Welcome to Week 15 of the Weekly Balance! And of course, Happy Easter to you all! I hope you’ve all got your favourite Easter egg ready for this weekend – I have my dark chocolate Lindt egg in my cupboard waiting for me when I get home from work later today. I know it’s not the Easter that we would all have planned for ourselves, but we do need to make the best of the situation we’re in, and remember, you can still enjoy your Easter chocolate while staying home!
What went on in my doctor life…
We are of course still extremely busy in public health, and I’d imagine we will continue to be for quite some time. The COVID-19 pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and as I write this, I’m enjoying a second day off in a row. Having worked 11 days straight with one day off in between, I was very much looking forward to a bit of rest. It’s funny – usually in public health my day job runs from Monday to Friday, and doesn’t include weekends for the most part. However, given that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, obviously the weekends have been like weekdays for quite some time now. So I tend to get a bit confused as to what day it is! I’m very proud of the teamwork going on in my department. It’s been a challenging time for everyone, especially those working across the healthcare sector, and we really are giving our best efforts every single day. As I usually do in these weekly blog posts, I’d likely to take this opportunity to encourage every single one of you to help us to help you. Please stay up to date on the COVID-19 situation via your local health authority and follow the public health advice given. I’ll direct you to the following websites below – which is for you will depend on your nationality and place of residence, but I’ve included those for Irish, UK and USA folks, plus the World Health Organisation which applies to us all:
- The Irish Health Service Executive (https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/)
- The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (https://www.hpsc.ie/)
- The World Health Organisation (https://www.who.int/)
- The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/home)
- Public Health England (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england)
- NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/)
- The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/)
Stay home. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save more and more lives every single day.
What I’m thinking about…
How grateful I am for every day that is an okay, or a good, day. I’ve had a pretty rough week between how busy work is and things going on at home, and it’s really reminded me how critical it is in the current situation to literally take life day by day. All we really have for certain is the present moment. And if that’s a moment where we have our health, our family, our friends, the ability to get up in the morning with shelter over us and food in the fridge, things we look forward to every day, hobbies we enjoy, a smile on our face – that’s a pretty frickin’ great moment. I want to live that moment rather than stress myself out over the uncertainty of moments to come.
I heard this quote during the week on a podcast and it has stuck with me since – ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.’ I’m sure many of you have heard that quote before, as have I, but it really stuck with me this week. There are a few things we can maintain control over in life in the present pandemic, while there are far, far more aspects of life we cannot even predict for certain, never mind have control of. So I’m repeating to myself ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it’ instead of ruminating on the what ifs and maybes. Give it a try – I hope you find that mantra as helpful as I have.
What I’m reading…
This week I finished Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. This was quite possibly one of the most unusually written books I have ever read (for a start, it has no full stops!). And I loved it. Girl, Woman, Other is a fiction novel which follows the lives of 12 characters, most of whom are black British women. Their lives are separate and yet intertwine during the course of the novel, as each chapter tells their story. That’s what book does – it tells stories. Stories of struggle, stories of love, stories of the experience of racial prejudice, stories of connection, and so much more. The 12 characters are each very different – their struggles align in parts, while diverging in others. The book touches on so many issues – feminism, race, gender, sexuality, love, and also highlights the challenges of living a life society views as ‘unconventional.’ I don’t want to say too much more without giving anything away! One thing I will mention is that I did find it hard to get stuck into this book for the first few pages, but I think that was me getting used to the style of writing and layout (you’ll get what I mean if you read it!) Definitely one I would recommend – it stays with you after you finish it, and did leave me with a smile as I turned the last page.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My next books on the list are – Nudge and American Dirt on my bedside table, plus The Imposter Cure on the way. I’ve also ordered Man’s Search For Meaning! I started with American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins last night and am hooked already!
What I’m listening to…
I’m gonna give my own podcast (The Irish Balance Podcast) a shout out this week and highlight a new excellent episodes (with excellent guests!) live! The first is Episode 37 with GP Dr. Laura Lenihan and Dr. Clíodhna Ní Bhuachalla (who is a specialist in microbiology and public health doctor too) – we chat all things COVID-19, particularly discussing the spread of the virus, pregnancy and the key steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our loved ones. You can listen in here!
I was also delighted to see that the High Low Podcast has returned! I love this podcast – it always makes me snort with laughter and it’s great to see hosts Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes back recording.
Recipe of the Week
My recipe of the week has got to be my Dark Chocolate and Blueberry Brownies. Hopefully you’ve all managed to get your hands on some Easter chocolate – this brownie recipe is a great one to use up some of that delicious Easter egg! The recipe also packs a secret ingredient – you’ll see what it is when you give the recipe a try!
And that’s a wrap folks! I really hope you enjoyed this week’s episode – as always, get in touch and let me know if you do. One of my favourite parts of the week is sitting down to write The Weekly Balance article. Have yourselves a lovely Easter and a healthy new week ahead. Stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and keep your distance!
Ciara 🙂 x