'Tis The Season
The Christmas season represents the messiness of being a human more than any other time of year. It's all about peace and joy; bright and shiny; comfort and togetherness. At the very same time, it amplifies the suffering of many - loss, pain, grief, loneliness, shame, trauma. Even for those of us that look forward to this time of year, it can leave us feeling a bit empty if we aren't careful, as though something is missing. The part that isn't missing for most of us is stress. Just look up Christmas stress and you'll find lots of reasons why and lots of tips how to minimize it over the holidays. For many, it's the external pressures leading to internal turmoil. Even too much "Merry" can lead to too much stress.
In a recent tweet thread from Dr. Natalie Silvey, she talks about what she's learned from going through a hard patch in life and she makes some great points. One of those points we wanted to highlight was reaching out to someone when you know they might be going through a 'hellish time' as she puts it. Can you think of a time when you were struggling and someone just said "hey, I'm here if you need me" If you can't, what do you think it would feel like to receive such a gesture when things look bleak and stormy?
We can both think of instances when a colleague chose to reach out and another one chose not to reach out. It really stings to have a colleague, a fellow medical professional, walk past you with an obvious injury or illness and not just ask a simple "how are you?", or go a step further to offer help if needed. You don't forget these times, but alternatively, you remember the times when a colleague offered to take your night of call because they knew you were walking a dangerous line between coping and not.
Yes 'tis the season, for some it's holly and jolly, and others not so much. It might in fact be the best time of the year to look past the tinsel and bows to say to one another and ourselves, "we see you and we want you to know you matter and are enough just as you are".
“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~ Matt Haig