Change is inevitable, but sometimes, it can really knock you off your feet. When the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, everyone was forced to make a change and create a ‘new normal’.
Wearing a mask, more regular handwashing and working from home became the new normal for many across the world. For the global medical industry, change meant stepping up (again), innovating and taking on new challenges.
On a personal level, big changes can be difficult to come to terms with, but your experience of change can be altered depending on how you manage the situation. Tackling change in a positive way and being proactive in creating your new normal leads to a better life.
Psychiatry registrar and Medrecruit locum Dr Darryl-Lee Prince has noticed how her temperament and focus on mastery in medicine can interfere with her focus on self-care.
“Once I understood that if I don’t look after myself I am hopeless at helping others without burning out, I made some radical changes to put my health and wellbeing as a priority.”
She says her personal health and wellbeing “very rarely comes before work”, but has found that it can be incorporated into her every day.
“Fortunately, in child psychiatry it is often beneficial to practice what you preach.”
Dr Darryl-Lee works in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the Auckland (New Zealand) region. She says that two of the biggest changes which presented challenges in her life were her pregnancy and the initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic. At both times, she felt the need to step up her commitment to personal health and wellbeing.
Her commitment to a ‘new normal’ during these times involved small, but key changes to her work and life schedule. She balanced focussed work with mental breaks, practiced mindfulness meditation at work and ensured she was connecting with colleagues.
“I made a routine that allows me to make time for everything I need to do, making small changes and constantly reflecting on this.”
“It’s about maintaining good habits, whilst working hard – nutrition and a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise and activities. And balancing getting out of the office and the house to spend time with family and friends.”
Positive change and innovation Dr Darryl-Lee’s other positive change habits include inviting joy and humour into the environment, and weekly self-reflection and appraisal.
It means that whatever life throws at Dr Darryl-Lee, she’s ready to adapt in a positive way. Work always comes first for Darryl-Lee, but it’s what she lives for: “The myriad of challenges provoke learning and continued development that keep one young at heart and mind. Knowing that through many interventions I can make a difference, initiate effective change, and enhance mental health and resilience without stigma for children, adolescents, and their families/whanau through contribution as part of a multidisciplinary team, is exhilarating and job satisfying.”
“I enjoy the privilege of being in child psychiatry and the bright, overarching attitude this enjoyment manifests in me.”
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