Boris, shouting at the TV, couch to 10k, and dancing like no ones looking

What a week for getting the blood boiling, the news has been filled with lockdown parties at No. 10, and Boris Johnson trying to avoid all accountability. On top of that the not so Grand Old Duke of York and his alleged predatory behaviour, oh and I nearly forgot Novac Djokovic and his attempt to bend the rules to his convenience. Not a good week for Male White Privilege. Their antics have made me shout and swear at the TV and twitter. I could feel my jaw tensing and my fists clenching, and even if I remind myself that I no control over it so I shouldn’t spend so much energy on it, it still has a negative effect on my outlook, and I cannot help being frustrated by it. I do not want to stop watching the news as I think it is important to know what is happening in the wider world. But I do run the risk of feeling out of control and helpless in my own world.

This is something I have noticed in conversations I have had with nurses at work, they feel helpless and ignored. They are confronted by situations beyond their control and find it hard to see what is in their control. Many of them I speak to have had to change where they work and the way they work. This they acknowledge is no one persons fault it is just the circumstances of COVID patients and staff sickness. But when we feel helpless and out of control our mind looks for stories and circumstances that confirm this feeling of helplessness so them and me and no doubt all of you find ourselves focussing on and pushing against situations and issues we have no control over, and the cycle continues.

So this week I have decided to look for stuff I do have control over. It doesn’t change my frustration with all the shit that is going on but what it does is gives me an alternative. Now over indulgence and being a lazy git as resulted in my waist getting bigger and me feeling lethargic and unhealthy. Now I can do something about that. As you know Cancer Research is a charity close to my heart, and last year I ran the Great Manchester Run raising money for the charity. Well at the beginning of the week I signed up for this years Run again raising money for Cancer Research. This gave me the compelling reason to start running again. As I have let myself go over the past few months I started couch to 10k from scratch, and I have done 3 runs this week. Over the past couple of weeks I have also been giving away free mindfulness recordings to friends, choosing to help others also gives me a sense of control. I still get stressed about the news, I still shout at the TV, but I can also focus on what I do have control over. When I feel myself going down that helpless rabbit hole I can intentionally choose to look at what I do have control over.

This brings me to the last part of my title. We don’t always have control over what will cause us stress, and if we just tried to avoid stress we would never get anything. So stress is inevitable. What we do with it is important. This morning I felt quite stressed listening to the news and thinking about my week. I song came on Spotify and I started to dance around the kitchen (I know I am sorry about giving you that mental image). It made me feel better, it made me smile. It helped me complete my stress cycle. It made me feel safe, it reminded me that the world is just as beautiful and lovely, as it is ugly and terrible. I completed my stress cycle. So take time to complete your stress cycle and dance like no one is looking.

Advertisement

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,

New Year…so far 2022 seems depressingly familiar (03/01/2022)

As we enter another pandemic dominated year, I thought I would re-start my regular blog, for a few reasons. One reason is for posterity, as a piece of history alongside all the other blogs and diaries written by countless others around the world. I did this back in 2020 and recently I self published those blog entries. To date I have sold around 10 copies either via Kindle or paperback, and if I am honest that is about 7 more than I expected. I might treat myself to a fancy IPA with the royalties. So if I manage to fill a year’s worth of blogs I might do it again for this blog series. Hopefully this series will end in a positive optimistic note.

2022 has started in a similar vain to 2021 with a variant of COVID causing havoc, however this particular variant does not appear to be devastatingly fatal as last years. This one in many ways could end up having a bigger more widespread impact on us all, as it attempts to infect as many of us as possible. Now most of us will end up with a mild headache and cough, others will be bed ridden for a few days, some people will end up in hospital with a very small number getting really sick. What kind of virus offers such a wide range of possibilities. And then there is the potential of some having long-term problems despite only having a mild acute illness. With all this information being thrown at us, in varying degrees of hysteria by the media, is there any wonder a lot of us are experiencing long-term anxiety. The side effect of this media frenzy is extremes of populist viewpoints on both sides of the argument from conspiracy theories about some elite global superclass controlling the masses with the illusion of a global pandemic, to people insisting on complete lockdown with no one being allowed out of their homes until the virus is eradicated. It is easy to see how these views can take hold, and create division, all you have to do is go on twitter to see these febrile arguments erupt on an hourly basis. I suppose pandemics do this, not only do they effect us physically but they impact on every part of our lives even if you have never actually been infected by the virus. The toll exacted by this virus as many people have said will not be fully appreciated for years to come. I suppose all we can do is start to work out how will live with it. This is not going to happen overnight, clearly as we move into our second year of this pandemic.

This has made me think about previous blogs I have written about living with uncertainty, this is what we have been doing for two years and it looks like we have a while to go before we can start to return to our normal balance of certainty and uncertainty. Learning to live with uncertainty takes time and effort. Dr Susan David ( I have mentioned her a few times in previous blogs) has written a wonderful book called Emotional Agility that is really helpful. Paul McGee’s book Shut Up Move On (SUMO) is also really good at explaining how to live uncertainty. I find mindfulness techniques useful to quieten my mind. Apparently I have a very soothing voice, so I have in the past recorded some mindfulness messages for people, if you would like one, email me or send me a message via twitter or Facebook and I will send you. I also offer personal coaching on how to live with uncertainty, to find out more email me or send me a message as above via social media.

We cannot do anything about the uncertainty of the pandemic, but we can manage our response to it. Stay safe everyone.

There is just a lot going on

Last weekend I felt overwhelmed, I had so many things going round my head. The week before had been my Mum’s 80th Birthday, and we had all travelled to see her. It was a lovely celebration full of emotion. Spending precious time with family is so special. I had placed so much importance on these few days with my Mum, my boys, my Sister, my Niece, my Nephews and my Great Niece, that it was becoming quite stressful and overwhelming. I know my Mum felt the same, gladly we both managed to calm down long enough to enjoy her special day. Even so the whole experience was quite emotionally draining. When we got home on Thursday I felt depleted.

On Friday and Saturday I decided to concentrate on my leading through the pandemic project. I spent most of Friday working out a strategy on how to present it. I got myself confused and stressed trying to rush the process to get something that made sense. I ended up wasting a lot of time messing around with transcripts and not really getting anywhere. This confusion and stress was swiftly followed by doubt and feelings of inadequacy. On Saturday morning after writing a blog and settling my mind I continued to work through transcripts this time reframing my actions as a helpful way to examine the content of transcripts, identifying themes and testing some ideas about how I might present the project.

I then started thinking about the daily blog entries I made at the beginning of the pandemic, that were a mixture of diary entries about what was happening to me and around me, with my thoughts on how to maintain our resilience. So I revisited them and had an idea of putting them all together into a book, that could be a companion piece to the leadership project. So I spent the rest of the day editing them and putting them into one document. This spilled over into Sunday and a large part of Sunday was spent fiddling with the entries and writing an introduction, as well as an hour spent exploring how I could get it published on Amazon. Even though I was having fun doing all this, I could feel a tension in my body. There was this underlying pressure to get things done, but I had taken on so much that it felt like it was impossible. As the Sunday drew to a close my focus shifted to work and all that needed to be done in the coming week and the following weeks. That with my personal projects was just too much. My mind was muddled with too many moving parts. For a moment I felt like pushing the stop button and taking myself off to bed for the rest of the year. I dismissed that thought immediately, I have got no choice, if I don’t go into work on Monday at finish designing the leadership webinar, continue co-ordinating the 360 degree feedback for our leadership programme participants, and co-ordinate the Clinical Supervision training for next year, then it won’t get done and I will feel more stressed and overwhelmed in the coming days and weeks.

I had a choice, I could continue to be zoomed out looking at all that needs to be done and feel overwhelmed, or I could zoom in on what needs to be done right now to achieve the big picture. I know I can do what needs to be done, some of it might be at the edge of my competence, but I know I can get support when I need it. So I parked the weekend projects to revisit this week and started shifting my focus to what I would be doing on Monday. I still had the tension in my body, I still felt pressure to achieve, throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I ended up recognising that, that tension was required to create the sense of urgency I needed to create some pace to get the different elements done. Half way through the week, my boss gave me some feedback that had a profound effect on me. She told me that the work I had done to develop a modular leadership programme was well received and added flexibility for the participants, many of whom are juggling completing the programme with high work demand. It was just the motivating tonic I needed. I really felt I was getting somewhere.

Last weekend and the beginning of last week was uncomfortable, I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth. It would have been easy to avoid those unpleasant feelings and shy away from pushing myself to achieve. What I did was acknowledge why I felt that way. I felt that way because it was important for me and others to complete what I started. My core values are courage and usefulness. My values were clearly driving me to keep going and achieve. Therefore the emotions I was feeling were helpful. To get the work done and to start achieving my goal I needed to concentrate on smaller performance goals each day, goals that I could achieve each day. So I zoomed in and focused on those individual goals using the tension and anxiety created by my need to be useful to motivate me. Halfway through the week my value of usefulness was validated which motivated me further.

When work or life starts to get too much, be curious about the emotions you are feeling, listen to what your mind and body are telling you. Allow yourself to make the right choice even if in the short term it is uncomfortable.

Is it time to untangle yourself from a past that no longer serves you?

I wrote a tweet earlier this morning suggesting that it is possible to learn to untangle ourselves from from the failings of our past, to allow us to act to create a compelling future.

Yes it is possible, if you are as tangled up as I am though it is going to take a while. That is what most of us don’t realise about self-improvement, it takes time and a huge amount of effort. Most of us (and yes I include myself in this) fail at the first hurdle. We give up early because we set ourselves up to fail by trying to untangle everything all at once, and like trying to unravel a piece of thread you just get more tangled than you were before. The only way to disentangle yourself is to start small and work on one knot at a time methodically and carefully.

If you read through my previous blogs you will see this is something I have been doing for quite sometime. It is working I have given up smoking, I am doing a job I love, I have two satisfying projects on the go and I coach privately, rather than being a smoker and stuck in a job I have fallen out of love with. I am learning to be more emotionally agile, and not being hooked on the need to be experiencing happy emotions all the time. I have still got plenty to do and the one thing the alludes me is managing my weight.

I would always tackle it as if it was one straightforward problem. Lose weight, by exercising and eating less and healthier food, oh and drink less beer. I should know better though. Nothing we do that is longstanding is straightforward, it is always tangled up with our view of our world, which is shaped by our past experiences and our relationship with those experiences. The reason I am fat is simple, I eat too much unhealthy food and don’t exercise enough. The reasons why I do those things even though I know they are bad for me is complicated, really complicated. When I think about it in many ways it is similar to my smoking habit, it took a while to disentangle that. The only difference is that I have been eating shit food for a lot longer than I was smoking, so there are a lot more knots.

You may have guessed as ever that I am writing this blog to sort my own shit out. Which is exactly true. I know what to do, but on this subject I have not previously delved deep enough. Writing this, is like zooming in on a big picture and concentrating on the small details one at a time.

So how am I going to tackle this issue, which knot am I going to concentrate on? I am going to concentrate on my emotional response to food and not exercising. What I value about these habits? How well are these habits serving me now? What could I possibly do that would serve those values now? Which one of those actions could I start to do now?

It sounds really simple but really examining the emotions and values that lay beneath a longstanding habit is challenging and requires a shift in mindset. You may remember a blog I wrote about Acceptance Commitment, or more recently when I wrote about Dr Susan David’s Emotional Agility. These approaches are very useful when untangling yourself from your past. You can do it yourself but employing a coach is a much more effective way of completing it. Below is a simplified version of the process:

  • Accept that things happen in your life that are emotionally painful, at the same time accept that emotionally uplifting things will happen too. Make room and accept both into your life with compassion and kindness.
  • Recognise the difference between your thinking, planning mind and your observing mind. The most effective way to do this is to practice mindfulness techniques to start to notice and let go thoughts and feelings.
  • Explore what you value, identify your core values. Recognise the values that drive your thoughts and emotions, identifying those that serve you well, and letting go those that do not serve you well.
  • Identify small changes to habits that meet the needs of your helpful thoughts and emotions and are congruent with your values.

The key for this is to spend the time practicing letting thoughts and feelings come and go. You can use this technique for change you want to make. If you want to explore this further, please get in touch. matt@mattycoach71.com

Lead a satisfying, fulfilling life at home and work.

Effective leadership starts with yourself. Being a selfless heroic leader may well be effective in the short-term, but as a long-term solution it will only end in you burning out and a dramatic reduction in your performance as a leader.

If you want to see long-term improvement in your performance as a leader, and see that borne out in the performance of your teams, it is vital to concentrate on you personal leadership. The knock on effects of personal leadership is that you will lead a more measured fulfilling life in and outside of work.

I offer a personal leadership coaching programme over 6 sessions, during these sessions we will cover:

  • Managing and maintaining a healthy mind
  • Identifying and working with behavioural preferences
  • Learn how to respond rather than reacting
  • Challenging and reframing perspectives and narratives
  • Communicating effectively (including holding difficult conversations)
  • Exploring why we connect with some people and not others
  • Creating a curious view of the world
  • Goal setting
  • Creating a commitment to action

For £20 per session (when all 6 sessions are paid for in advance) you can start making a difference in how you lead your life both at work and home. All sessions are held via video messenger.

Book now and you will be eligible for a reduced rate for my VIP coaching subscription of £60 per month which includes a maximum of 4 coaching sessions a month plus unlimited email support.

To book a session email me: matt@mattycoach71.com

Improve Your Civility With Self-Care

When we are not feeling good about ourselves, it is all so easy to project our emotions onto those around us through rudeness and generally being unpleasant. Conversely self compassion results in compassion towards others.

If you are noticing that you are more short tempered than usual. If you are feeling intolerant of people around you. If you look at your recent behaviour and do not like what you see. Is it time to start looking at self-care?

Exploring what you value is a good place to start, as it can help you understand why you feel what you feel. Message me if you want to start reducing your incivility and increase your ability to self-care.

Switch Your Aerial to Receiving and Transmitting Mode

Over the past few months I have been speaking to a lot of people across healthcare, individually and in teams. Sometimes reflecting on their experiences and other times looking forward to what is next for them. I have asked them a lot questions about what has been challenging, what has been helpful, what they want to happen next and what challenges they may face. The answers to these questions have been varied depending on their role and what they were facing. There were 2 questions I asked however that universally generated very similar responses. What would you ask of others? What would you offer others?

Think about those 2 questions for a moment. How would you answer them?

When asked what would you ask of others, people overwhelmingly wanted them to be kind, to be supportive and to be open to asking for help if they need it. When they were asked what they would offer the vast majority said they would offer themselves, their time to listen and be compassionate.

Most of us want people to be kind, but also to recognise when they need help and ask for it, and the majority of us are willing to offer that support. We are all willing to offer compassion but I would suggest from this that most of us are reluctant to ask for it, until things get really bad.

To be honest this came as no surprise to me, and I doubt it is a surprise to you either? We are all wonderful at transmitting kindness and compassion, but a little reluctant to receive it, until we really need it.

What would be great is if we could all switch our aerials from transmit mode only to receive and transmit. If only it was as easy as just flicking a switch. I don’t know about you but I have been telling people for years to be kinder to themselves, social media is full of memes telling us to be kind to ourselves. Many people have told me. It makes no difference; we all just carry on putting others before ourselves. Because that is the virtuous story that we tell ourselves and is told to us, so it is the right thing to do. Being self-compassionate is indulgent and selfish. To open ourselves up to willingly be on the receiving end of compassion, not just when we have reached crisis point, but whenever we get a bit of a knock, we are going to have to create the right conditions. We are going to have to do a bit of work on ourselves to become more emotionally flexible.

Below is an approach that may help you become more self-aware and more emotionally flexible to allow you to be open to receiving compassion and in the long run make you more compassionate.

Be Here Now

Practice spending more time in the moment. There are times everyday when we feel consumed by our thoughts (for me it is usually first thing in the morning and last thing at night). Bring yourself in to the present by either using mindfulness techniques or by doing an engaging activity that takes your attention that you enjoy. It is important to be able to set yourself free from your thoughts and spend a moment noticing what is happening right now, not in the future or the past but right now. Practice stepping back from your thoughts and watch them come and go rather than getting caught up in them and letting them push you around.

Open Up

Make room for painful feelings, sensations, urges and emotions. Don’t struggle with them, run from them or get overwhelmed by them. You don’t have to like them, but it is important to recognise that they are there for a reason. It is better to be curious and understand what message they are sending rather than push them away. Painful emotions are often connected to what is truly important to you, therefore that needs acknowledging.

Know What Matters

When we have a clear understanding of what we value, we are in a better position to acknowledge and create space for our painful emotions. We are less inclined to push them away as that would diminish what matters to us. When we are clear what our core values are we have a greater knowledge of what lies behind our emotions and we are better placed to address what needs to be addressed. To help you identify your own values try and answer the following questions as honestly as you can (after all you are the only one that will see the answers);

  • What motivates you?
  • What is important to you?
  • What moves you into action?
  • What gives you a sense of identity?
  • What scares you to death when you imagine losing it?
  • What do you depend on to influence others?

Commit to Action

Now you are practicing stepping back from your thoughts, giving space to your painful emotions, and are now clear on what you value, you can now start to make choices and take action to improve your well-being or to maintain your balanced outlook on life. You don’t have to make big changes, what is important is that you take action that is congruent with your values. You are able to decide on the best action for you based on what you value and what will attend to your emotions. So you are able to recognise and act when you need help, and therefore be in a better position to recognise and act when those around you need help.

Emotional flexibility in such an uncertain world is vital and some might suggest a professional requirement.

Is it time you switched the mode on your aerial to receive and transmit?

Maintaining Balance and Perspective

Balance and perspective have been themes for me this week. The coaching conversations I have been having, have all been related to balance and perspective, and how it is so easy to lose track of either and get caught in a cycle that has a negative effect on our well-being. These attacks on our well-being can feel like they come out of nowhere. They slowly creep up on you and overwhelm you, impacting on your mood, behaviour, and your ability to think rationally.

During a coaching session when we were discussing this, Martin Seligman’s PERMA came back into my mind. If you are a regular reader of my blog or have listened to my Connected Living podcast you will recognise PERMA. I have used it a lot, it is a really simple acronym to check in with your mental wellness. Seligman’s research showed that there are 5 elements of life promote mental health and help you flourish.

  • Positive Emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

He suggests if we attend to these we will maintain a mentally healthy life and flourish. In our busy lives, when work, complicated home lives and global pandemic’s get in the way it is often challenging to maintain all 5 elements. So it is not always possible to prevent an attack on our well-being and the difficult painful emotions that result, but what we can do is maintain balance and perspective. If we attend to all 5 elements we are able to see that the emotional pain we are experiencing is acute and will pass, and for everything that is painful and difficult in your life, there are aspects that bring your joy, and contentment.

Over the past year and half I half have experienced frequent and sustained attacked on my well-being, as I am certain most of you have, and there have been times when I have focused on the pain and discomfort and attempted to dampen it down or push it to one side. It never worked and it always leaked out effecting how I behaved, how I saw the world and how I saw myself. When I stopped fighting the pain and attended to myself and in particular the those important 5 elements, I was able to acknowledge that these emotions were not all encompassing and there was plenty of opportunities to see joy.

To make it easier to use PERMA for each element below I have suggested some questions you ask yourself, to help you gauge if you need to pay it more attention than you are now.

Positive Emotion

Do you smile everyday? Not a forced smile when you see your boss, but a genuine heartfelt smile when you see someone you like. Or do you laugh when you see or hear something that amuses you? Or like me do you burst into song in the kitchen when a favourite song comes on the radio or playlist?

Engagement

Do you take part in activities that engage you completely? Like playing a musical instrument, playing computer games, knitting, exercise, reading, talking with a best friend. An activity that is for the activities sake, that requires no encouragement, you do it for the sheer pleasure and contentment it gives you.

Relationships

Do you have connections with people that is not just on a transactional level? People you have a shared experience with, that you can talk to, listen to, and be heard. Connection with people that have a level of interdependence, even if it is over the phone, or via zoom, connections with other humans is vital.

Meaning

Do you have a purpose? Does your life hold meaning? The why question, why do you do what you do? I am a parent, a husband, and a coach. This element for me over the past few years has caused me the most challenge, as my purpose has shifted or has been challenged. As my children grew up my purpose as a parent shifted and I had to find new meaning in that. Nearly 2 years ago I stopped being a Nurse, and for a few months I felt lost and adrift, as this coincided with Ben my eldest son leaving home, which was then followed by a global pandemic, and the next August Jack my youngest leaving home. This for me is the one element I have to revisit and re-examine the meaning my life has. Hence the regular blogs I suppose.

Accomplishment

What have you achieved this week? It does not have to big and dramatic, just a challenge you have set yourself. It might be doing 10,000 steps, finishing work on time, getting to work on time, or not swearing in the car on the way to work. Acknowledging small wins privately or publicly will shift your mindset to a more optimistic view. It does not mean you ignore so called failures, after all if you are like me that would be impossible as it is my default setting, it means you actively pay attention to what you do well and give it equal billing with your shortcomings.

It is worth considering PERMA every week, just to check in with yourself, to prevent you getting overwhelmed by all that is challenging in your life. It is so easy when we are busy to neglect one or two aspects of our lives, and before we know it everything has just got too much.

Be kind to yourself and take care.

Living and working in a pandemic part 3

I thought I might write a snappier title for this weeks blog, but I could not think of anything, so here it is, same as last week with a number changed.

I have just been thinking about our recovery from the pandemic, and wondering if we are now on the up slopes and will emerge at sooner rather than later from the gloom. I think we probably are, but maybe we might have another dip before we can get out of it. And then once we have come out of the gloom there will be so much to do to recover in every sense. There are the mental and physical scars, but there is so much in our world that we need to rebuild, or re-think, like business, travel, healthcare, and education to name but a few. The next few years are going to be very challenging, and to be fair quite exciting for many of us.

So this week for me has been as is normal now, a mixed bag. Work has been exciting, anxiety inducing and challenging all in one. There is so much to do, and it doesn’t feel like I am getting anywhere fast, and that always sparks self-doubt, and the spectre of imposter syndrome. For the majority of the week there has been this nagging voice in the back of my head usually in the morning suggesting that I am really not up to this and I am completely out of my depth. Luckily I don’t think this voice has spilled out, and I hope it has spurred me on, but it is just unpleasant and I would rather not experience it. I am sure it is just an emotional response to the expectations I place on myself, and no doubt I need to stop comparing myself to others half as much as I do. Saying that I have had some very positive moments this week too, all of them have been when interacting with others and not when I have been working alone. Myself and a colleague reflected this week that our team now spends a lot of time isolated from each other, just as a result of social distancing. Something I think will need to be addressed, and I think naturally we are attempting to find ways of doing this.

We went to a gig for the first time in 15 months this week. There we 36 of us in The New Adelphi, all sat down at tables, but it was so lovely to grab hold of something familiar and normal. The bands all local were excellent. We were by a long way the oldest in the room, but we didn’t care. It was a wonderful optimistic moment.

But then as it is with most weeks the mood is dampened by the increasing case numbers and hospitalisations and the obvious delay of the relaxation of social distancing rules. This has to be done if we don’t we will almost certainly have another surge in hospitalisations that will have a devastating effect on Hospitals, that are already overstretched and trying to recover from the first 2 waves. I would even suggest the impact this time would be worth, as the number of sick patients with other conditions is higher than normal, so if we add an influx of sick covid patients, we run the very real risk of the infrastructure of the NHS collapsing under the weight. So it looks like we will have to stay as we are for a few more weeks until we can get a lot more people vaccinated.

The end is in sight. As my couch to 10k app says to me…”keep going, nearly there, you are doing great!!!”

%d bloggers like this: