How to Protect Yourself From the Real Emotional Toll of the Pandemic
This week, I reached out to one friend who is taking his family to a resort and another who is spending the week traveling in warmer weather. These sorts of trips would have been unimaginable only a couple of months ago.
We’re at a weird crossroads. While infections are near all time highs, people are traveling more, going out to restaurants and many cite studies that question whether masks or quarantines play a significant role in the prevention of Covid spread. The President and Congress are talking about another round of significant stimulus and while thousands are still dying every day, many see a “light at the end of the tunnel” or are simply done sacrificing their day to day lifestyle after almost a year of altered living.
So, where does this leave us? Are we actually-as a society- kind of “over” this with life returning to normal is bigger chunks, no matter the infection rates? What does the possible stimulus mean to our practices? With people starting to spend their discretionary income, will they stop spending with us? Will the stimulus be another boom for our practices?
Obviously, nobody knows what the future will hold, but now is a great time to look at our lives and our practices and figure out ways we can “protect” ourselves.
I’ve written about saving 10% of every deposit into cash reserves so that you have solvency for a “rainy day” and rework you projections and your budget. Be strategic in your spending and develop a technology plan that makes sense in this odd times. But “protection” extends to much more than just the monetary. It’s the psychological and emotional side of life to which I am referring.
Develop and nourish your support network. You are not alone, but isolation like we’ve been through can help one feel like they are cut off from the rest of the world. Don’t underestimate the impact of this pandemic on your spirit. I’m a pretty positive-minded, “can-do” kind of a guy but even I have found myself in dour moods, filled with negativity for short periods of time until I recognized it for what it was and “snapped out of it”.
In many ways, my life has been a lot like the movie Groundhog Day, where I wake up and essentially follow exactly the same routine, day after day, night after night. Wake up, workout, go to work, come home, see family, go to sleep…wake up, workout, go to work, come home, see family, go to sleep…you get the idea.
Always remember that we have a network of peers from all over the world in our Facebook group and you’re never alone. While many have lambasted social media for the arguments it has created and the friendships it has destroyed and the fights it has fueled, I cannot imagine what it would have been like without my peers and I connecting over the last 11 months.
Last week, a couple dozen of us from the OrthopreneursRD met in Miami for an annual mastermind session. Sure, the tips we shared for practice growth, profitability and management were useful, but seeing all of my friends nourished my soul. You don’t realize what you’re missing until it’s taken away and when you’re used to seeing ortho friends 4-5 times/year and then it’s suddenly gone, the void it leaves is real. You MUST make an active choice to reach out to others and connect.
Send a note or message to a friend. Call a family member with whom you haven’t spoken in a while. Connect with someone with whom you are estranged. A simple “hi” can make someone else’s day and even more importantly, feed your soul. Never forget that the gift is always for the giver. AND REMEMBER THAT IF YOU NEED HELP, IT’S 100% OK TO REACH OUT AND ASK FOR IT. ALWAYS.
Orthodontists make a difference in the lives of patients in both good and bad economic times. We don’t know where the future is headed, but if we come together to help each other with ideas and support, we’ll all have amazing practices both during and after the Covid Pandemic and more importantly, come out of this as better people and healthier lives than we went in.
Wishing you all the best!!!