Viveka Guzman, Key Correspondent for the Irish Forum for Global Health
When I first heard the term ‘post-conference blues’ I thought it was very witty, but I didn’t realise it was actually a thing one gets; until now. After the Global Health Exchange (GHE) conference, held this week in Dublin’s RCSI, it’s now my turn to start dealing with my own probable case of post-conference blues (PCB). I have to shamefully admit I did what as a medical doctor I often advise my patients not to do. I turned to Google to check the symptoms and find my cure. When my search came back with more than 35 thousand results I realized PCB is so common that there may be other GHE attendees who could be affected. As I am all about stopping epidemics, I decided to share a few ideas on how to combat PCB.
I believe a great place to start is to look back at the idea you wrote after Geraldine McCrossan’s prompt during the conference’s closing ceremony. I know many of you could not be at the closing ceremony so I can tell you that the prompt was to write down one new idea or issue from the GHE that you wanted to further explore or take action. I would say you can either decide to keep that thought or, alternatively, look over your notes and social media posts to find the most relevant ideas to you. Then, I recommend you follow the Keep-Stop-Start categorization recommended by James Koch in his LinkedIn article on how to deal with post conference blues. What is this? Identify what caught your attention because it confirms what you already believed, identify what jumped out because it motivated you to stop doing things that you are doing now, and identify those ideas that you want to put into action.
Next, move on to the planning. Try to develop a clear and concise idea. I am sure you meet class colleagues at the conference. Are some of these keen souls doing amazing work in areas that you find particularly interesting? You may want to find out more about their work, or you may want to consider ways they could help you take action. Seasoned speakers may be swamped with work but I would say a good idea is to keep it short and passionate: what do you want to do and how can they help you? Peers are also a great place to start! I believe many of us are seeking opportunities to get more involved in global health and looking forward to gain more skills while using our previous knowledge in creative ways. Pop in a few emails and see what happens.
Finally, share your plan to action ideas with others from inside, and outside, the conference. Just as it’s harder to break your New Year’s resolutions of hitting the gym daily if you told all your friends you would have a fabulous gym body for Easter, sharing your global health action goals with others will help you keep tabs with yourself and maybe have a support group if motivation goes down. I wish you the best of luck and I am looking forward to see your ideas around!
James Kosh’s article is available here
8th November 2018.