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Many colleagues — in health care, education, journalism, politics, community advocacy — have similarly been working non-stop since the pandemic began. I’ve seen some comments, “What does taking a break mean? Asking for a friend.”
What does it look like, or feel like, when we finally pause after so many months, so many sleepless nights, so many challenging days?
One week ago, I closed my office door, turned off my phone and disconnected from the Internet for the first time in this pandemic. My staff and I haven’t taken a real break in 16 months. Practising the self-care that I encourage for my patients, I carved out this time for us to rest…
I am on holiday, enjoying a short break from clinical work, but the pandemic timeline continues. I am exhausted, but I am also energized by the incredible colleagues I’ve met through advocacy. Between 1796 and now, we have eradicated diseases and saved lives not only because of advances in vaccine science, but also because of all the people who fought to support publicly funded health care, who studied epidemiology, who analyzed health inequalities. Our innovative medicines are most successful if we communicate effectively with our patients, and our public health strategies are most successful if they build on relationships of trust.
This pandemic is not yet over. We must continue to mask and encourage those who are eligible to get their shots. However, I hope that each person who has cared for others, who has advocated for community, who has put their own desires aside for the good of the population, enjoys some well-deserved rest.
Read the full article in Ottawa Citizen.
Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, MD, CCFP, PhD, is a family doctor and anthropologist who writes about health policy and politics. She co-hosts a podcast, Rx:Advocacy.ca