As we near spring, we approach the one year anniversary of COVID-19’s entrance into our lives. I will refrain from elaborating on how this past year has affected all of us, our community, and the entire world. At our most challenging moments, it may even feel as though we’re just going through the motions. Physically, mentally, and emotionally we may feel we’re not functioning at full strength. Feeling burnt out like this is of course natural and understandable, but what can we do for ourselves to make sure we’re still taking care of our own health? And how do we cope with possibly feeling selfish by taking time for ourselves when we instead feel called to take care of others?
No matter what your career path, working through a global pandemic was completely unanticipated. Before we can provide the highest quality care to our patients, we first have to take care of ourselves, whether by exercising, meditating, praying, or even just taking a bit of time to work on a hobby we enjoy. By allowing these acts of kindness to ourselves, we better prepare our bodies and minds to serve others.
It’s important that, through it all, we remain hopeful. According to the New York Times, 13.3% of North Carolina residents have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 7.1% have received the second dose (as of February 24). Across the United States, about 45.2 million people have received the first dose and about 20.6 million people have been fully vaccinated. Within our own hospital system, 1,540 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,233 people have received the second dose. This is incredible news. I still encourage you to get your vaccine, it’s just one more way to take care of yourself.
Remember, we’ve spent so much time looking out for others in the past year that some of us may have forgotten to keep an eye on our own needs. If we’re not there for ourselves, we won’t be able to be there for our patients. Take care and stay safe.