don’t let the turkeys get you down

Posted by Stephanie Ahlborn on

A Note from Dr. Kathryn Dundas

I don’t remember where this saying originated from, other than that I had a notepad when I was in elementary school that my mom gave me (or maybe I took it off her desk 🤷🏼‍♀️🤔) that had this cartoon by Sandra Boynton on it: 

Even at 10 years old I took this to heart - and apparently, I needed to, otherwise why would I have snagged it off mom’s desk? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Which brings me to this. We are all currently surrounded by A LOT of turkeys. Some we didn’t realize were turkeys until COVID hit. That goes for us as healthcare workers, but includes everyone and anyone who interacts with others - humans can be turkeys.

So, what do I do to not let these turkeys get me down? Well, you might laugh - my tricks are not for everyone, but I actually found fun in finding my “tricks”.

Waking up early. During COVID I started waking up 30 minutes earlier, even though I was working longer and harder hours, to READ in solitude. And by read, I mean anything not related to work. I’ve found my love of books again, and look forward to having a moment of peace and quiet with my coffee. And no, I am not a morning person, so it was difficult to start. But once I got going, I was hooked.

My most recent trick is, wait for it…..

The rebounder. I take 5 minutes of my day to jump on the rebounder I keep under the stairs, and look like a complete goof ball doing it (and yes, in my scrubs!). I do scissor kicks, twists, jumping jacks, and sometimes the cat tries to join me! All in all, it’s 5 minutes of movement and hilarity, I always end up laughing at some point.

Working on brain games before bed. During COVID, learning about the neurotrophic effects of the virus, plus turning 50 and knowing the increased risk of females for Alzheimer’s, I decided that this was something I needed to do before bed. Some people will gasp that I take my phone to bed, and gasp that I have blue light going - however, I look at it as benefit vs harm. This helps me get my brain “off-line”. It enables my mind to hop off the hamster wheel (created by the turkeys of the day!) and get into the zone. I personally love the app PEAK, and will do the daily workout. It takes about 10 minutes, and sometimes if I need a little extra, I’ll play a solitaire game for speed (yes on my phone). I find that I fall asleep right away, as I’ve derailed any Turkey Effect, and that is worth it for me.

Art. I have an art practice that is my form of meditation. It allows me to reconnect with myself and slow down, my version of self-care and expression. It’s also a great way for me to process my days - it works like a meditation for me. If you aren’t artistic, maybe just have fun and see what you can do? So many things are offered virtually now for instruction. 

Walking. This is a big one for me now. Something low intensity. I’ve given up doing boxing or HITT workouts. Maybe one day I’ll return to it, but right now, my body needs gentleness. It doesn’t need me cranking it up - I’m already cranked. Low-intensity movement helps me to relieve stress from the day, connect with nature, and is made even better when it’s a “walk and talk” with a non-Turkey. I encourage you to take some time for something low intensity and add in a little walking, yoga, or meditation if for you hard intense exercise helps keep you sane!

For those of us in healthcare I focus on these things while working:

At the clinic: Showing appreciation and gratitude in any way I can. Sharing little things like bringing in coffee, sharing funny videos or GIFS (like the above Rebounder) to lighten the mood, or bringing a bit of hilarity into an environment that is so the opposite. Perhaps a video of me on my rebounder would be even better…

With patients: After difficult patients, it can be nice to have a team huddle to keep everyone on track and confirm that we do have value. We stand and we support each other, as those turkeys can be heavy after a while. We try to ensure we have each other's back and do a regroup when needed, a call out of either “What can I do to help you?” or “Hey, we have to turn our energy around” as it starts to get contagious. If we are able to help each other and pull each other up vs push each other down, that is something. Even more so, noticing when one of us is being pushed down and reaching to pull them up. If we don’t have the energy to as we’ve been doing it for far too long, that’s ok too - but voice it. Speak up so someone will hear you, and you may be surprised who will reach out and help pull you up. 

Remember, not everyone is a turkey.

We Got This,

Dr. Kathryn Dundas + The Formation Team

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'tis the season for giving

'tis the season for giving

This holiday season, help give a healthcare worker the gift of formation scrubs! 🎁

We believe in the power of collective action, which is why we created the Pay It Forward program.  

The program allows individuals, businesses, or organizations to give the gift of the scrubs, without needing to purchase a pair. Through community donations, this program facilitates the purchase of a pair of scrubs for a health care worker through anonymous donations. 

Just like finding out at the drive-through window that the kind soul ahead of you has bought your meal, a health care worker will be surprised at the checkout on our website with a message that lets them know someone has already paid for their set of scrubs.

Our hope is that this kind gesture by community members and customers will bring a smile and moment of joy to our health care workers who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines. 

Recognizing your commitment to supporting formation’s community of health care workers, and all that they do to keep us safe and healthy, is important to us. Without the generous contribution from sponsors like you, our Pay It Forward program would not be possible.

Have a healthy and happy holiday!

We got this,

- the formation team

5 tips for handling holiday stress

5 tips for handling holiday stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be one of the most stressful times for healthcare workers. 

Healthcare does not rest during the holiday season, and as you know, work often gets busier. On top of an overloaded work schedule and increased personal commitments, we’re entering into the time of year that has shorter, darker, colder days. Now more than ever, it’s essential to take care of your mental and physical health.

These five tips can help you to manage stress during the next few weeks, and make the most of  the holiday season:

       1) Plan What You Can

While planning ahead is always a good idea, it’s important to remember that there are some things that are out of your control. Planning ahead can help you visualize your work shifts, holiday activities, and obligations you’ve committed. It’s okay to say no when you feel overwhelmed or overburdened, keep a calendar to help you decide which ones you will truly enjoy.

       2) Be Realistic

As we enter into the season of giving, remember that you give every day in your job - your time, your care, and your patience. While giving in and outside of work can help you feel happiness, it can also lead to burnout. It's important to know your limits. Keeping a realistic approach to the season and what you can take on both personally and professionally can help you manage expectations for the winter months.

       3) Make a List (& Check it Twice)

With so much going on, the last thing you want to do is lose track of time and feel overwhelmed with everything you need to accomplish. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to do, make a list (or two) and check off each task as you complete it. Making a list of professional and personal to-dos, ideas for holiday shopping, or writing down goals for the month will help you keep on top of everything.

       4) Savour the Season

With so much going on, remember to take a step back away from it all and enjoy the charm of the season. Throw on a Christmas playlist, make a cup of hot chocolate, and take a walk around your neighbourhood to look at the lights. 

       5) Remember to Rest

The holiday season brings more stress, more work and more travel, which typically means less rest. On top of taking on extra personal obligations, it’s also the peak of cold and flu season, so its extra important to rest and take extra measures to stay healthy. Keeping active, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest will be essential for keeping your mental health and immune system strong.

Remember you are never alone, ask for help and support when you need it, and recognize the signs of burnout. Our library has multiple resources to support your mental and emotional wellness. 

Give yourself the gift of mental and physical health this holiday season. We’re in this together!

We got this,

- the formation team