Life has been tough the past few months. But whose hasn’t?! We have all been there. Work stress, family troubles, significant losses, losing track of life in general. And the beauty of it all is that, despite all this…. life goes on!!
There are times when we think that everything is a waste of time and energy. Feeling like robots, living everyday like a chore. But if we really look at our own life from far, we can see how blessed we actually are.
One of the side effects of being an ER resident is that, you see people dying daily. And no matter how long you have been in the field, every death affects you. You cannot help but wonder what background the person might have come from, was he a happy person who lived his life to the fullest? could he have imagined that suddenly today he would drop dead? does the family know ? and it goes on… thoughts churning around in the head. Faces appearing in front of your eyes every time you close them. Tearing off duty on the slightest of things because it has to come out somewhere. Sadness enveloping your heart so tightly you feel it might stop. The rude awakening of being a mere mortal, at every single shift does not cease, and the scars keep piling on, never giving the last ones a chance to heal.
In an ideal world there would be something called “de briefing”. We all know the world is not ideal, so there it goes obviously. Anyways, what can a little encouraging talk do to scars so deep?
I know i might be sounding depressed, but in reality this is how every doctor feels. They carry this burden everywhere with them, and no one seems to understand (or even attempt to)
And when you are left with no choice, you have to put things straight yourself. Because guess what?! life goes on, and it cannot go on like this! Now 4 years into practice i have developed a few ways i gain back my perspective on life. It works. Not in forgetting things, but it helps me stay sane.
While going through a few ordeals these last few months (and using up all these ways) i thought about sharing it with you, because everyone needs perspective. right? So here goes!
- Go on a holiday – the word itself sounds so alluring and relaxing, you just want to jump at the opportunity. I have found this as the best way to not only unwind but also take a back seat on my life. It does not need to be something expensive. Even a one night stay at a motel might do the magic, because it helps you literally get away from your daily routine.
- Thinking time – since I was in high school, i have had a thinking time in some form or another. From waking up earlier than everyone at home, to gathering my thoughts during the morning drive, i make sure i have a little time to plan, focus and remind myself of what’s important before the day begins. There are days, when this is not enough and I go on to the next step. Set aside some time everyday to de clutter the mind. Pondering over more important things, and clearing away the unimportant ones.
- Write – i love writing and maybe that’s why it is equivalent to therapy for me. But i have read a lot about how it helps you focus when you put things in black and white. I have used this method for many a major decision in my life. From choosing my speciality, to planning celebrations, or even just venting. Once on paper, things make a lot of sense (even a treatment plan!). Some days when my brain and life seems a jumble, i spend a few hours organising my evernote (because practically my whole life is on it, oops!). By the end of it i have a clear action plan, and a better approach to all the hodge podge!
- Treat yourself – a cheaper version of the 1st point 😉 . It doesn’t mean splurging money on retail therapy (although it could mean that if you can afford it! why not?!). Have you ever noticed how rejuvented you feel right after a bath soak? or maybe even just a haircut?! Treat your self in any way you feel will agree with you, and trust me you will come out the other end with a better stance!
- Pray/Meditate – Talk to God in other words. In any form or method you may. There should be no doubt about this one! I am a firm believer that, you get what you expect. So if you expect good from your Lord, that is what you get! Talk to Him about your problems, and focus on your purpose in the world. How far are you? are you done? or not even started yet?!
- Nature – when you observe nature, you really do forget your own troubles. Everything leaves you amazed. It makes you wonder, energised and relaxed all at the same time. It is something hard to describe, but i am sure you will agree with me that it has to be on the list of things that help you re focus on your life.
- Embrace the child in you – If you have children of your own, you know what i am talking about. You will see on a daily basis how someone can be so carefree, loving and unselfish. You might even want to be them. But remember this was you once, and you can go there, just for a while. Play with them and re live your childhood. You will love it!!! Have you noticed how little ones can’t stop giggling and laughing at the stupidest of things? That should be us. Maybe that’s why they are so happy all the time! And i must say it is infectious 😀
- Cry – i was a bit hesitant to put it here, but i do it, and i had to be honest. You may have often read this quote that “crying doesn’t mean you are weak. It just means you have been strong for too long”, and i agree totally! This makes me go back to 2 other points in this list. Thinking and even prayer may eventually lead to crying and ranting. It’s all right. Because honestly you will feel like a huge burden has been lifted off your chest later. Crying has been proven to release endorphins, that release stress and improve mood. Do you need any more excuses?
Those are my top 8 recipes for getting a better outlook on life, specially when the going gets tough! exercise has been proven to be an effective way as well, but since i never do it for this reason (or any other lol!), i did not mention it.
It’s not easy being a doctor, it’s not easy being a parent, it’s very hard to be a human in today’s world! luckily we have ways of actually ‘living’ and not just wasting oxygen. So embrace them, because YOLO (too cliche 😛 )