TAKE CARE. STAY SAFE. BE WELL.
By Martha E. Fagan, RN, BSN
When was the last time you paid attention to the “complimentary closing” of a letter or, more likely, an email? We’re conditioned to seeing “thanks”, a favorite emoji, “see you soon”, “love” or in more formal situations, “sincerely”, “regards” or “best”. Recently I’ve noticed these generic, often meaningless, closings have been replaced by “take care”, “stay safe”, or “be well”. COVID has even found its way into our communication style.
At first glance it seems insignificant, though if we sit with it awhile, I think there’s a much deeper message. I believe we sincerely care about one another’s well-being and have changed our closing words to reflect our heightened awareness of each other’s state in the world.
We’re reminding ourselves and those we’re communicating with to take care, stay safe and be well. This lightens my heart as I hope it means we are paying greater attention… to how we say goodbye and maybe even to an expanded awareness of our shared experience.
This may be Polly Anna speaking on my behalf or it may be that we’ve faced things in recent months that have made us take stock and reevaluate what is meaningful.
For now, until proven otherwise, I’m going with that assumption…
So “take care”—do what soothes your soul and brings you strength during these challenging times. We need to practice self-care for our own health AND practicing compassionate self-care allows us to better care for those in our inner circle…spouse, children, parents, dear friends and maybe even co-workers. We are intrinsically connected and when a crisis arises, we are magnetically drawn to one another as a way to navigate the unknown.
“Take care“ for you may mean taking a walk, going to bed a bit earlier, eating more wholesome foods or spending a little cherished time talking to your best friend. Maybe it means reading a book, baking with your kids, creating a floral arrangement or building an Adirondack chair. Whatever it means to you my hope is that you’ll do it.
“Stay safe” now means wearing a mask, staying physically distant from others (even those you yearn to embrace), washing your hands (constantly) or maybe staying home when you’d rather be going out shopping or dining. We’re now aware of all the risks involved if we act without planning or thoughtfulness…spontaneity is greatly inhibited. For the sake of our own health, our loved ones and the community at large it’s well worth the effort. Ending our emails with this valediction reminds us to be vigilant.
“Be well” is a wonderful reminder to nurture our whole-being wellness. As the holidays approach we’re acutely aware of how different this year is…we’re forced to find our joy in ways other than gathering around our holiday table, Christmas tree or Hanukkah menorah. To be well, to feel the best we can, will take acts of imagination, innovation and flexibility AND it can be done if we let go of some tradition (we can’t do it as we always have) and establish new ways of finding connection and meaning.
Our wellness, barring serious physical or mental illness, is in our hands. May we remind ourselves to be patient and take good care.
Our librarians can help you select some wonderful books on health and wellness. The Bacon Free Library also has a wide selection of do-it-yourself hobby books…maybe it’s time to make some gifts for the holidays. Call today and you can bring them home safely with our Bacon To Go program of curbside pick-up.