Look after yourselves

Karen Middleton urges physiotherapy workers to consider their own wellbeing and that of those around them 

Look after yourselves CSP CEO Karen Middleton

I think all of us will have seen the very best and the very worst of human behaviour over the last few weeks while dealing with this pandemic, but, on the whole, the health and care system has witnessed only the very best as people step up and ‘lean in’ to deal with it. I know from the direct and indirect contact I  have had with members that, despite the horrendous pressure of exploding demand, insufficient staff, lack of the right kit, cancelling patients and businesses having to close down, the world of physiotherapy is stepping up. I would expect nothing less.

Everyone in every sector is going the extra mile right now and moving out of  or stretching their comfort zone. I applaud you all, but this is not without cost to your livelihoods, your family life  and possibly your health. There is much that is out of your control right now and even your influence, but you can try and control the impact this is all having on your health and wellbeing and that of others – and I don’t mean the impact of the virus.

There is all sorts of advice about staying resilient out there, but looking after our physical and mental health is critical. We know this stuff and we tell our patients about it but do we abide by it ourselves? I urge you to get enough rest, to eat properly, exercise and stay hydrated – all within the guidance about social distancing and  self-isolation, of course.  Visit: Taking care of your mental health

I also urge you to stay connected by  whatever means possible. As human beings, we need relationships and we need other human contact but working from home, virtual consultations, social distancing and self-isolation mean this is really difficult. Look out for each other, notice changes in behaviour and be kind.

As an experienced leader, I am used to criticism and, in many ways, am paid to take it, but when I see members attacking other members for decisions they have made or opinions they have expressed, I despair. Disagreement is fine, but how you disagree requires thought and moderation. Start with the assumption that everyone is doing their best under the most difficult circumstances, particularly as we don’t always know what those circumstances are. Think before passing judgement.

So thank you for all you are doing right now to deal with this pandemic. Look after yourselves and remember that some good will come out of this crisis – it always does.

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