Keep Calm And Kerri On: ‘System Overload’
Published: January 10th, 2022
By: Sun Columnist Kerri Green

Keep Calm and Kerri On: ‘System Overload’

Dear Friends,

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I think it’s safe to say that the allure of the holidays and promise of a bright new year is gone.

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The pandemic that took over the world nearly two years ago is not only alive and well but more aggressive than ever. The post-holiday surge is worse than it was at the height of this, and everyone is feeling it.

Local health departments can’t keep up with the influx of new cases, many going well past quarantine time before any communication. The rules about quarantine time have once again changed, but not all counties are following the new guidelines, which adds to the confusion, especially if you live in a county that is different than where you work. On top of that, schools follow a different set of guidelines that come down from state ed. I consider myself pretty well informed and even I find it confusing to keep up with!

Our healthcare workers are working around the clock to try and take care of those who need medical intervention, many who have had to work overtime just to cover shifts from either staff shortages or colleagues who are sick.

The state has established regional testing sites, similar to the sites created for vaccinations. With the increased number of people getting tested, it can take days to get results depending on where you go. Home testing kits are available but they’re unreliable. Personally, I think that they’re a waste of money and often inaccurate. They’re not reliable and please, if you think you’ve been exposed or if you are having symptoms, save yourself some anxiety (and money) and just go get a real test.

Friends, just when we thought we may finally be making our way out, the walls have caved in and we are back at the bottom, looking up for any sign of light. Things seem pretty dire right now.

Everyone is stressed, overwhelmed, scared and eerily it feels like we have time warped back to March 2020 when we didn’t know what was going on. While it may seem like a set back in time, a lot has changed, and we know more than we once did. When’s the last time you wiped off your groceries?

This time around we have enough vaccines for anyone who wants one. In addition, we even have a booster available for those who were vaccinated early on. I remember when vaccines seemed so far off and then the frenzied scramble to try get one. It was literally life or death – felt a little “Mad Max” out there for a while. Is the vaccine the cure? No. But what it will do is limit the response that your body has to the virus and for most it feels no worse than a cold. So, you’ll spend a couple of weeks bored in quarantine, but in the end, you will emerge virtually unscathed, with some fresh new antibodies.

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The other new thing we are faced with is a nationwide staffing shortage, which is evident everywhere you go. There are simply not enough people to work, and many companies are having to find ways to continue serving their customers with a limited number of staff. While this is across every industry and sector, the most visible places seem to be in the service industry.

How many of you have gone to your favorite restaurant, drive-thru or locally owned retailer only to find that it’s closed, has alerted hours or different list of services due to shortages?

We saw during the holidays the number of flights that were cancelled due to staffing shortages. There isn’t an industry out there that hasn’t been affected by it. There are several factors that lead to staffing challenges. Workers are either sick or in quarantine, limited access and availability of childcare, transportation issues, or other factors that make it difficult to work, especially evenings and weekends.

The truth is everyone is doing their best to get by right now but not everyone is handling it in a healthy way.

Getting mad about being in quarantine doesn’t help. Be kind to your family that is likely quarantined with you and find a way to make the best of it. If you are able to work from home create a comfortable place where you can work with limited distractions. If you can’t work from home, then find a project to occupy yourself. Where’s that list of projects you keep saying you’ll get to when you find the time? Time can be a wonderful gift.

Don’t be upset that your child’s school has protocols you don’t agree with. Schools have to follow the standards set by the Department of Education; no one is asking you to agree, just to follow. Yes, it can be a burden to now be teacher and help your kid do their work and learn remotely. No one is expecting perfection, only that they do their best to keep up to date. Don’t put extra pressure on your child or yourself.

Feeling frustrated because the health department hasn’t contacted you yet doesn’t solve anything. You know the rules about quarantine; calling them continuously just adds to their workload and they will get to you when they can. If you have a job that requires clearance from the health department then maybe give them a call when you near the end of your time, but you don’t need an official to tell you what you already know. There are lots of online resources that have the current guidance spelled out.

If a store or restaurant had to alter their hours because of staffing shortages, don’t go blasting them on social media for it. Don’t you think if they could be open and operating normally, they would be? Yes, it may take a few extra minutes when you are eating out, lines may be slightly longer and the drive-thru may be closed. Plan for delays, be understanding and thankful to those who were able to work. They’re dealing with a lot right now too.

We are all in overload mode. We’re over the pandemic and frustrated with everything that goes along with it. The only way we get through this is together and by spreading a little compassion, understanding and kindness to each other.

We could all benefit from a “control, alt delete”.

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Let’s reboot and start tomorrow fresh.

Be well,



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