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A few weeks ago, I did something out of character:

I got sick. So sick, in fact that I was forced to close the Quincy Hearing clinic and cancel my appointments with a couple of patients. Something I haven’t done a single time since I bought the practice four years back.

I was loathe to do it. After all, I love my work and and my patients. And I pride myself on being reliable, caring and respectful of the time of those that depend on me. But with a skyrocketing fever, achy body and sniffles that just wouldn’t go away, it had to be done.

Still, I was surprised. I’m usually a very healthy person. And on the rare occasions that sickness does hit, it’s usually come and gone by the end of the weekend.

Why was this time different? And then it hit me. A principle that I preach constantly but, like all of us, often struggle to practice. In my eagerness to please and care for the people around me, I hadn’t been taking enough time to take care of myself.

It’s a central tenet of my philosophy for healthcare providers — and really for everyone — that in order to be able to do the utmost for the people we serve, we first need to practice a little self-care.

For me and my husband Phil in 2018, this care took a lot of different forms: We consciously carved out moments for rest and reflection. We began eating a cleaner, healthier diet and we strove to incorporate regular physical activity into our day-to-day.

As we turn the page into 2019, I’m happy to say that we largely succeeded in our goals.

I feel healthier today than I have in years, with a clarity of purpose that empowers and enriches my life with joy and meaning.

But like I said, I got sick. So obviously I didn’t do perfect! Sometimes sickness is unavoidable, but in this case, I think it was. You see, I’d lapsed for a few weeks on my physical activity.

I’d gone into full workaholic mode and began to neglect my quiet time. When I came down with that severe cold, it was a wake-up call. A reminder that as much as I love and value my work. I have to pump the brakes every once in awhile and make space for my own mental and physical health.

I see the same thing with my patients all the time, especially those that are new to my practice. Whether they’re bending over backwards for the loved ones or just going through the motions. Disconnected and isolated in their own lives. They’re not seeking the care they need to feel engaged and joyful.

If there’s one resolution I wish all my readers would commit to in 2019, it’s to recognize and address their own needs rather than sweep them under the rug.

Obviously as an audiologist, I believe that it means valuing your sense of hearing and seeking treatment for it if needed. But hopefully it goes even further than that, nudging you into a more connected, happy, whole existence.

My own 2019 resolution is to focus in on the relationships and communities that make life worth living goes right along with that.

Because ultimately, isn’t connection what we’re all looking for?

In the meantime, I wish all my readers a happy New Year! Here’s hoping we all can continue to learn and grow in the coming months.