Note from the ACDIS team: Giving thanks in November

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 52

We hope you are all enjoying a very happy Thanksgiving this Thursday, spending time again with friends and family now that vaccinations are well underway, and we can all start gathering once more.

“I’m thankful for being able to see friends and family this holiday season after a quiet 2020 season. I now have three nieces and a nephew, so the holidays will be busy and joy-filled I’m sure,” says Linnea Archibald, ACDIS associate editorial director, publications, and membership. “I’m also very excited about the food if we’re being totally honest. There are some foods my family only makes at Thanksgiving (like homemade green bean casserole and lingonberry jam). Plus I’m just a big fan of pie, so Thanksgiving is an excellent holiday for that.”

“First and foremost, I’m grateful for my health (as you can’t pour from an empty cup) and I’m very grateful for the love and never-ending support that I receive from my family and close long-term friends who are ALWAYS there for me,” says Dawn Valdez, RN, LNC, CDIP, CCDS, CDI education specialist with ACDIS “I’m grateful for the close relationships with my children and grandchildren even though we all live in different states.  I am also grateful for my home and the fact that I get to live in such a beautiful place.” 

Valdez, who lives in the mountains of Tennessee, says she’s also grateful for her job and the fact that she gets to work with such amazing people, and she’s also grateful for the experience that have shaped her into who she is today.

“They have been powerful lessons for me throughout different periods of my life for they made me a better, more compassionate person in the end,” she says.

“I’m thankful for my health and that of my friends, family, and colleagues. I never take that for granted, but especially after the last 21 months,” says Brian Murphy, ACDIS director.

“This year, perhaps more so than ever before, I’m thankful for family. This summer, I got engaged, and my family grew. However, this year I also lost my grandmother, and since the holidays were always her favorite time of year, I’m feeling her absence even more right now,” says Karla Accorto, ACDIS product editor and coordinator. “Quite simply, I’m also grateful for the opportunity to hug my family tight this holiday season because last year just wasn’t the same.”

“I cannot number the things I am grateful for this year. What am I grateful for most? My health in the midst of a pandemic. So many others struggle with so much,” says Melissa Varnavas, ACDIS editorial director, events and education. “This time taught me to see the innumerable things to be grateful for—eyelashes and chicken soup, hugs and lavender. The tiny things.”

“Honestly, I am very thankful for my family and good health but, this year the first thought that came into my head was freedom to make some choices of my own related to travel,” says Sharme Brodie, RN, CCDS, CDI education specialist with ACDIS. “I do not like having my wings clipped. I think having the freedom makes me a much happier person which makes my interactions with people a much more pleasant experience. If I didn’t have my health, loving family, and their support nothing I do would matter, but freedom is right up there.”

“I am just so thankful for all of the people I have in my life who make every day special. Whether it’s my friends, family, relationship, pets… life is made so much better because of people who care,” says Carolyn Riel, ACDIS editor. “I’m thankful that my significant other was able to come home from his current Navy station not only for Thanksgiving, but for his sister’s wedding. The last 18 months have been so difficult for so many people, and it’s really allowed me to take a step back and realize how many of the little things I’m so thankful for.”

“I’m thankful for the widespread availability of vaccines and the ability for family members to be together once more,” says Rebecca Hendren, ACDIS senior product manager. “Personally, I’m counting down the days until my parents arrive for Christmas, which follows a period of them being unable to enter the country as they live in England. They haven’t seen me, my husband, and their grandkids in two years and that first hug will be a teary one for all of us.”

Gratefulness goes two ways, however, and while it is so great to take a step back and realize what we are grateful for, it is also so necessary to make sure we are taking the time to let others know how much we appreciate them.

“I think the best way to show gratitude is through acts of service. To me, it’s always been the little things like calling to check-in, unloading the dishwasher, picking up the dry cleaning on your way home, that make me feel most appreciated and loved,” says Accorto. “I think people in general also don’t vocalize our gratitude enough, either. Sometimes, just a simple, ‘I’m grateful for you. I appreciate you!’ is all that’s needed.”

“There are many ways to show someone how grateful you are for them. Telling them how much I appreciate and love them is certainly one way but showing up for the people I’m grateful to have in my life is also just as strong if not more so,” adds Valdez.

“A good way to show someone you are grateful for them is to let them know with a genuine, thoughtful comment. Everyone has time for that,” says Murphy. “Also, get out of the house or the hospital and take your team out for lunch! I just remembered to do that!”

“I’m a huge proponent of cooking and baking for those I love, especially during the holiday season,” says Archibald. “Whether it’s a loaf of bread, a batch of cookies, or a savory dinner, it’s just my favorite thing to gift people. I also think you can never go wrong with a nice hand-written note.”

According to Hendren, one of the best ways to let people know you appreciate them is the joy of telling people exactly what you appreciate, like, and love about them.

“For many of us, we focus on our own failings or what we’re good at. It can be extremely uplifting to be recognized for what we are good at. I think telling colleagues that you notice the great work they do and what they’re good at is a really important way to show your gratitude,” she says.

 “I think the most important thing you can do to let people know you’re grateful for them is by first paying attention. Listen to them, pay attention when they’re talking or going about their daily lives and pay attention to what makes them happy, what makes them sad, areas where they might need a little bit more help,” says Riel. “You’d be shocked when you pay attention all the ways you’ll find you can make someone feel appreciated just by showing up for them.”

On this Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to give some extra thanks to you, our ACDIS members, who have shown your continued support to ACDIS, your professional association, but to the CDI profession generally. You amaze us every day. We appreciate each and every one of you. We couldn’t do this all without you. We are grateful for you, today, and every day. Happy Thanksgiving!