Amongst the current COVID-19 chaos, are you taking time to be kind to yourself? Seriously, are you treating yourself with the kindness you deserve? The same kindness you would extend to others? If not, then consider this a gentle, loving but firm reminder to give yourself some space...and some grace. You deserve it. We all do.
After speaking with many of you, and doing some reflecting of my own, I've come to realize that we probably aren't giving ourselves enough space to feel whatever it is that we need to feel. The world has been turned upside down in recent weeks. What we previously knew as normal no longer exists. As the partners of physicians, we continue to experience unique stressors. We are constantly worried about our loved ones. Many of whom are putting themselves in risky situations in order to do their jobs. The ongoing safety issue related to the dwindling supply of masks and other PPE is extremely worrisome. Many physicians are currently separated, living apart from their families in an attempt to spare their loved ones from the possibility of coming in contact with COVID-19. Others are grappling with unsettling feelings related to the 'uncalm before the storm'...managing the anticipatory anxiety that comes with waiting for something to happen. With many doctor's offices forced to temporarily close, and the cancellation of elective ORs and non-emergent patient visits, physician families are worried about the financial implications of this crisis too. There's also worry about the possibility of being redeployed to areas most impacted by COVID-19. Dual doctor families are experiencing many challenges of their own.
And it doesn't stop there...medical trainees and their families are experiencing worry and frustrations too. Residents have had their licensing exams postponed. Job opportunities are being put on hold. Medical students have been displaced. For many of us with children, we've now added homeschool teacher to our resumes. While some of us are still trying to figure out what working from home actually entails. There’s so much uncertainty, and so much feels out of our control at the moment. This is why being kind and judgement-free towards ourselves and others matters. Acknowledging and holding space for our feelings in times of uncertainty can help us to better understand and process our emotions.
Life as we know it has changed. Navigating uncertainty and ever changing circumstances is sure to trigger a plethora of emotions. Remember, whatever you are feeling is REAL, and you are entitled to those feelings, guilt free! Even if your feelings change multiple times in a day. We are all living in unchartered territory. The good news is we will figure things out. We will get through this, and things will get better. I truly believe that we will all come out stronger on the other side. But in the meantime, it's ok to just be. We need to give ourselves permission to simply do whatever feels right for ourselves, and for our families. No explanation required.
In all of this, remember that you are never alone. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out. We are a community that is always ready and willing to support, encourage, and hold space for one another. TFSL will continue to host confidential peer support chats every Thursday at 9pmEST until they are no longer needed. All are welcome. Details to join can be found in the Events section of TFSL website.
Here's to brighter days ahead!
Sending love & light to you your families.