The entire World is united against a common foe – Covid19 – which has swiftly caused death, illness, stretched health services, created huge economic and social change affecting countries, business and individuals with immediate effects.
It was Easter Sunday. I was in my study alone with my thoughts. I had walked in my garden and listened to the birds, felt the sun rising, appreciated my surroundings. I meditated as per normal and socially distanced myself from any news outlet. But this Easter Sunday was different - for the first time in 44 years there was no sound of children or grandchildren in the home. The silence profound all around me and would remain so for some time. I miss the physical presence of them, the ability to hug in a difficult situation and reassure. As a father, grandfather and doctor I felt helpless. I see no one walking the street outside my home, no cars pass, I see my elderly neighbour in his bedroom window and we exchange a wave. He is 90 , his wife 92 and they have long term ill health - I see his fear.
In a medical career spanning 47 years, 30 as a registered specialist in industrial medicine, I have never met a disease with this impact and ferocity. Even as I write this blog we are learning more about the nature, actions and effects of Covid19. As yet we have no treatment and no vaccine and across the globe medical and nursing personnel are trying tested and new techniques.
It is my opinion that the current impact of Covid19 will last for some time for significant groups in our societies and potentially reoccur with either a resurgence of this virus or other such viruses in subsequent years. We as individuals can choose either to wait in fear of contracting the illness or take control of our personal risks and circumstances. If this is to be the case then we need to understand the risk factors that can potentially be modified to reduce the risks and severity of periods of isolation, the potential impacts upon our physical and mental health and the actions we can take as individuals, managers and businesses to reduce immediate risk but, most importantly, actions that can be taken to improve our resilience.
The state of fluctuating stress that social isolation causes can have extreme detrimental effects on a person's mental, emotional and even physical health. Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, has co-authored a meta-analysis of recent studies and found that a lack of robust social connections can raise one's health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or misusing/abusing alcohol -- that's twice as much as obesity's impact would be. So, how individuals and organisations respond to this current pandemic is crucial for all of us.
I have worked with businesses and individuals over many years helping them to build resilience, below is a link to a webinar I delivered recently. In the webinar I share tried and tested approaches to help improve your resilience by:
Briefly outlining the health issues around Covid19
Defining why and how you are feeling currently
Demonstrating ways in which you can improve your personal feelings and health
Some tips for home working and new family life
You are not alone in the way you are currently feeling but there is so much that can be done individually and collectively. Life has changed so quickly and by taking note of the help and advice in this webinar you will deal better now and it will prepare you for challenges ahead.
The quote I like best that might help right now is:
‘It will all be alright in the end, if it’s not alright, then it is not the end!’
Dr David C Batman. MSC. MB. ChB. FFOM Consultant Occupational Health Physician
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