In one of our recent Volunteer Support Group meetings, we talked about what the folks in that group would most want to learn in the next Volunteer Update. The consensus was they wanted to hear how other volunteers are making it through this time in our world. So, we reached out to you and asked: "What's helping?"

Just like grief, what nourishes and sustains us can be as unique as we are - and - there were a few common themes that came through like physical activity, finding ways to connect with friends and family, creative endeavors, and cooking adventures. As you read this amazing list of ideas, see if there's something another volunteer is doing that you want to add to your list of self-care activities. We know it's not the same as meeting in-person, but we love thinking of this as a pre-meeting check-in, for the entire volunteer team!

Here's what you had to say:
Houseplants! They add so much vibrancy to my living space and remind me to slow down a little bit. Finding a meal I've never cooked before and learning how to make it, especially an international recipe. Audiobooks and story-rich games. Discovering and sharing new music with friends. Soaking up the sunlight whenever it's around.
Walter S.
Cooking comforting food & making music with my partner have been incredibly helpful. I have also appreciated having the time to slow down and enjoy the little things, like a walk around the block.
Haley D.
In the spring and summer, going for bike rides, noticing new plants and flowers on walks, and swimming in the river bring me so much joy. In the fall and winter, baking cakes, doing puzzles, and taking long baths are my favorite ways to take a break from screens and keep myself well.
Lizzie H.
I have enjoyed hot chocolate, listening to audiobooks and cuddling with my pets.
Anna P.
Many of my "what helps" are the usual: walk and talk with friends, physical exercise, weekly zoom calls with my sisters and brothers, etc. To my surprise it has been refreshing to get in touch with my creative side. First I took a calligraphy class at PCC, and now I'm taking a drawing class. This is my first art class since high school, so more than 50 years ago! I'm learning from artists' videos on line and from my teacher. I'm enjoying my young classmates. I'm finding I enjoy making mistakes, also known as inviting learning opportunities. I usually have a really good sense of time, but when I'm working on assignments for my class, I lose track of time. When I "resurface", I feel refreshed.
Liz K.
Breathing exercises in the morning when the upcoming day is feeling particularly overwhelming, paired with self care time in the evening like a hot bath. 
Caitlin D.
For me, getting outside for a long walk or moderate hike really seems to help me. Taking in the elements helps with exercising the body and getting out of my head. I went for a 13-mile walk on Sunday, and although I was somewhat tired when done it was a good experience.
John A.
Comfort food! Bacon, mashed potatoes, fish & chips, any kind of breakfast, along with pie, cookies and 6 blueberry coffee cakes - the kind that’s made with 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar! Yum. 
Cindy D.
Walks while listening to audiobooks, not having to commute to work, and making a special hot drink in the morning (I have perfected the oat milk matcha latte!)
Kathryn P.
I feel so grateful to live in Oregon. Being retired and hikers, Chuck and I are able to get outdoors and immerse ourselves in nature and in amazing beauty every week. When snowshoeing on Mt. Hood and looking at the summit on a clear day with blue skies, I am able to forget about the pandemic and world news and feel renewed.
Gay M.
Exercise routine inside and out (running, biking, wts. etc.); Weekly Zoom with 6 buddies; Monthly lunch, distancing in the garage!, with 4 good friends; Making BROWNIES; Reading; Monthly Zoom with Teen II facilitators; HOA Treasurer; Food Bank.
Wayne F.
A new grandson (inside our bubble), my Dougy zoom group, distanced gatherings with a couple of close friends, Take-out food, being married to an amazing woman, and as of last weekend, having a vaccine appointment for March 6!
Jack R.
My new puppy; she makes me laugh every day. I am helped by standing each morning at sunrise on my balcony and breathing in the new day and watching the light show. I am helped by deepening family and friend connections through Zoom. We have time now, some of us, to be more intentional.
Linda F.
I found that rekindling my relationship with therapy has been a great asset to my coping this past year, especially after the completely unexpected death of my dad earlier this December. My therapist has validated my feelings and experiences, they let me cry, laugh, yell, and be angry, and all without judgment. 
Naomi A.
Getting outside for walks and reading new books!
Bill L.
I’m hangin’ in there by cooking yummy things, long walks and baths in my new deep bathtub! Someday we will be together again. Stay sane. 
Susan B-C.
One of the things that has kept me going during this past year is taking long walks following the walks in Laura Foster's "Portland Hill Walks" book. I have learned a lot about several Portland neighborhoods and the exercise and views have been great! Flo. H.
I’ve been baking bread, gardening, and working out (to balance out the extra carb load!), but my favorite silver lining to all of this has been soaking up having my son back home from college since all of his classes are online. He loves board games so every other night has been spent playing and learning new games with him!
Sumi K.
Daily walks with my dog and my partner, watching TV while working, afternoon tea, phone dates during the work day, coloring books, and sweatpants.  
Camila M.
The thing that’s helped me most during this long Covid isolation journey is our dogs, communing with nature, hunting mushrooms and then consuming them. The NW forest is full of bounty and the elfins are an added bonus!
Sarah C.