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Wellness in the Time of COVID: The tale of Anne Esthetist

Anne Esthetist, Somewhere in SE London. Uploaded by Admin

As an anaesthetic trainee, COVID really turned my life on its head. At the start of March I was planning an epic 3 month trip abroad and within 2 weeks the UK had shut down, the hospital seemed to be 1 big COVID zone and life as we know it had changed.

In the run up to my first COVID on calls, I had spent a lot of time thinking about wellness and wellbeing, for my colleagues, family, friends and myself. One thing was apparent was that I would need to look after my own wellbeing if I was to look after others.

I spent the first few days thinking about what I was fearful of, to try and see what the solution to my fears could be. Thoughts included, not seeing my family and friends for months, I wouldn’t want to spread any virus to them,

what will we do on our days off, how will I destress after work. I was scared for patients, would we able to cope with the numbers of people that be coming to the hospital with COVID, what about patients who are having non COVID issues, will they get the treatment they need. After a few days of sporadic outbursts and tears, I came to terms with what will be the new normal for the months to come and decided to set a survival plan.

Friends started texting, asking if I was ok and how I was feeling about the situation at work. I decided to shrug off my usual stoic response and instead decided to be truthful. I told some people about what I feared and how tough I think it will be. I am glad I did, this opened up communication and support from friends I had not experienced before.

I had a few days off so I spent the day reading educational articles and listening to webinars on COVID. It was an unknown enemy to me, so I felt better arming myself with as much knowledge as I could, although this was rapidly changing. I also got involved in educational projects too for other junior doctors so they could cross skill.

After not long the silver lining of the COVID cloud started to appear, the traffic on the roads was getting lighter, my commute was shorter, companies were generously giving offers to NHS workers, most of all free parking at work! The small wins were making the situation less dire. Better still, work based assessments, exams and ARCP are all on hold! A bit of optimism always helps.

Seeing as birthdays, weddings and all the rest was cancelled, I thought what a great time to do all the things I wanted to previously, but was always ‘too busy’. I made a list, I wanted to start running, I couldn’t before as the roads were so busy, but that had changed. I didn’t want to time myself or monitor anything, I just wanted to enjoy it. Id listen to playlists on my phone and just enjoy the run (wasn’t fun the first time, lungs had a shock). The next project is learning Spanish, it’s not very Bueno right now, but hopefully that will change.

I feel like now I’m interacting with friends more than ever, I’ve downloaded Zoom and Houseparty, we have biweekly chats, ‘Cheese and Whine’ evenings and all without having to get dressed or wait for that 1 friend who is always late! Better still, friends seem to be aware that our work maybe stressful and I don’t feel guilty for spending 10 minutes saying I had a hard day for whatever reason.

Lastly my favourite topic, food. My middle class being was grieving the closure of ITSU and Pret a Manger, where would I source 70% of my meals from. I didn’t want to keep reaching for the comfort carbs during on calls as they overall make me feel a lot worse, but a good balance of nutrition and glutinous treats would be the best combination. I bought Joe Wicks Lean in 15 and some other quick recipe books, set a meal plan for the week, and did some batch cooking. Wholesome foods during the day with some treats dotted in between. Thank you to all the food schemes and companies for sending in meals and snacks keeping our stomachs filled.

This has been a big change for everyone, some have had to leave their homes and families,

others have had to cancel weddings. The news seems 95% depressing, the wins at work can feel few and far between and we may not have that date for when this will all be over. But one thing we can be certain of is that this will be over and until then pave ways to find a new balance in your life and keep working on your wellness and wellbeing, you must take care of yourself to take care of others.

Love Anne Esthetist

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