Posted on December 13 2020
Open and honest, kind, intelligent, fun-loving, and determined. Our school days are a lifetime away but Elima has kept the core of her essence well and truly alive. A devoted mother, hair stylist and full-time intensive care nurse, Elima loves meaningful human interactions and the dynamism they bring to her life both at work and at home. In her own words, no two days are the same!
Most of her time is spent looking after very critically ill patients which requires an immense amount of self- confidence and mental alertness. She also dedicates some of her time to patient safety advocacy so you can imagine the insurmountable challenges she faces and continues to manage as the pandemic progresses. Her podcast, Bits N Bobs is very much an extension of her advocacy work, only she is encouraging us to be our own advocates in life so we too can thrive. Here’s our interview:
Congratulations on the launch of your new podcast!
Thank you very much.
Tell us more about Bits N Bobs
It’s a podcast for both the young and the restless and the bold and beautiful!
(We both laugh)
Well, it really is for that time in our lives, for you and me, where we are now, in our thirties, we are young and we are bold, we are going for life. We are progressing through our careers or starting and growing families and for some doing both.
So, I really wanted to create a space where I can offer value adding titbits derived from my personal experiences, as a migrant, a mother, a sister, and most of all as a nurse in here the UK amid the pandemic because I know I am not alone in this and there is always value in sharing our stories. It benefits the person sharing and hopefully those listening.
How did you arrive at this point, what was the defining moment, if there was one, that made you think yes, I am going to start a Podcast?
I had various unpleasant experiences during my time as a COVID ITU nurse and I can honestly say this is what inspired the idea of my podcast. I just wanted a platform where I could reach out to all and sundry, in the hope that my experiences would inspire change in their lives so they could avoid going through what I went through.
How did you find the process of building a podcast from scratch?
The technical side of things was quite easy to be honest. It’s the whole imposter syndrome side of things that really stopped me in my tracks. I kept on second guessing myself, like, will people listen to what I have to say… how will I know what to talk about etc. I finally got over that and I focused more on delivering value above everything else. You will see a lot of my podcast episodes have a lot of self-love undercurrents: this is because this is something I struggled with for a long time, I still do, but I am in a much better place now.
What do you know now about hosting a podcast that you wish you knew before you started?
Not everyone sympathises with your story! Putting yourself out there makes you very vulnerable and I soon found out that some people weren’t really experiencing my version of life as I wanted them to. I think the challenge here was realising that there was an expectation on me from some of the listeners. It is impossible to put everyone in a box. Accept the differences and the fact that you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and keep it moving!
(We both laugh)
Yes! Quite literally, you need to press on with your own agenda. So, I had to focus on my why and keep doing what I initially set-out to do.
What advice would you give women starting out?
This one is EASY! Move silently until it is impossible to hide anymore.
I love that, very often we get excited about our dreams, perhaps too excited even and we blurt them out before they are fully formed on paper or our minds even!
Yes, and that’s part of being human. However, not everyone is going to be comfortable with your levelling up and unfortunately, human beings are social creatures therefore it is difficult to ignore naysayers. It is more important to listen to yourself.
You are also a full-time intensive care nurse. What is your typical day like?
My typical nursing day is quite hectic already without having to worry about COVID and staying safe.
For starters, I have to wake up early and sort myself and my daughter out. Her for school and myself for work. I have to be in the right frame of mind before I set foot in that hospital and if I rush in the morning, my whole day will be chaotic.
After I drop my daughter off at the breakfast club, I get to work and change into my scrubs and if I have a bit more extra time, grab a cup of coffee.
Next, I check to see which patient I am working with, go and receive a handover from the outgoing nurse and then spend the rest of the day delivering the best quality of care. My care mandate is pretty much The Fourth Agreement.
From the Four Agreements?
Yes! the book by Don Miguel Ruiz. The fourth agreement talks about always doing your best and being mindful that your best will be different from time to time.
At the end of the day, I will do another handover to my incoming nurse. I drive home, pick up my daughter and help with her homework whilst whipping up some semblance of a supper!
(We both laugh)
Then when she goes to bed, I can either watch some television, work on my podcast and social media content or do a bit of reading.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was learning to ask for help. It sounds easy enough but for me it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. At the peak of the wave, I had to say to myself this is it; you need help.
And how did you do that, ask for help?
As you can imagine, the biggest challenges I faced were because of the current pandemic, more so because I am right at the frontline. I have done a full episode on this called Don’t Believe Everything You Think which explains this in full detail.
It got to a point where I had absolutely no choice but to ask for help because everything was just so overwhelming. It still took some discerning individuals in my life to actually probe me before I admitted that I needed some help. A very good friend said to me "asking for help does not mean you have failed or that you don't have it together. It just means you need help."
In all this, I have learnt just how strong and resilient I am as an individual and although this has been a trying time for all of us, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have come out even stronger for it. I found strength and resilience I never knew I had when faced with some of life’s challenges.
Thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly. You are doing it all Elima, family life, work, your podcast, how do you juggle it all?
I honestly don’t know! It can only be God. And also, that I take each day as it comes and have learnt to live in the present. I used to be quite an anxious person, I probably still am but now I am more self-aware and can recognise and consequently avoid my triggers.
What organisational tools do you swear by?
Apps Apps Apps!
(We both laugh)
They are a Godsend! I work on the go and this means usually on my mobile device. Apps like Canva, Notes, Planoly and Ripl help me keep my social media presence consistent and in check.
Do you listen to any other podcast?
Yes, I do listen to podcasts regularly. My current fav is It’s All Mental Podcast from Pam Smith, a Mental Wellness counsellor in Dallas Texas. Hand Me My Purse by Meme Walker if I want a bit of entertainment and if I am feeling really really brave, I listen to my own podcast! I don't know what it is, but I cringe at the sound of my own voice!
Your voice is so beautiful I love listening to it, you should get into reading audio books!
Oh, thank you!
You are a hair stylist and a lover of fashion yourself. Would you say there is a real shift in the fashion industry because of the pandemic?
I think we are entering a mostly digital world where everything will be more accessible online. In addition, more emphasis will be on more comfortable loungewear and activewear. Beyonce seems to have had a head start on activewear, judging by her latest collection Beyrobics!
Yes, but is it for working out or going out?
(We both laugh)
So fashion or style, which do you live by?
Minimalist feminine style! It just keeps me sane in all the hustle and bustle that is my life. I am not a fashion slave at all, I have had some clothes for over a decade! I am the kind of person who sticks to clean lines as far as they suit me. It’s all about quality over quantity!
Do you have or would you hire a personal stylist?
I most certainly will! Personal stylists are essential as I believe they help you put your best foot forward in how you present yourself and we all know that when you look good, you feel good and you attract good!
What are your favourite pieces from our collection?
Definitely the Gabrielle gold loafers! Those have my name written ALL over them!
(We both laugh)
And that was my last question. Elima thank you so much for your time.
Aww, thank you for having me here and listening to what I have to say. It is such a pleasure and honour.
I would like to say a separate thank you to Elima here for sharing so openly and honestly during this interview. I listened to her podcast Don’t Believe Everything You Think and I was moved on so many levels and I think the rest of us, including key workers who are not on the wards, have a generalised feel of how challenging it is for nurses and doctors on the wards but have no real understanding of the depth of these challenges because quite frankly, we have not experienced it for ourselves. Her podcast also really made me consider how I will, going forward, show gratitude to our frontline workers and show a more meaningful appreciation to them and I hope this interview will encourage more people to at least stop and look closer, listen more carefully and extend kindness and support because we all need compassion.