Eva’s Excerpt March 2021

I am going to do something I rarely do—share a personal story. I am writing this while returning from vacation, my first in more than a year and the first real vacation my husband and I have taken alone in over 20 years. Unfortunately, while I was away, my grandmother passed away, likely from complications of COVID-19. She was 102 years old. She died alone in a nursing home, having been unable to receive any visitors for almost a year. My mother cannot make arrangements for the burial until later this week. It is unclear whether we should travel or even go see my relatives since they are as yet not fully vaccinated and at high risk.

I tell you this not to generate sympathy, but only to reflect on the beauty and sadness of life. I suspect many of you have lost someone you love this year, or had people you care deeply about fall sick. You may not have been able to see them or care for them in the way you wished. You may feel guilt. You have all worked hard and put off enjoyment. You may feel exhaustion or burnout. Your family may have made sacrifices to support you so that you could do the work that needed to get done. They may feel anger, frustration or jealousy. We are all hoping for “normalcy” but it remains elusive and likely will for some time still. You may feel irritated and anxious or just plain bone tired.

And yet, there is so much to be thankful for. It may be hard to see right now, but it is there. To find it, you need to take time for yourself. Alison Whelan reminded us of this important fact in a recent communication. Here is the key message: Attention to our own well-being is important for all of us—clinicians and non-clinicians alike. To do so:

  • Take a vacation or a day off
  • Eat healthy, balanced meals
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Treat yourself to your favorite dessert, TV show, book, hobby
  • Stay socially connected to friends and family
  • Make time for religion, yoga, meditation, or mindfulness practice

Here are some articles/ resources as well:

On making time for yourself

On self-care

On clinician burnout

Finally, don’t forget to visit the outstanding resources provided by our Human Resources Office.