Crow Wing Energized: Finding gratitude amongst the worry

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Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service.

As I sit at home in my workspace, I am grateful that I have a job and can work from my home. Personally, I was impressed by the speed at which my employer, Essentia Health, made this transition happen — thanks to the leadership and information technology teams. What else am I grateful for? My health. My family. My friends. My faith. My ZIP code. The simple fact that my basic needs are met including food and shelter.

So, what causes me to worry? First of all, I am 60. When you turn on the news, you see people my age and older impacted by COVID-19. My dad will be 90 in July; my mom just celebrated her 84th birthday in March. Our family gathered together on March 8th to celebrate this milestone with my siblings, our children, and our grandchildren.

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Karen Johnson, back in August, with her latest grandchild, Edith. She cannot wait to hold her again when the pandemic is over. Submitted photo

Then there’s my younger sister, who has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life. Since she cannot get out of bed on her own, she relies on staff to physically get her up in the morning and put her in bed at night. They also help with all of her activities of daily living.


Lastly, my children and my grandchildren. Luckily, it seems like both generations have a good prognosis should they be affected by this virus. Remember the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”? How about “Three Little Birds”? It starts – “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”

Easier said than done. Personally, I find if I acknowledge what I am worried or anxious about that is a good place to start. In fact, it can be helpful for me to write it down. However, I try not to spend too much time here. I try to focus on what I can do to control this feeling.

For instance, the one thing I can do is reach out to my parents and my sister via telephone. Hearing their voice is reassuring. In regard to connecting with my children, we text, talk and use FaceTime to communicate. In addition to FaceTime, you can try Google Hangouts or Skype. We have discussed trying another app--Google Duo--that is similar to FaceTime.

On Saturday, I sent my oldest granddaughter (she is 12) a letter with a project for her to lead with her sisters. In this letter, I included three people that would love to get a letter (or drawing) from these three love bugs. The names are sealed so they each get to pick a name. I enclosed some stamps. Who doesn’t love to get mail?

I got this idea from a webinar I participated in where the speaker suggested thinking about someone who has made a difference in your life and send that person a letter and tell them! We all know the importance of having a routine. It’s important to keep with your normal routine as much as you can.

Crow Wing Energized has developed a resource page on our website to encourage you to keep moving — check it out at . You’ll find a list of websites that can guide you with exercise. It’s important to keep walking if you are able too; steps add up.

Another resource is the SilverSneakers website. You’ll find Seven Simple Stretches for Older Adults; check it out! Stay in touch with “your people,” “your community.” Reach out to friends. Check on your friends.

Last week, I received a call from a fellow parishioner from my church, Trinity Lutheran. It was great to hear from him; he shared that their mission is to reach out to our faith community to check in on each other. Trinity, along with many area churches, is streaming their services online.


Interfaith Volunteers has expanded their services to include making calls to anyone who may be lonely, homebound or isolated. Contact them at 218-820-7454 if you are in need of this service or someone you know needs this service. Now is the time to remember we are all in this together.

I am grateful to live in a community where we take care of each other. Essentia is hosting a blood drive on Friday, May 8, at the Essentia Health Sports Center — donors are urgently needed. Call Deb Anderson at 218-828-7610 to schedule a time. Essentia Health and other health care providers continue to need masks. If you know how to sew, please check out our website for the pattern and instructions. Go to and click on “learn how to help” on the top COVID-19 banner.

Lastly, April 16 was National Healthcare Decisions Day. Now more than ever it is important to complete an advance care plan. Reach out to your loved ones and start the conversation. As a gift to my children, I completed one. But my parents? I am still encouraging them to complete this important document. There are tips for starting the conversation and resources to complete an advance care plan on the Honoring Choices website, . We will get through this together.

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Karen Johnson back in August with her latest grandchild, Edith. She cannot wait to hold her again when the pandemic is over. Submitted photo

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