Derek Timm, Mayor’s Message | Public workers feel rage in anxiety fueled by pandemic – Santa Cruz Sentinel


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We recently booked dinner at Cloud 9 Lounge – the magical outdoor oasis of Bruno’s Bar and Grill in Scotts Valley. The atmosphere and the food were wonderful, but what also struck me was the sign that I saw walking to the front door. When we walked in, a large sign reminded us, “The world is short-staffed – Be kind to those who show up. Truly a sign of our times, and I loved the post.

Over the past year our two daughters have worked in the restaurant industry and each relayed the anger they witnessed at work. For the most part, the people are very nice, but unfortunately, like many workers in front of the public, they have met some customers on edge.

Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm

The effects of political polarization and sequestered time during the pandemic have been impossible to escape. Our society is just beginning to understand the impacts on mental health. The headlines echo studies identifying dramatic increases in anxiety and depression experienced by children and adults during the pandemic. For jobs with direct customer contact, this has sometimes meant carrying the weight of misdirected anger or frustration.

The impacts on workers are serious. One of the results we are seeing now is what is called the Great Resignation. Workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers across the country. Unsurprisingly, it started in the hotel, restaurant and healthcare sectors which have been most directly affected by the pandemic.

The effects are also being felt in the public sector – first responders and other administrators and public officials are hanging up their hats as well. Workers are re-evaluating their work and their lives, seeking more flexibility, money and happiness. How they are valued, not only by their employer, but the public is directly connected.

Sadly, burnout is not uncommon, with so many workers operating in a state of emergency in the past 18 months.

As an individual, if you find that you are suffering from exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, or find it difficult to find joy in activities that you once enjoyed, you may be suffering from the effects of burnout. Remember to take the time to rest and recover. This is an opportunity to reassess what may be the contributing factors.

Also keep in mind that there are some great resources available (many of which are free) sometimes through employers, but also through schools and government. County Health Services Agency. Doctors also recommend exercise, meditation, and healthy foods, as ways to immediately support your mind and body.

As a community, we can listen to the message. Remember to be kind to those who have come to help us. Showing appreciation to those who serve is more important than ever: waiters, controllers, police officers, nurses, doctors and the list goes on. The people you meet in these jobs have had a heartbreaking experience in their roles. A thank you and a smile can go a long way.

The Mayor’s Message is a Sunday column written by Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm.

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About Shirley A. Tamayo

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