LEWISTON — After only 10 people signed up for a return to in-person breakfasts, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce hosted an all-Zoom meeting Thursday morning with a speaker addressing resiliency and treating yourself well during the pandemic.

Susie Peixotto, a primary care clinician at Tri-County Mental Health Services, keynote speaker during the chamber’s Zoom breakfast Thursday.

People are experiencing a mix of sadness, fear, anger, anxiety, guilt and resentment, said Susie Peixotto, a primary care clinician at Tri-County Mental Health Services who also works with emergency responders during times of intense stress.

“This is indeed a real yet surreal experience we’re living through,” she said. “We do not know what the long-term mental health impacts will be of those working on the front lines, or on any of us coping in our daily lives. Strategies to enhance our resiliency are more important than ever.”

Peixotto recommended connecting with a support system, any mix of people from family to co-workers to spiritual leaders, in any mix of mediums, whether it’s Zoom, talk or text.

“Seeing someone’s face on a screen isn’t ideal, but it can help us feel more connected by communicating,” she said. “It’s important to be able to talk and share your feelings.”

Don’t forget to exercise: Bike, run, dance, stack wood.

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Shanna Cox, left, and board chair Nicole Lajoie during Thursday’s Zoom breakfast. Kathryn Skelton/Sun Journal

“Exercise helps our bodies release those endorphins that can counteract the stress hormones that build up when we have a traumatic event or are just constantly living with stress,” Peixotto said.

Finally, take care of yourself.

“Do something you’re good at, whether it’s tying flies, playing an instrument, making a pie, something that gives you a sense of control when so much seems out of your control,” she said.

The morning session had 51 participants tuned in, about one-quarter of the usual in-person crowd.

After a two-month hiatus, Chamber President Shanna Cox said they’d tried to bring breakfasts back with new safety precautions but the feedback was members weren’t quite ready, which is OK.

“We’d love to hear from you about what you want your chamber to be doing right now,” Cox said. “We’re doing a ton of backdoor, back channel advocacy, some direct outreach to (the Department of Economic and Community Development) and the administration. For some of you that’s enough, for some of you it’s not and we’re actively looking to meet our members’ needs as your needs are changing rapidly.

“Be on the lookout for some things we’re working on right now to be responsive and proactive as we focus on both resiliency and recovery for our economy and for each of you,” she added.

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