The need for radical self care this winter.
Life before Covid-19 was challenging for most doctors and public health leaders in the UK who spend much of their working lives juggling the multiple demands of home and work. The additional pressures of work during the Covid-19 Pandemic coupled with the pressures of home-schooling, shielding vulnerable family members, caring for other people – as well as caring for ourselves – has left many doctors and public health leaders feeling tired and afraid of feeling overwhelmed. With concerns that Covid-19 infection may result only in short term immunity, no sign of a vaccine in the near future, fears of further localised or more widespread outbreaks in the months ahead, together with backlogs at work and ongoing restrictions to our family and social lives, it is all too easy to feel demoralised and despondent as we think about the months ahead and beyond.
Coping with uncertainty, and sustaining ourselves under pressure, are key life skills. Like our health and care systems, life is a complex, dynamic system and change is constant, whether we like it or not. We may experience periods of relative stability but system disruptors are always around the corner: from unexpected personal and family crises and political changes, to the arrival of novel infectious diseases and climate change – behind the illusion of stability and security there are always rising tides or big bangs of disruption to what we like to think of as the status quo. The pace of change is growing exponentially in our society, speeded up by technology, travel and the volume of knowledge available to us personally and professionally: learning how to thrive in this context takes significant skill and effort.
As you prepare for the autumn and the uncertainties of the winter ahead of us, take time to learn the skills of what I refer to as ‘radical self care’. A casual approach is no longer an option; to sustain yourself through the uncertain period ahead, prioritising yourself and your own wellbeing is going to be essential. This needs to be tailored to suit your particular circumstances, and as one of the world’s leading medical leadership coaches and public health leadership coaches, I am uniquely able to help you to identify what you need to do to prioritise your own wellbeing, and to hold you to account to making sure you actually do it in the face of all the competing other roles and activities you also need to do.
You can find out more about my bespoke leadership coaching programmes (coaching for medical leaders, coaching for public health leaders, and coaching for global health leaders) on http://www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk/services/expert-medical-and-public-health-leadership-coaching-through-covid-19/
Dr Fiona Day (MBChB, FFPH, Dip Occ Med, Executive Coach) is a FMLM approved Executive Coach and works with senior doctors, medical and public health leaders to improve their careers and leadership roles. Find out more at www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk; to explore working with Fiona please book a confidential half hour Career Consultation here.