At our virtual Toastmasters meeting recently, my friend Uma presented an interesting speech about something I’d never heard of: ‘productive uncertainty’. It’s apparently a well-known concept in education, but given all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic over the past months, it also fits what I’ve been thinking about lately. . . . Continue reading “Productive uncertainty: beyond the sourdough”
“Don’t go to work when you feel sick! Stay home if you have symptoms!”
This sounds like plain old common sense advice when it comes from public health experts during a pandemic. Most people, however, WILL go to work sick if they don’t have employee benefits like paid sick leave. And among healthcare staff, we know that even those lucky enough to have a good benefit package will often go to work when they’re ill. Here’s why: . . . Continue reading ““Stay home if you feel sick!” – and why we don’t do that”
I’m often moved by the stories my readers share with me here. Most of them start with dramatic cardiac crises, with survival, with the sudden shock of learning what it means to become a “patient”, with the skilled cardiologists who saved them or the ones who misdiagnosed them. Others share personal hardships they’ve been enduring long before their first cardiac event ever occurred. At age 10, for example, Marie sat in her bathtub one day and counted 33 bruises on her small body, all caused by vicious beatings with a wire coat hanger at the hands of both her mother and sister.* In a family defined by alcoholism, violence and drug abuse, her siblings also suffered terribly. Two of her brothers became heroin addicts and died within months of each other.
Yet what truly struck me about Marie is that she tells her story without blame or resentment or self-pity. She points instead to what has helped her avoid her siblings’ fate. What Marie is quietly demonstrating is how she decided to create her own narrative identity. . . Continue reading “Does our narrative identity get better with age?”
If you’ve been feeling as stunned as I am by what’s been happening in the U.S. this past week, read this compelling call to action for all physicians and public health experts, originally published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by Harvard physicians Drs. Ingrid Katz and Abraar Karan: . .
I’ve heard it said that some people lose their appetite during stressful times. These people are not my relatives. Indeed, in our Ukrainian family tradition, we love food, and we eat when we’re happy, we eat when we’re upset, and we eat during all possible emotions in between.
So amid the stressful reality of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, stress eating in our family can mean only one thing: carbohydrate cravings. .
One thing is becoming clear as we pass the two-month milestone of our current COVID-19 global pandemic: I don’t like uncertainty.
I like feeling in charge of tomorrow’s plans. I like things that make sense to me. I like being pretty sure of what’s coming up next. But precious little certainty exists any more for me (or for anybody else – including those tiresome politicians pretending to know). I’m not sure of very much these days and by now, I’ve had enough of uncertainty.
But I do like the way psychotherapist Nancy Colier explained this level of pandemic uncertainty recently. She compared it to “hitting the wall” during the last few miles of running a 26.2-mile marathon. . .
Continue reading “The uncertainty of hitting that pandemic wall”