Thank Goodness for You
We've just had our first run of warmer-than-60-degree days, and I am filled with the hope that is spring. These past few years, it feels as though just when I can't take it anymore, the sun suddenly starts to feel warm again (even when it's still winter in the shade), and the winter aconite force their sunny faces through the snow. Every time spring rolls around, I just feel ridiculously grateful for that easing up.
This year, it's got me feeling grateful in other ways, too. And so I want to say,
Seriously. Thank you.
We are a strange species. We, mostly, do not live in healthy ways. We poison ourselves with bad food, bad air and too much media consumption. We ratchet up stresses of every kind for ourselves. We want to do more. And more.
When I look around at my own life, family, friends and peers, the impact of these increasing pressures is blindingly apparent. Folks, I believe that even the most effective of us are feeling a bit burnt out at this point in one way or another.
I don't just need to go with my gut feeling here, either. We've all heard plenty about the "Great Resignation" by now, and a recent survey of public sector workers from MissionSquare Research Institute provides even more validation: More people are leaving public-sector jobs, leaving remaining co-workers stressed, fatigued and anxious, according to more than half of the state and local government employees polled. Many of these state and local government employees are feeling stressed (44%), burned out or fatigued (42%) and/or anxious (39%).
Add up the events and prevailing cultural trends of the past two years, and it's no wonder. Every time you begin to adjust and adapt to the chokehold, its grip intensifies a little more.
Some of us have the privilege of living where we have easy access to a pressure valve. Just like spring provides a respite after months of dark and cold, when the world all gets to be too much, parks and trails, sports fields and playgrounds, swimming pools and swimming holes can help take the pressure off. My own perception of the healing power of a walk in the woods—my go-to release valve—has only deepened as time passes.
We are so very lucky—those of us who have access to recreation and a connection to the Outdoors right where we live. And so, to those of you who continue to do the work to make such things possible—whether urban gardens or the neighborhood fitness club or the bike trail at the end of the street—I say thank you. And to those of you who keep working through or around the burnout to ensure that those who have historically lived without access to such a pressure release gain the access they need—thank you.