"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 must take excellent care of ourselves, our bodies, and our minds.

Healthcare providers should 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 tips about easy methods to cope?

This week, I reached out to my colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital's Healthy Lifestyle Program to search out out. We are all primary care physicians throughout the Division of General Internal Medicine who’ve been immediately redeployed to latest and different jobs, equivalent to staffing our temporary COVID-19 surge clinic, to supply 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 also help.

Acknowledge the turbulence.

Ben Crocker, MD, is the medical director of a giant 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 exhibit 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 take a look at 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 precise Give yourself time and space to acknowledge your loss. It can allow you 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 is usually 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 accomplish that 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, normally 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 incredible time to find latest recipes you've been wanting to try. Get creative with what you’ve gotten in stock at home. Plan your grocery list so you’ve gotten the fundamentals for healthy eating. When you’ll be able to't buy fresh produce regularly, frozen vegetables and fruits are an incredible 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 normally 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’ve gotten them, or canned or frozen in case you don't. Goes well with tortillas, however it'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 overtime to take a walk across the house or do some exercise. Housework may also be a solution to stay physically energetic!

Dr. Wheeler finds it helps to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. These are by definition small steps which can 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 also 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 tips about easy methods to chill out 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 incredible suggestion that might be helpful 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 solution to proceed singing from home. “Try a distinct solution 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 thus far can allow you to manage stress and anxiety. Eating healthy, being energetic, and getting enough sleep all help us reduce the results of stress and anxiety on our bodies. Another technique is positive pondering.

Remembering and acknowledging the great in our lives is a powerfully positive practice. “Practicing gratitude for every thing now we have – our health, our families, our homes, food, whatever, somewhat than practicing the on a regular basis 'losses' of life and routines, equivalent to We know, is a vital 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 frequently 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!

Follow me on Twitter. @drmoniquetello