Why I Decided to Take A Covid 19 Break

A covid break? During covid? How can this be posible?

Hi 👋🏿, I’m Dr. Samantha Johnson currently a practicing doctor in Jamaica. It has been over one year since the start of the pandemic and even with the creation of vaccines Covid 19 doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere- so how can I be taking a covid 19 break?

Taking a break isn’t about me pretending that the virus doesn’t exist, or ignoring protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing. No way, I support and encourage safety and precaution measures 100%.

Since the start of the pandemic I have had some exposure to covid 19 because of work, most times it’s direct and rarely indirect. Because of my job alone- I can’t avoid covid even if I tried. However since March 2020 we have been consuming covid 19 related news and statistics everyday, it’s the first thing on our lips and we spend hours in person and on social media talking about covid 19.

The truth is I’m burnt out.

Some days my life is consumed by the pandemic for 24 hours. I get up go to work and work with potential covid patients, on social media many of the posts are covid related and then going home and texting? Covid 19. That’s a lot to take in and I’ve had multiples of these days. So I’m taking a covid 19 break.

Outside of working directly with potential covid 19 patients I want limited exposure to covid 19. I resist obsessively following the numbers. I limit my conversations as well. A major area of burn out for me was constantly talking about the pandemic all day everyday.

This break is about acknowledging that covid 19 exists, that it is a very serious virus and prevention is key… but also that an almost obsessive focus on the virus can lead to fatigue and burn out.

So sorry friends- I don’t want to discuss the numbers, I don’t want to discuss how you think vaccines should be given, I don’t want to discuss how you think the government is doing and I don’t want to interact with these types of posts on social media and I won’t be making any either.

It might sound bizarre, a healthcare worker taking a covid 19 break. I put it to you that for healthcare workers especially we need a break as we tend to bring home the work with us. I already have one friend who messaged me in solidarity and said they’re taking one too!

The point of a covid 19 break isn’t to ignore covid 19, pretend it doesn’t exist or break the protocols, no. It is about giving yourself time to recoup from over 12 months of nonstop covid related work, conversation and even panic. I still get major news developments but I’m not obsessively consuming information or talking about the virus 24/7.

How long will this break last? It’s already been about a month for me and I’ve already starting to feel better. The hardest part has been not taking work home, especially the sad parts. Taking a deliberate decision to decrease my constant exposure to covid related news and conversations has done wonders for my anxiety, quality of sleep and overall well-being.

Interested in what I’ve said? Here are some specific steps on how I take a covid 19 break.

  • Limit conversations or length of conversations surrounding covid 19

  • Limit interaction with covid 19 posts online Only get major updates on covid 19, weekly vs daily stats, major updates re protocols and vaccination and avoid online discussions

  • Be clear with friends and family regarding not wanting to have prolonged conversations about covid 19

  • Do other things that bring me joy and peace- read books, practice my hobby, write

  • Spend time with and pamper myself

    What do you think about taking a covid 19 break?

    Samantha C. Johnson

 


Samantha C. Johnson The Layman’s Doctor: Bringing Medicine Home with articles, podcasts and videos all aimed at making medicine more accessible to all.

Samantha C. Johnson The Layman’s Doctor: Bringing Medicine Home with articles, podcasts and videos all aimed at making medicine more accessible to all.

 

 

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