I am writing this at a time of deep uncertainty as we enter unprecedented times. What impact is this having on NHS colleagues already?
If you are feeling scared, worried and uncertain - please know that your colleagues may be feeling this as well and it is common, with such a big threat affecting our community. Many of us are very concerned that our top experts should be taking the best measures that they can to protect our nations. We want to trust our experts that they have got this right, so much relies on it; the lives of the elderly and vulnerable and the amount of strain the NHS will face. Being on the frontline brings it's own set of challenges. We will be anxious about our own health and the health of our families. We may already have developed the illness or been in contact. We may be required to undertake duties we are less familiar with and with less resources available. We may have to break bad news and see suffering like never before.
We are told we will be entering a wartime like situation. We know that means we will need courage, resilience, compassion and strength. We will be tested.
What makes me so proud to be a doctor for the NHS is that all my professional life, I have been surrounded by talented colleagues from all disciplines who inspire me, set a shining example of personal qualities and who behave with such professionalism. I have no doubt that we will rise to this challenge with integrity, kindness and the best clinical care we can give. Yes. it will be tough but we will handle it. During this difficult time, we need to care for each other - we are all going to be under immense pressure. What can we do to make things a little better? It is different for each of us.
Know that low-level anxiety about what is to come is normal
Monitor and restrict the amount of information your brain receives - it can become too much with 24-hour news and social media
Take time to self-care - e.g. morning meditation, or taking a few minutes out to breathe at work when it all gets too much
Keep up with your self-care routines- e.g. time with family and friends, exercise and healthy eating
Keep a gratitude journal - even in the worst times we can find things to be grateful for
Look for the blessings, even in the difficult situations
Connect with your colleagues. Take time for a debrief disguised as a cup of tea
Find support from your network with close friends, family and social groups inside and outside the profession- they will be glad to be there for you
Stand up for yourself and your own wellbeing - ensure you are provided with personal protective equipment
Ask for a mix of duties if this will help you - e.g. telephone and face to face work
You are not responsible for everyone in society - remember this - just do what you can do.
And finally...Laugh - Yes we need to stockpile on jokes, humour and toilet roll
Inspired Medics came about because I wanted to encourage connection with our colleagues and building self-care into our hectic lives - this is as important as ever at this time.
Wishing you the best for the coming weeks and months. Angela Goyal
Founder, Inspired Medics