First Week of the year, lateral flows and critical incidents (08/01/2022)

2022 is only a week old and it already feels exhausting. There is just so much happening it seems, the noise from the news is deafening, and then we have our own lives to deal with. Its only January 8th and I feel like I want to take myself to bed until March.

I don’t know about you but I have felt a bit groggy this week. A combination of over indulgence from Christmas, a lack of exercise and the psychosomatic effect of everyone around you testing positive for COVID. I keep testing myself and I keep testing negative, feel for swollen glands at least twice a day, and have a daily internal debate on what constitutes a persistent cough (even though I have had a persistent cough in the past). I was always a bit of a hypochondriac as most of us tend to be, but omicron has turbocharged it.

To make matters worse the media seems hell bent on causing panic and hysteria in the general public again. The constant messaging that the NHS is on the brink of collapse is irresponsible and a bigger threat to public health than COVID 19 on it’s own. It is also untrue. The NHS is under a lot pressure at the moment, but this is not uniform across the country, and demand will peak at different times in different parts of the country. By telling the public the NHS cannot cope runs the risk of people who really need attention do not get seen. The media must provide a more balanced view and stop delivering news about health and public services with their ideological agenda whether that is to the left or the right. This is an emergency and what we need in an emergency is a cool head and for everybody to play their part in the solution, and that is not to cause panic.

That brings me to lateral flow devices. Have you got yours? It took me a bit of persistence but I did manage to get some from the government website. At one point at the beginning of the week it was stressing me out worrying about getting hold of them. But as with the news I realised I was spending a lot of time and energy reacting to events and situations that are out of my control. It was time for me to reduce my focus onto my sphere of influence and spend my time and energy on events and situations I can control. I can keep requesting LFDs online when I have a moment, I cannot control if there is any available, all I can do is try. After a day of trying I managed to get some.

Our youngest has been feeling poorly in Manchester, this has been quite stressful for us, hoping he is ok. He shares a house with his brother so we knew he would be cared for but that does not stop us worrying about him. Lisa dispatched his brother to the Chemist to get some difflam spray for his brothers sore throat. When he returned Lisa asked him how much she owed him. He casually said £19.01! “How much!!!” A perfectly understandable response I felt. It turns out he was being a caring brother and had put together a bit of a care package for his little brother, and got some cough medicine and vapo rub amongst other things. That was an example of Lisa feeling anxious and taking control of what she could control, and showing her care through her eldest son. For me it also confirmed that we had raised two wonderful, kind, and caring young men. Jack is feeling much better.

Work post Christmas has been quite strange for me. Half of my time has been spent working on my usual role and the other half of the week has been concentrating on building back up our staff support offer. Essentially this meant just tidying up our leadership development programmes to make sure we can pick them back up as soon as activity is reduced and restarting the active staff support responses by providing insitu drop in sessions for specific wards, one to one coaching and clinical supervision, and group leadership support for our department leaders. Our focus and purpose is to support our staff to continue to be the compassionate, caring, skilled health professionals they are. Having that purpose front and centre makes it easy for me to go to work everyday, even when it is difficult. This takes us back to the theme of today’s blog, when I focus on my sphere of influence I feel less stressed and better able to do what I need to do.

What I do need to get better at is to filter out all this noise from the news, especially when it is as noisy as it is at the moment.

Take care,


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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