Rest and reflect!

As we head into a third year of the pandemic, Dr Stacey Killick offers some advice on how you can maximise your headspace and time out over the coming weeks.
Dr Stacey Killick

It is hard to believe that we are entering our third year of the COVID pandemic, an event once unthinkable and the end now seeming unimaginable. As our workload continues and as our patients need us, so we will continue to be there and to strive to deliver the best level of care we can. But with that comes the ongoing and sometimes underappreciated need to look after ourselves to enable us to carry on in this journey. And so here are a few pointers to maximising your headspace and time to see you through 2022. 

1. Make the most of what you have
Each year we are granted what we are granted with our rotas and on-call commitments. Decide what things are really important and see where best you could fit them in, taking into account post on-call fatigue. Recent times have made us more grateful for what we have, and perhaps more selective over what really matters to us and those around us, so start with the most important, work your way through and don’t plan so much you end up feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. 

2. Plan ahead
We have seen how unpredictable times can be, with unexpected isolation time, the sudden change in lockdown rules and even recently with the alphabet of storms that seem to be coming our way. So take a minute to think: have you got a back up of things you need to get through if things were to suddenly change? What would plan B be and how could you best prepare for that? Be it tins of chocolate, emergency craft kits for the kids or even some mulled wine to hide in the airing cupboard, be as on your feet as you would be with a bleep.

3. Keep in touch
If we have learnt anything over the last few years, it is that it is those around us that we work with who keep us sane, who understand completely and support us when needed, who keep us grounded. And so as much as we need to think of ourselves, we need to think of others also, and if they may be struggling or isolated at what can be such a difficult time of year. So whether it is offering a spare seat, dropping off a card and a bottle of wine or just messaging to see if they are ok, spare a moment’s thought of those around you and if can help them.

4. Consider a social media holiday
I love the memes on medtwitter, seeing the gift disasters on Facebook and the top ten tips on how to pimp up your roasties on Instagram as much as the next person. But with all the positives that come with social media are an equal amount of negatives, and sometimes you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. It might be seeing those complacent or ungrateful even for what they have, an induced sense of loneliness and FOMO or the sense of anger, negativity and injustice that can come from reading the content of such platforms; and you have to ask yourself “Do I need a break”? Because sometimes we all do. 

5. Rest and reflect…what do you want from the New Year?
Once we have gotten through the initial festive period, we venture into the last days of December, preparing ourselves for writing the date incorrectly a thousand times and for the last few bank holiday on-call shifts to pass. But with that comes the realisation of a new year, new opportunities that may arise and new hurdles we may face. It presents itself as a time of reflection and as a moment for us to ask ourselves what we want from the next 365 days. So ask yourself who you are, what you want and if any changes are needed. 

All the best and look after yourselves.