Coping With Uncertainty

By: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector

I know this past week has been a big one for most of us. The news is always there: more infections, more restrictions, more fear, a two trillion stimulus package, and a long list of worries and questions. We’re not used to this. We’re also not built for disconnection and distancing. The overall situation is out of your control and immediate influence. Or is it?

Your view, your thoughts, and your perspective is completely within your control. I have been amazed and inspired by the companies and individuals that have made a gracious and glorious pivot to new practices. From curbside service, to Zoom yoga sessions, and even Minnesota’s own Bob Dylan has come out recently with one of the most profound musical contributions in years. I am emploring you to take the following actions: choose a positive viewpoint, look for new opportunities, think about how you can help, and choose to be proactive. When you make those choices, good things will happen for you and for those around you—whether that is the team you lead, the people you serve, or the team around you.

How have you adapted to this situation? I know that for me it has required daily discipline to commit to focus and not to distraction, and to focus more on the contribution than the challenge. I have had to find new ways to deliver support and service and new ways to connect digitally. I am now embracing the advantages of touching base via Zoom or Google Hangouts, and it is wonderful! In fact, I have found it to be even more effective as we are able to connect with very little distraction in the home. I only wish that I had used these platforms earlier. The idea is that adaptation requires a degree of agility and resilience. It will stretch you, it will change you for the better.

In this season of uncertainty, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to find your own way of coping, to be overwhelmed with the constant state of change, the cancellations, the children, the chaos. What works well in times like this is the power of gratitude, the power to slow your world down and see the simplicity in movement. I hope that gives you a jolt of encouragement today.

Let’s all keep moving forward, even if from home.

Be the centered one amid the chaos—even if you fail daily, months from now, you’ll know you made the attempt at a time when it was so needed.

Learn more about Jeff’s work at RSI on our Community Connections page.

Thoughts on Mindfulness and Anxiety

By: Roni Horak, RSI Clinical Director for Behavioral Health and Counseling Services

During this time of uncertainty there is a great deal of fear and anxiety. This profound fear and anxiety we may be experiencing during this time can lead us down a path to so many places in our thoughts and emotions. Today I am focusing on my path and making sure I keep it healthy in relation to my mind and emotions. This is a time when I need to center myself and pull out my own tools for wellness. My path will need plenty of resting areas where I can sit and take a deep breath. I will sit on that bench, breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds, and take in glorious sounds. I will sit on that bench and be very present in that moment to what I smell, see, and hear. Mindfulness of the moment, being present in the moment, and recognizing what my senses are taking in.

You don’t have to go outside to visualize your path, you can simply create that path at home in various ways. “What else is in my path you may ask?” Control is in my path. As I walk that path I realize how much control I have and stay focused on what I can control and gain a sense of empowerment with this realization. Go create your path, sit on that bench, and take a deep breath. We will get through this together.

Image courtesy of

Learn more about Roni’s work at RSI on our Outpatient Counseling page.

The Promise of Spring


By: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector

A crocus flower blooming with snow on the ground

Lest we forget, this past Thursday was the first day of spring. And, as if on cue, the air was filled with birdsong and the sky a brilliant robin’s egg blue. On my walk, I noticed that Tundra swans had found an open patch of water to land and preen, and a pair of bald eagles joyously circling their nest on the St. Louis River.

As I paused to review the contrast of the moment, I saw the struggle. There, just below the surface of the snow, the flowers of a crocus were literally fighting their way through the crust of winters’ blanket. Always the first to arrive, the crocus is a hardy bulb and has a reputation as a symbol of cheerfulness and glee as it brings the landscape alive with color after a long winter. However, I also saw a different symbolism in the moment.

At a time where uncertainty is certain, where our lives are affected by the day, hour, or minute, it is also a time to reach out, to break through the crust. For the crocus to survive, it requires a careful mixture of fertile soil, water, and most importantly, sunlight. It is so also for us, with one exception. We need each other. Human connection is an essential ingredient in our survival, it always has been. Is it possible to stay healthy and connected while being encouraged to socially distance ourselves?

Indeed there is hope, and just like that crocus, it requires effort. Activities, events, visitations, and most community services have been cancelled but there are still many ways to reach out and connect.

Adopt technology to virtually visit with friends and family: This crisis has forced me to use some of the tools I have avoided such as Google Chat, Facetime, and Zoom. I could just kick myself! This is so cool, and now I can go on a video tour of my granddaughter’s playhouse. Recalibrate, retool, and reconnect!

Go online: Binging on Netflix is always tempting. But, once you are through the other side, what then? So many options await online. Many of our celebrities and artists have opened up free pages for their fans. Musicians are sharing their songs live on social media for people around the world to enjoy. The main theme here, taking action!

Communicate the old fashioned way: Yep, get out the pen and write a letter or thank you card. Think of it…when was the last time you received a handwritten note, and how did it make you feel? Not a post, not a text, but a real written message. It’s a simple way to connect with our loved ones, and I guarantee it will feel good. Finding ways to stay connected with others during this time can be challenging. Try using these strategies to feel less isolated and to stay connected with loved ones and others around the world.

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” — Elizabeth Edwards

Learn more about Jeff’s work at RSI on our Community Connections page.