I guess by soul I really mean “emotions”, but Mind / Body / Emotions did not have the same ring to it.
I think anyone following along can tell that I am feeling somewhat down lately. I’m also quite positive I am not the only one.
I don’t know. The current state of affairs has been mentally really REALLY trying — in many ways more so than rounds 1 or 2.
I feel like the stage of life I am in has its challenges at baseline. I’m a relatively new residency PD (of a relatively new program!) which is a leadership role that is (in my opinion) not easy. There are many stakeholders and it is essentially impossible to please all of them, a reality I am grappling with and learning to handle (but it’s hard!). I still have a significant clinical role. I have 3 kids who are getting older, but who are also definitely not easy. I fully own that I chose all of these things. And it really does feel manageable when there isn’t this giant shadow of a pandemic placed on top of it all.
Again, acknowledging my gratitude here — I’m healthy! We have jobs! We all had COVID and were entirely unscathed! I live in a country with plentiful vaccine availability. These are all good things. And I am truly and honestly doing my best at trying to think about them daily.
It is just feeling hard. I can tell my residents are tired too and without getting into detail, leading the program has felt much more challenging these past few months. My patients are tired and/or scared, and there are a lot of strong emotions. My colleagues are tired and frustrated and sad. I am getting headaches that seem to be triggered entirely by work.
And of course, my coping mechanism (as per usual) is a lot of mindless distraction, mostly via Ye Olde Panic/Doomscroll. I have been flitting from blog comments to Insta to CNN to email to feedly and back even though the activity makes my emotions run higher and my headache worse. I fully know it is bad for my mental state AND my productivity, and I need to just suck it up and go back to setting firm limits.
So, I will. Or at least, I’m working on it. Today I have a notepad sitting next to me where I am tracking my time, one action / activity at a time. I am hopeful that perhaps this act will help keep me centered and at least more aware of when I start to spiral. I will go back to my previous goal of 100 minute (or less!) per day, which has served me so well in the past.
And I will really, really try to stop focusing on all kinds of negative possibilities and things not under my control.
I think I just have to at this point. One action at a time. One hour, one day, one week. We will someday get through this, or it will be a new kind of normal we all figure out how to live with. I have to seek out more joy in each day and avoid the temptation of just trying to numb it all away .
Because this is it and every day is a gift.