As I write this article, we are still living in a bizarre new normal in which the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how we shop, socialize, love, work, and live. I thought it pertinent to share my own personal experience with the Coronavirus, even if it is just a small whisper in the wind of an ongoing, ever changing phenomenon.
I became unwell on March 8th, 2020, much before the mass hysteria had swept North America. I woke up with body aches unlike any I had ever experienced in my life. I shooed it away as just a bit of the flu as I had a mild case with body aches and a bit of fatigue. I was sure, because I had not travelled nor had any contact with those who had, that I could not possibly have Coronavirus. As I recovered within 4 days, I was prepared to head back in to work to help. Helping is what I know, what I love, and what I do. “Of course I should go back,” I thought to myself, “I cannot cancel on people who have been waiting 4 weeks to get in.”
Quietly, there was a little voice inside of my head saying, “Could it be COVID?” I kind of ignored it and went on my way. I went so far as to shower, get dressed for work, and drive 30 minutes to the workplace for my first shift back after being away for 4 days. You see, I am a Psychologist and it is in my makeup to want to be there for my clients (and my kids and my friends and my husband and my parents and my community and the soccer club and you get the picture) and admittedly experience “guilt” when I have to cancel. I value each and every client who chooses to spend an hour with me and it guts me to have to cancel, even if it is at my own health’s expense.
When I pulled up behind my office, ready to face the day, the voice inside of me became so loud that I could no longer ignore it. I called the front desk from my car and asked them to cancel my day. I honoured my inner voice and drove back home.
Two days later, I received a positive diagnosis. What if I hadn’t listened? What if I had entered my office and exposed my colleagues and clients? Who were they going to go home to who may have been a member of an even higher risk population?
I write this because listening to our inner voice is something that many of us, particularly women who are genetically predisposed and socially conditioned to want to look after others, put ourselves second, third, or last, and “get on with it” are not doing enough of.
I think we all need to start listening to our inner voices. Realize we are worth it. Realize the more we listen to it, the more we discover the wisdom that lies within. We need to consider challenging societal, cultural, and work norms in which you “push through” and ignore the whisper. Tuning into that inner voice is not always easy, but the more we pause to try to connect with it, the louder it gets.
I realize this is a small piece of the larger COVID-19 pie and I am admittedly in no position as an epidemiologist, public health specialist, Medical Doctor, or any other area of specialization to provide a broad sweeping conclusion on how to proceed. I do ask of all of us two things:
1. Can we please listen to our inner voice? Let’s mute the critical voice so we can get quiet enough to honour and listen to our own needs. We don’t need to put ourselves on the last rung of the ladder. You are worth standing up for your own needs. It may feel uncomfortable (because it is unfamiliar), but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
2. I hope that we can all feel permission as we return to offices and places of work to take the day when we need it for physical or mental health reasons. You are worth it, and it may just benefit more than just you.
You Are Worthy.