As front-line healthcare professionals we are all feeling the pressure. Trying to balance our professionals responsibilities and our personal lives is something we have been doing for a long time, but we have never had to do it like this before.
On 30th March 2020, DFTB gathered together a panel of experts – all of whom are people I personally love as humans and wellbeing experts. We are honoured that they all said yes and joined our panel. And I was lucky enough to join them too.
We have recorded the session and are delighted to be able to share it here. Please send it to your colleagues and get in touch with any thoughts. We hope to run another one soon.
Our three key take home messages were.
1. Be a boundary ninja
Make sure your time off is really time off – but convey that in a kind way to your colleagues. You don’t need to be trolling through your Twitter Covid feed in the evening at home. It’s hard to switch off, but we need to try. Like many I have been dreaming about Covid every night for the last two weeks. In fact, one night last week I woke up from my dream coughing in the middle of the night (and I do not have a cough). I’m not normally an anxious person at all and yet I somatised in my sleep. We are all feeling some anxiety, stress, and worry. Set some boundaries on how much screen time you have, mute all the WhatsApp groups, and stop checking your email when you don’t need to. Importantly value the time you have with you family – you need to nurture these relationships even more so now.
2. Connect, connect, connect
In all the uncertainty, change, and chaos, connection can remain. Connect with your colleagues, and make time to connect with your friends. It’s easy to get bogged down in PPE or pathways (of course these are important), but remember that we are in this together. Whether we live in the UK or Australia, whether we are a doctor or a cleaner, we are all fearful – for ourselves and our families. Take time to ask your colleagues how they are really doing.
3. Have a quality recharge
Savour the things that are good, and make sure your down time is good time. Think about the things that nourish you and do them. Knit, dance, sign, build something with lego, do a jigsaw puzzle. Find whatever it is that will make you feel recharged.
And the final practical nugget from Alys Cole-King was to have and store a happy memory. Take a moment when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed to recall it in as much detail as possible. Think about what happened, how it smelled, what you were wearing, what the weather was like. Bring yourself back there, and immerse yourself in it for a moment. Here’s mine. Our first day when we arrived in Australia after moving from the UK in 2011. We took our (then) two tired, jet-lagged kids and went straight from the airport and took them to Bondi Beach. I was 26 weeks pregnant with our third child. The wind was blowing, it smelled of Bondi, and possibility lay ahead. The picture is grainy. My memory of it is crystal clear. Thanks Alys (and all the panel).
Enjoy watching the session.