"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

6 Self-Care Steps for a Pandemic – Always Important, Now Necessary

Airline attendants say it well: If the plane is turbulent and the oxygen mask comes off, put the mask on yourself before helping others. This is completely vital. If we don't, we are able to't help anyone.

Well, all of us hit the identical turbulence, people, and all of us have to take excellent care of ourselves, our bodies, and our minds.

Healthcare providers have to be on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic to do their jobs well. In such stressful times, with a lot change and uncertainty, with the stress of caring for patients during this pandemic, it almost seems overwhelming. How are people like doctors holding up? Can all of us learn from their recommendations on how you can cope?

This week, I reached out to my colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital's Healthy Lifestyle Program to seek out out. We are all primary care physicians inside the Division of General Internal Medicine who've been immediately redeployed to recent and different jobs, corresponding to staffing our temporary COVID-19 surge clinic, to offer much-needed telehealth. Learning technology, and creating serious illness. Plans with our highest-risk patients.

During this era when stress and fear are running high, these six strategies from my colleagues may help.

Acknowledge the turbulence.

Ben Crocker, MD, is the medical director of a big primary care practice and a healthy lifestyle advocate. “Social distancing and loss of work and/or routine are tremendous stresses, both physically and psychologically,” he says. “At the identical time, our society particularly rewards heroic efforts that display that we are able to proceed to perform at the identical level, putting on a brave face. Many people at home together. Struggling to work full-time remotely while caring for a family full-time. Those who proceed to work on the front lines may feel the necessity to overload their schedules, or very Can commit to more.

His advice on this is applicable to everyone, not only frontline providers. Check in, he urges. Mourn your losses. And try too.

“Check in with yourself,” says Dr. Crocker. “With so much news and instruction about what to do and how to do it, take the time to listen to what your body and mind need.”

During such quiet times we are able to neglect to acknowledge the lack of “the way things were.” We forget to mourn, or grieve, or just express our sadness about not having the ability to socialize, see a detailed friend, attend a favourite exercise class, interact with neighbors and family, or worship together. forget to specific Give yourself time and space to acknowledge your loss. It can show you how to stay connected with the present state of life.

“And allow yourself to check in physically, mentally, emotionally on a regular basis,” he adds. “Intentionally create 'shutdown' time in your schedule. It generally is a healthy time alone for meditation and silence.

Fuel your body with healthy food.

Helen Delichatsios, MD, has a level in nutrition and runs healthy cooking classes for her patients.

“At times like these, nutrition and healthy eating can easily fall by the wayside,” she says. “However, if anything, it's more vital than ever to fuel our bodies properly and to achieve this mindfully. We have increased physical and mental stress, and healthy eating. It is very important to guard our immune system from disease and to get better quickly if we get sick.

Anne Thorndike, MD, often works on the Cardiometabolic Center, which helps people at high risk of heart disease to alter the way in which they eat and live. “We're all eating more at home,” she notes. “This is an excellent time to find recent recipes you've been wanting to try. Get creative with what you have got in stock at home. Plan your grocery list so you have got the fundamentals for healthy eating. When you may't buy fresh produce regularly, frozen vegetables and fruits are an excellent option.

Amy Wheeler, MD, can be board certified in obesity medicine and conducts healthy lifestyle sessions for patients. At home, she is making healthy recipes that she often makes with fresh ingredients using easy substitutes. Try this easy, adaptable recipe for quarantine chili for a family of 5:

“Last night, I diced an onion and potato, then tossed a chicken breast in chunks, 1/2 small can of green chilies, 1/4 cup salsa, 3 to 4 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, cheese. Sprinkle, some leftover rice, 1 can of yellow corn, and 1 can of tomatoes. Once the chicken is cooked, try a dollop of Greek yogurt on top instead of sour cream.”

Use fresh ingredients if you have got them, or canned or frozen if you happen to don't. Goes well with tortillas, but it surely's also great out of a bowl.

Move your body.

“We're all spending less time commuting, taking our kids around, and working,” says Dr. Thorndike. “Use the additional time to take a walk across the house or do some exercise. Housework will also be a method to stay physically lively!

Dr. Wheeler finds it helps to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. These are by definition small steps which might be easy to realize, and thus create motivation.

“I'm making small goals for myself,” she says. “Daily goals like 'I'll take a 20-minute walk outside at 10am today, wearing my mask and practicing social distancing'. Or 'I'll find three different coloured flowers on my walk.' Helps me get out of my PJs, away from the laptop, and appreciate nature — so relaxing!”

Prioritize sleep.

Our body needs enough sleep to operate. Me, I'm working hard to maintain a schedule, setting my alarm for my usual morning time, and going to bed after my kids. It helps to make certain I get a solid eight hours of sleep, in order that I'll be at my best once I'm called into the clinic.

It may help see the sunshine – and the dark (literally). “Spend time outside in nature,” advises Dr. Crocker. “Exhibiting the visible daily rhythms of day/night is an added benefit.” For additional recommendations on how you can loosen up you, sleep for uncertain times. See this blog on strategy.

Find ways to attach socially.

Dr. Delichatsios likes to cook at home and has been hosting virtual dinner parties.

“Why don't you invite some people over for dinner?” “In our family, we call them FaceTime dinners, Zoom dinners, or Skype dinners. These platforms have allowed us to 'go out to dinner' and connect with lots of friends and family,” she suggests. , while earlier we were too busy to satisfy in person.

Dr. Crocker has an excellent suggestion that might be useful for working parents and their relatives. “After school, if you have children and a large family, invite relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles) to teach online lessons once a week on the same topic or a rotating topic. Your children And allow that special bonding time between their relatives so that your time is less burdened.”

He also found a method to proceed singing from home. “Try a distinct method to connect with friends and colleagues — a chat room, or a Zoom meeting over dinner. I joined a 20-voice choir that I've never physically sung or recorded with. Sung in a finished five-part arrangement – it's all from my house!

Find ways to cut back stress.

Everything you've read up so far can show you how to manage stress and anxiety. Eating healthy, being lively, and getting enough sleep all help us reduce the consequences of stress and anxiety on our bodies. Another technique is positive considering.

Remembering and acknowledging the nice in our lives is a powerfully positive practice. “Practicing gratitude for all the things we've got – our health, our families, our homes, food, whatever, fairly than practicing the on a regular basis 'losses' of life and routines, corresponding to We know, is a very important health practice,” notes. Dr. Crocker.

In our house, we take turns saying grace before eating dinner. Part of grace is expressing something we're grateful for, and typically it finally ends up being a bunch of things, sometimes as silly as our cats cuddling with us, or the sun shining. Is. But it at all times makes us smile!

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