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President's Weekly Message (04/16/21)

Hello API Job Corps Centers,

Today’s topic is COVID-19 fatigue. Many months after phrases such as “stay at home,” “wash your hands,” “flatten the curve” and “social distancing” started to become part of our daily language, people are experiencing a type of burnout experts call COVID-19 fatigue.

Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases states, “Whatever disruptions to a person’s normal life have occurred, there is no denying the mental, physical and emotional toll people are experiencing. What we’ve learned — and what we keep learning — is how to combat burnout in safe ways that minimize the spread of the virus and enable us to feel some sense of normalcy.” Symptoms of COVID-19 fatigue might include exhaustion; physical and mental fatigue; lack of energy; feeling constantly overwhelmed, sad or helpless; the inability to complete daily tasks; increased irritability and others. Ask yourself if you feel any of these.

What can we do on our centers to help combat COVID-19 fatigue? Carisa Parrish, M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins provides us some tips, paraphrased for Job Corps:

  1. Make a commitment. Behavior changes can start with having a clear intention and making a promise. Wearing your seatbelt, stopping at traffic lights, or brushing your teeth, are all examples of habits we had to develop. (I do hope you all brush your teeth!). Do the right thing to keep yourself and others safe, even if that means a slight inconvenience. Make a commitment to washing hands, maintaining physical distance, and wearing a mask in public.

  2. Stay flexible. The new rules keep changing and we must stay flexible to ensure our centers stay safe. Only do the things that have been approved by Job Corps and Humanitas!

  3. Create new habits. The fourth time you forgot to take your mask to the grocery store and had to turn around, the better you became at remembering your mask in the future. Keep a cheat sheet in your office or at home that reminds you about the “new rules”. Don’t exhibit risky behavior. Keep those you care about in the forefront by creating new habits. It takes about 30 days to create a new habit….and we have been at this for over a year.

  4. Keep necessary supplies handy. Make it easy to find a mask when you need it. Keep several masks in various places. Keep unused extras for students or staff who may need one. Keep small bottles of hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) in several spots to encourage frequent use. Clean your office before you leave and when you get to work and keep your cleaning supplies handy.

  5. Use stories to make it real. Most of us know someone who has had a terrible if not tragic experience with COVID-19. Don’t sugarcoat the consequences. It is real and needs to be stated as such. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel.

We want to do everything we can to ensure we stay open and serve our students! Continue to follow our center and the CDC safety and health guidelines and take care of yourself and our students. I am so proud of how far we have come. We can do this!!

Dr. Wild

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