Christmas is great isn't it? I love Christmas, but those of you who know me well, know that I can't bear to hear the 'C' word before the 1 Dec (at the earliest). Thank you, Liz W., Occupational Therapist, who teased me out of it by sending me FB pictures of Will Farrell as 'Elf' holding a card showing the number of Fridays till Christmas! They really did make me laugh.
It's the over-commercialisation of Christmas, the squeezing of too many quarts of jobs into a pint pot that stresses me. I love being with my wonderful family and friends and giving gifts, decorating the house, cooking lovely food and entertaining, but when you throw in all the other things like school Christmas carol services, end of term rugby matches and end of term coursework deadlines, trying to replace a broken boiler (brrrrr) and mix that with my Care4Health work – tenders (which always seem to be due immediately before or immediately after Christmas (or immediately before or during summer holidays), face to face mandatory training, business development projects for the following year, trying to get more (service) from less (smaller margins), writing cards to my locums, staff holiday leave, marketing, etc. I have to admit that I feel the pressure building up steadily to the point where I feel like I am spread too thinly like too little butter on too much bread. Christmas is a marathon time of year. I know what I have to do, but every year it feels like it gets bigger and bigger.
You know when you get those texts and emails from me that say, "I need your help. My client is desperate for an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist or Radiographer, etc." - they are real. When I feel seriously under pressure all I have to do is think about the hospital staff struggling to keep a service going with budget constraints and reduced staffing levels and that motivates me to pull out all the stops to find just the right locum worker. I have a real empathy with them because that is often what we're like here. We are constantly trying to find better and more creative ways to provde a better and better service for our locums and clients from smaller and smaller margins.
For the record, I love Christmas, and I love my job, and I know I’m lucky to enjoy them both. If you think I'm having a moan, you're probably right, but my best friend often says, "Opinions/feelings are like bottoms. We all have them."
I want to leave you with my wish for you this holiday time. It is this – that you make an opportunity to step back from the hustle and bustle of everything going on around you and enjoy whatever it is that matters most to you, whether it's spending time with family, friends, pets, helping out with your favourite charities or just being. I hope that in that one moment you will think how lucky you are to be doing what you're doing.
Have a great weekend - even if it is Christmas shopping or untangling your Christmas lights.