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Our New Normal

By now each of us has likely adjusted to our new “normal” after more than five weeks of working from home, physical distancing from others, one way aisles at the grocery store, seeing people wearing masks when out in public, and waiting for weekly or daily press briefings to know what may come in the following days. If any of you are anything like me, this “normal” is not one I ever envisioned in our current society, but one that I have come to accept as something we must embrace for the time being to ensure the health of our community.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy, our health, the societal norms we are used to, daily conveniences that we took for granted for years, and the list could go on and on. But today as April is coming to an end and we still aren’t sure of what lies ahead, I encourage you to join me in practicing gratitude and finding the silver linings that this has had on our lives. I’ll share my list here and would love to hear from you on others you’re experiencing.

  • The pace of my life has slowed down immensely, which I needed more than I realized.
  • I’ve had an extra month and a half with my daughter who was half-way across the country at college. She may not view it the same, but her mama does!
  • I have adjusted my view of what an office setting or work environment must look like.
  • Our team has grown immensely in their creativity and ability to think outside of the box on how to engage our community and prioritize mental health awareness messaging.
  • The thought process of “well that’s how we’ve always done it” can no longer exist.
  • The sunshine and beautiful weather coupled with technology has allowed me to move my “desk” outside in a way I would not have been able to do before.
  • The positive and uplifting messaging on advertising and commercials is something we haven’t seen in many years in our society. I tear up (in a good way!) at least once a day as some of the commercials are quite moving!
  • Appreciation is being shown to health care workers, teachers and first responders at a level we haven’t seen in many years if ever but has been deserved for years.
  • My family put together a donation drive for Douglas County Hospital residents and staff. We haven’t worked together on a project like that for many years. It was wonderful working together to help others.
  • People have embraced the importance of supporting local, small businesses.

My list could continue and become quite lengthy, but I think you get the idea! Yes, this new “normal” has significant negative impacts that we may feel for years to come, but we must take the time to find the positive side of this as well. I hope you’ll join me in taking some time each day to acknowledge the positives that it has brought to your life. Please take care and stay healthy and know that The Kim Foundation continues to be here for your mental health and suicide prevention education and training needs, as well as to connect you to any resources you may need.

Julia Hebenstreit, The Kim Foundation

Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation

Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since 2011, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.