If you can do one thing today, give permission to attend yourself. For even just a moment – give yourself the same care you give to your patients.
Give yourself permission to feel hands on your back. Feel and accept the support of your community. Don’t shrug it off, don’t send it to someone who “needs it more”. It is in our nature to triage the sickest, the least stable and devote our resources to them. But there are walking wounded among our ranks. You are one of them. You have suffered moral, spiritual and even physical injuries in these last weeks.
So Embrace the support that is being offered to you. You need it. Even though we can’t touch or feel each other, we can imagine what that hand-colored sign, that meal, that video chat, that encouraging message would feel like as a solid, reassuring hug.
The embrace of arms enfolding and supporting you, the pause that allows you to take that big, sometimes shaky breath in and let it slowly out, feeling… unburdened.
Take that moment to turn in, figure out what you need and ask for help. Or celebrate the charity and happiness you find when they cross your path. We can still laugh. We can still smile until our eyes crinkle and you can see the giant grin despite PPE, even if it’s only in the mirror.
Please know that your shared grief is lessened, and that your shared joy is multiplied. We may have to fight COVID in a way that is physically separate, but we must see to our health, the health of our community and connection to survive this larger crisis.
(Shout out to Christine D’Ercole, who inspired this with her free live stream to 50K+ physician Moms tonight, and to Bright Horizons on the SJMO canvas who made the beautiful art above even as they were having to say goodbye to their beloved little learners for the time being)