When you feel yourself exposed with no protection. It can be a terrifying thing.

I was watching the news trying to keep abreast about the new developments relating to the COVD-19. Just then, there was a fellow family doctor being interviewed and she was speaking about how she had to see patients without personal protective equipment. It was not what she was saying that bothered me but how she was saying it. She was sat on a sofa and was very breathless. She could not make a complete sentence in one breath. It was heart wrenching. There, was my colleague struggling to do the most basic thing, breathe. I just started crying. I felt quite helpless.

After an hour of being upset, I decided to make a plan on how I could protect myself and my family. I could decide to take some time off work. Well, that was not a great option as it is did not suit my calling to be of help to others at this difficult time. The second thought was that of managing my sphere of influence by getting the personal protective equipment myself. So what I did was to go on the internet and ordered scrubs, work shoes, gloves, masks, aprons and hospital grade cleaning wipes. I decided not to watch the news but signed up to scientific conferences where the new findings of the coronavirus were discussed. This was not just to care for my physical health but my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Because I know that what you eat goes a long way to dictate your health and boost your immune system, I decided to check my refrigerator and store cupboard for vegetables, spices, herbs and supplements.

So 10 months passed, I lost friends, colleagues and patients and yes, I was scared especially as there were reports of increased severity among the Black and ethnic minority demographic. Though I implemented the safe distancing, hygienic practices, wearing masks, using disposable protective equipment, designated work clothes just at work and washing them at high temperature as soon as I got home, having a shower after every shift and having a hot drink of herbal soup… they were not the only protective factors.

While it is important that we protect ourselves physically, we need a holistic care including practices of gratitude, mindfulness, compassion and spiritual connection for all round wellness.

2020 did come as a surprise to many of us and while we may have lost people, things, opportunities or even freedom, we have seen more human connectedness, care, sacrifice and love.

As we go through the final days of 2020, let us leave the baggage that would not serve us. Pick up the lessons that will help us and the hope that will propel us.

Wishing you a fruitful 2021.