different parts of our lives. We may be emotionally resilient in our professional life, but find anger or sadness easily escalating in other areas.

Nature and nurture also play a role in determining how emotionally resilient we are. Some of us are born with certain traits that predispose us to effectively manage stress. For others, we need to learn how to become emotionally resilient. And right now, we can all use a boost to our emotional resilience.

Here's an article from the American Psychological Association that talks about how to consciously, systematically and thoughtfully build our capacity for emotional resilience. It suggests focusing on four core components — connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning — to develop the skills needed to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences as well as increase our capacity to grow from them. Being resilient doesn’t mean that we won’t experience difficulty or distress. People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives almost always experience emotional pain. But, just as an athlete doesn't increase their physical strength easily and overnight, increasing our emotional resilience takes time and intentionality.
Why, you might wonder, am I talking about emotional resilience?

Because winter is coming. And with winter will come new challenges.

Most of us have found ways to adapt to the physical distancing requirements of the pandemic by spending more time outdoors. We can eat at restaurants that offer outdoor dining. We can gather with friends in our yards or a park. We can picnic outdoors. We can exercise outdoors. And just the presence of abundant sunlight, even while we're indoors, can make challenging times feel a bit easier. Sometimes, things feel almost "normal" and like old times just by being outdoors.

We're fortunate to live in an area where we average nearly 300 days of sun each year. But many of the things we've come to do outdoors may not be possible once the days turn colder and daylight becomes shorter. And, while the development of a vaccine to combat the coronavirus remains promising, it's still a long way off. We probably won't see one before winter sets in and the holiday season begins.

Now is the time to begin thinking about how our lives will change, once again, as the weather begins to turn. And that's why I think it's appropriate to prepare ourselves emotionally for the impact those changes will likely have on many of us. Waiting in line outdoors to get into grocery stores will feel a bit different during the winter. We won't be able to gather with others quite as easily. It may even feel like another lockdown.

Kitchen Angels is already planning how to deal with some of the inevitable changes a change in weather will mean. For example, delivery preparation and distribution protocols may need to be modified. Kitchenality may need to adjust its customer greeting and gatekeeping practices. The timing and scheduling of different activities may need to be adjusted.

I take comfort knowing that the Kitchen Angels family is flexible and strong and that none of us needs to face these challenges alone. Focusing on what's really important such as staying healthy, serving the community, and allowing all of the other noise and distractions to fade into the background, can help. We're all learning resilience, tenacity, persistence and endurance in ways we never dreamed. We can also learn from each other.

To each of you and the entire Kitchen Angels family, thank you.

In gratitude,
Thank you for your vigilance. We want you to stay safe, healthy and informed.
Santa Fe Infections Outpace
the State

Statewide, New Mexico's coronavirus transmission rate of 0.70 remains well below the target of 1.05. Weekly deaths, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, dropped to 23 in mid-August. However, Santa Fe County, which remains a destination for out-of-town visitors, outpaced Bernalillo, San Juan, Sandoval and Valencia counties for the number of daily cases per 100,000 residents. As Dr. Chad Smelser, Medical Epidemiologist with the Department of Health, pointed out, “Santa Fe is a regional center, so we attract people from the surrounding areas. The other thing is it’s a tourist destination, and so we . . . have a significant amount of tourists coming in, which also could influence our rates.” Santa Fe’s count of positive tests, including 14 reported last Thursday, is out of step with the state’s, which has dipped in recent weeks.

Dr. David Scrase, Human Services Secretary, commented during last Thursday's press conference, that if we want to be able to continue reopening the state, "we have to be super diligent. Don’t plan the big family barbecue with 30 people on Labor Day.” As he reminded people, the virus is still present in the community even if the caseload slows for several weeks.
Before you return to volunteering . . .
ask yourself . . .

  1. Am I able to work a full shift wearing a face mask?
  2. Can I hear well enough from six feet away if the other person is speaking through a face mask?
  3. Am I willing to work a different shift than the one I previously worked?
  4. Can I commit to showing up to my shift on-time and without canceling at the last minute?
  5. Can I adapt to a new environment and new routine?
  6. Can I reliably communicate with the Volunteer Coordinator?
  7. Do I feel safe being back in the public sphere?
  8. Can I maintain appropriate risk-mitigating practices when I'm not at Kitchen Angels?

If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, you're not ready to return. If you're not sure, check with Lauren.