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  • Dr. Lalit Chawla

E#44: Why People Step Up in Tough Times: The Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic


This is a special episode to discuss Why (and how) people step up in making a decision, in hard times.

What Should I Do? To go or not to go?


(This is the core of the transcript from the podcast. The Intro has been removed and some areas improved for reading ease.)



One question or statement that many people ask doctors, nurses or anyone that work in health care is, "I could never do what you do. How do you deal with traumatic events and such intense situations?" If you are in healthcare, I'm sure you've heard that question? I'll share with you one reason why people think they couldn't deal with challenging situations by sharing a scary personal story I had during my medical training as a young doctor when I was in my residency/internship. I think this helps put some perspective with what we all are dealing with currently and in our lives.

"God, please do not let me drop any baby, please guide me through this obstetrical rotation."

On the first day in the hospital, the nurse saw me in the hallway and said "Dr.Chawla, Dr. Chawla, come here quickly; we need a doctor! The attending doctor is en route to the hospital but this patient is delivering the baby, and we need you now, and she's hysterical. She's a first-time mom.

'well, I'm a first-time doctor, so there are a lot of firsts happening here tonight.'

So I was sweating; however, when I walked into the room, the patient was frantic, and the nurse said to the worried patient, "don't worry, the doctor is here now." I then introduced myself, "Hi, I'm Dr. Chawla I know you're nervous- now let's take some nice deep breaths in and out, in and out, and I did it with her. And nurse Karen then gives me two thumbs up and whispered, "that's great." Little did nurse Karen know I was talking to myself! And later nurse Karen said "that is great Dr. Chawla; you really know how to calm a patient down." and I thought to myself that wasn't for the patient that was for me ... that's not exactly what happened, but I knew that I had to be calm in that situation because panicking wasn't going to serve anybody.

at some point in our training, whether it's a conscious choice or unconscious choice, we all have decided to be calm and collective when things get crazy or worrisome.

So when it comes down to actual stressful events, and anybody who is in healthcare, whether you're a doctor, nurse, physiotherapists, occupational therapist etc., we know at some point in our lives, and in our professions, we are going to be dealing with traumatic events, stressful events and we know we have to be calm. And at some point in our training, whether it's a conscious choice or unconscious choice, we all have decided to be calm and collective when things get crazy or worrisome. We know that our behaviour is going to set the stage and the tone for everybody else in the room. I can tell you for many of us when we first started, we were scared or anxious when we saw our first trauma, and if you're in healthcare, you're thinking "oh my goodness what is going on!". But then you see other people modelling calm and collective behaviour and you know you have to be like that too, now or in the future.

Now making this choice, is not only in the medical profession but it's also in policing, paramedics, fire department etc. and at some point in those fields, everyone is making a conscious choice of how they behave as an individual. They've decided I will be a good role model. I will set the stage for others because that is the solution.

we are responsible for how we set the stage of the energy in our family life and how we will be models for our children, our friends and others to act

Because we know, and I know you know this too as I'm talking to the converted, that we are responsible for the energy we put out and that ultimately affects the strength of the people around us. And that lesson, we hopefully take away into our personal lives.

As an adult, as a parent, we are responsible for how we set the stage of the energy in our family life and how we will be models for our children, our friends and others to act accordingly- especially in times of concern. And I know you all know this, but I'm sharing my thoughts with you as a reminder.

This situation with the virus does not only affects people's physical health but is having a real impact on people's financial health. And as you know, I've said this before, anxiety and fear will not help us navigate us through this time. This is the same reasoning we use when we are in the medical field, or the police force, paramedics, fireman. We know fear and anxiety decrease and often eliminates our ability to find solutions.

Stay Calm, find daily joys and live with intention.

A shout out to all my colleague's nurses, doctors and allied health care professionals who are helping to keep society safe and healthy. And a shout out to all the beautiful people who are doing the right thing by social isolation, and connecting with others and helping the vulnerable people who could use our help right now.


As a collective we can be the calm voice, using our words properly and to de-escalate the anxiety that exists. If enough of us to do this then we change the energy that is out there. Remember to take deep breaths, find joy, find laughter, listen to great music and friends and choose wisely to be the inborn leader that you already are and lets work together as I'm sure you are.


I'm Dr. Lalit Chawla and thank you for listening.


May excellent health, happiness and magic grace you and your loved ones.

And if you like more podcast episodes that might serve you, please go to TheIntrovertedDoctor.com. You can join the weekly email list, where I release the new episodes as a reminder. Have a great week!



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