New Jersey is getting more COVID tests but Ocean County is getting 40% less. These are the headlines today in the Asbury Park Press. Oh, and let’s add the arrival of new variants of the virus that make it more transmissible and more resistant to the vaccine that we can’t get. Feeling frustrated and dismayed? I don’t blame you. But, here’s the thing. We can take care of ourselves in this and we can take care of others. First, if you’re eligible stay persistent and try to get that vaccine. I know for a fact that the appointments open up at weird times depending on when the facility gets vaccine shipments. Do make sure you get the vaccine in the county in which you live. That was another new mandate handed down the other day. In the meantime, stay strong. Wear your mask, wash your hands, manage your fear and isolation carefully. We may be in this space for a while so consider what you are willing to do and get out and do it-safely. Get outside if you can each day (although as I write this it’s 19 degrees and blowing fierce. Move your body. Take up a new hobby. I’m still learning the flute and I’ll tell you it’s a lot of fun! Read books you’ve been meaning to get to. Do a puzzle. If you’ve done all these things think creatively for other things to occupy your time. Spring isn’t too far away and outside activities will once again free us up to socialize a bit more. Check in on neighbors with a phone call or talk across the fence. Buy yourself some flowers. Buy your neighbor some flowers. We can do this. Find the gratitude and thank God for what you do have. If things are feeling really tough, pray. As one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott instructs, ask for help, give thanks, and show gratitude: Help, Thanks, Wow. Stay safe, wear your mask and wash those hands. We got this.

Elder Lynn

Lynn O’Hara, MS, RD, LPC, Licensed Psychotherapist and Registered Dietitian