The season of giving and sharingBMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5252 (Published 13 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5252
If 2018 can be summed up by the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year—“toxic”1—we hope that generosity and compassion can serve as an antidote. We have a few ideas for giving and sharing, inspired by the articles in this year’s festive edition of the journal.
Abi Rimmer asked several prominent doctors about moments of compassion that have helped to brighten a busy and stressful day (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5136). We’re asking readers to share their own acts of kindness: please do post a response to the article, or join us on social media using #BMJchristmaskindness.
The Christmas issue of The BMJ is a time for our more humorous authors to share their work. Satirically minded readers should look out for a trial of parachute use (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5094), a playbook for industry’s key opinion leaders (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5207), and a call for doctors to use their free time for shared decision making (doi:10.1136/bmj.k4983). Given the ever increasing difficulty in distinguishing satire from genuine debate on the internet as described by Poe’s law,2 it may be time to start signposting articles with emojis (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5033).
Celebrations at Christmas often centre around food and sharing meals, and the 0.4-0.9 kg average weight gain by adults over the holidays will be depressingly familiar to many of us (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5028). For those wishing to limit seasonal overindulgence, restricting meals consumed outside the home may be a good strategy (doi:10.1136/bmj.k4864, doi:10.1136/bmj.k4982). Frances Mason and colleagues’ clinical trial of a brief intervention to prevent weight gain suggests that tracking weight over the holidays is also a good idea (doi:10.1136/bmj.k4867).
We need to overcome numerous systemic barriers before everyone can share in a more inclusive society. Several papers in The BMJ this week look at issues of bias and discrimination, from female doctors’ experiences based on their roles as mothers (doi:10.1136/bmj.k4926) to the obstacles that all women in medicine face, including their access to leadership positions (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5232).
If changing society seems too daunting, maybe we can all start with an individual act of kindness—which brings us to our Christmas appeal. This year we’re supporting Doctors of the World, an organisation that provides healthcare to the most vulnerable and marginalised members of communities all around the world. Please support its efforts and give generously (doi:10.1136/bmj.k5165).