I recently returned from a week’s long vacation where I was able to totally disconnect, and I plan to do it again later this summer. For those of you that don’t know me well, that’s an extremely difficult task. Up until four years ago, work-life balance was a real struggle. It wasn’t until my family moved to our small farm, started raising chickens, began mowing a ton of grass, and watched both my daughters head off to college that I finally “got it.”
While we need to continue working hard to ensure we are doing what’s best for our patients and the organization as a whole, we also need to be taking care and making time for ourselves. It’s an old saying that in order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves first.
There has been a great deal of focus lately on providing support for caregivers. This support carries over to daily duties and interactions, not just during or after difficult events. At MedFlight we initiated an internal Critical Incident Stress Debrief team (CISD) and Comfort Dog program to help provide that support both internally and externally.
Equally important, information and education has been provided to MedFlight partners on how to recognize stress and teach preventative methods of reducing stressors in our lives. We all have stress. The key is how we deal with that stress. As we know, there are healthy ways to deal with the stressors like exercising, hobbies, and non-work-related outlets. Conversely, there are some not-so-healthy ways.
Unfortunately, stressors are a major part of this profession. We need to do our very best to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Many of you probably already do this. For those that do, kudos to you! Additionally, help keep an eye on your colleagues. This includes making sure they find a support system and have an avenue to disconnect from work. Encourage them to find a hobby or reconnect with family and friends and focus on what’s truly important. For those of you that struggle with work-life balance like me, I encourage you to step back and really reflect on other aspects of your life. Trust me, there is more to life than constantly working, checking email 24/7 (guilty), and being tethered to smart phones.
I encourage you to find your Zen outside of work. Mine just happens to be taking care of our hobby farm and beekeeping. I suggest you find something that allows your mind to wander and requires very little brain power. It’s truly therapeutic and will make you happier and healthier. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Thanks for all you do.