Stay Safe

It’s all in the timing!

In the last 17 years I have treated many patients after and accident. There are usually a few fundamental coincidences and they are all connected through timing.  

There is never a right time to have an accident. Many patients who I have treated after an automobile accident are usually in a period of their lives when they have so many things they are juggling. Work, work projects, deadlines, coordinating a demanding family schedule, holidays, illness, etc., it will start to pile up time to time in all our lives. When this is put upon us our immediate response is to feel overwhelmed (to various degrees), and we pre-occupy our minds to a higher level of intensity and with longer time periods so that we can combat the stress. We are trained to think our way out of things and that we are the only ones in this large universe that can do it. Solve, solve and solve immediately so we can focus on the next thing to solve is our battle cry! This state of mind is the usual coincidence of an accident.

I have not said that a stressed and a preoccupied mind is the cause of an accident but a coincidence. I will also say theses accidents are not always directly caused by the person who is stressed. Many times I have taken a history of a patient who has injuries of an automobile accident and it was not their faults, but they are usually in a very stressed and demanding period in their lives. Accidents will happen to us sometimes anyway and it may not be our direct fault. Yet, I see a connection after 17 years as a doctor.

“Having an accident is the last thing you see coming and it is the last thing you need when you are busy/preoccupied/overwhelmed/stressed.”  

I will not tell you that you should stop feeling overwhelmed and to clear your mind because that will not help you, nor is it a useful thing for me to say. We cannot help the way we feel and we cannot control the details of life that come to us. However, we can give ourselves S P A C E.  I define this word space for the sake of this blog as, the act of strategically finding a way to get a better footing/view/perspective as well as finding areas in the day to give ourselves time to check in to how we are feeling.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Allow yourself more time to get to places. This will allow any extraneous circumstances to happen without affecting you. It will lower your stress of being late and it will to be more cautious. Most lateness is caused by leaving late.
  2. Wake up a little earlier and give yourself more time to get ready. The best part of the day to control our schedule is in the morning. Read something you enjoy, watch videos or find a place where your only job is to enjoy YOUR TIME.
  3. If you leave late or are running late, be OK with it. You are driving a large piece of metal at high speeds and your safety and others safety is way more important than being late. I have the hardest time with this one. I hate being late and worrying about it never helps. I have started to allow myself  to be late and about 80% of the time it just works out beautifully. Remember perspective is the key to Okayness!
  4. Use the transition times of your day to check in with yourself. Before you do the next thing stop for a moment and check in with yourself. My good friend David S. will smell his soap before he showers. It is a small way to check in. Before you leave a place, stop and see how you feel. Do you have to go to the bathroom? Are you aware you are a breathing being? Slow down to take the time for the small details of your next transition. It only takes a few seconds!
  5. I tell my regular busy patients to keep a pad of paper and a pen in their cars and on their night stand. Getting those last few ideas down saves you from the worry of remembering when you need to in the future. When you try to hold onto the details of the future and try to function at your best levels it can be too much. Why burden yourself in the ideal of “I better/hope to remember to do this tomorrow.” Not worth it! Jot it down.
  6. Remember, when you leave work you are no longer at work. Jot down the thoughts you want to remember for work tomorrow in the car before you go home. Do not put the keys into the ignition first. Sit in the car, breath allow the stress to process. Then you must consider that you will now be a parent, significant other, brother, sister, son, daughter, pet lover, TV watcher, and/or person. Do that job well. Do not carry the day into your night. One thing at a time!
  7. Super-Bonus-Gold-Star!  Do your best, do not judge or criticize yourself, let the universe do its job, get out of the way, pat yourself on the back, get adjusted/massaged/pedimani’d/accupunctured, let the small things fall apart, disappoint others and see their worth, and remember that our time is short and the universe can take care of most things!

Yours in health,

Dr. McCall