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Count your blessings in 2018…Measuring balance

ThinkGP founder Dr John Crimmins signs off for the year, urging us to take a few moments to reflect upon the gifts we have given and received through our work as healthcare professionals, and leaves us all with some sound advice to take with us into 2018.

  As we all approach the end of another year and head towards the week or so from December 25th there is a collective mix of anguish and exhilaration.

  These feelings are subjective and vary but most talk about ‘how fast Christmas has come’. ‘'Are you ready?’', ‘'What are you doing this year?’' - all questions compounding how the end of the year can feel like a pressure, not a pleasure point.

 Intellectually all of us know the calendar is arbitrary and there is no real end to a year but still there is a pressure that will occur to most of us. Followed by a release and relief.

  Let’s as a collective group of health care professionals look at how we might change our perception of these end of year feelings as these can in many cases lead to anxiety and even impact our mental wellbeing. The theory of tackling the end of the year is based on a very old saying of counting your blessings. Now we will add a new addition that says to count your blessings but ensure the balance is right. Giving out as many blessings as you receive.

 The blessing is a gift so it fits in well with a Christmas context. If coming up to this period you can take a few moments to see what gifts you have given and received it may help unwrap the mystery of the pre-festive emotions we openly or subliminally grapple with.

 A health professional of all stripes can easily identify the gifts we are often given. A patient often thanks us and we all know that buzz of feeling useful, appreciated and yes even important. All great gifts received but equally we give back usually to our detriment. Ringing that mum after surgery closes to check on the little one, taking extra time with a lonely elderly person as the waiting room overfills, staying open those extra hours for one patient, working rurally or taking call at the local hospital are some of the gifts we give back.

  The gifts we give and receive as a health care professional satisfy the balance as a professional but usually the balance of payments is in the red making burn out particularly risky at the end of the calendar year.

 In all this we may miss the perspective of us not as health professionals but as parents, partners, spouses, children, siblings and friends. It is here the balance of gifts puts us right back into double digit black. And this is the thing! It is this festive week where we get the highest concentration of the important blessings that come to us as people.

 So I want to thank each one of you for allowing me to share your internet via ThinkGP in 2017 and wish you all the blessings that this Christmas and New Year bring. Hug someone you love and have a restful break.

Jow KosterichDr John Crimmins
General Practitioner for over 25 years with a long experience in remote rural and city based practices. He is also consultant to Reed Medical and had a working experience in medical education. As an examiner for the RACGP and facilitator training, he maintains an ongoing contact with a large number of his colleagues. He has a particular passion for disabilities medicine and public health.