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10 tips for self-care

faith future health practice self-care May 29, 2023

When we step out of the busy-ness of our days, goals and lives, we can learn a lot from what we have learned and think we know.

In the end of our lives, your most important patient is…  YOU.  

 

But…

Do you walk your talk?  

Do you follow your own advice?

 

Medicine has changed.

 

From leaders, healers and role models of society, many of us have become employees, providers, and medical factory workers.  

 

From those who began their journey as the most hardworking, brilliant, disciplined, workhorse, responsible, respected, dependable, selfless heroes, many find themselves depressed, hopeless, devalued, defeated, frustrated, stressed, disempowered victims of a system that we have no control over and no voice.

 

Our dream has been hijacked and our futures derailed.

 

Admiral Jim Stockdale said “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality whatever that might be.”

 

You may be thinking… How did I get here?  

Something must change. 

There are so many options beyond drowning in a bad situation.

 

 

It is time for physicians and healthcare workers to fill our own buckets, to put the oxygen mask on us, to look in the mirror and reclaim the role as a model for our patients and our children.

 

As focused and committed as we are to our obligations and responsibilities of our job in medicine, we must be equally conscious and intentional about our own self-care and healing.  

 

We educate and empower patients every day.

Here are 10 areas where we can look in the mirror and do a better job to practice what we preach.

  1. Nutrition
    You are what you eat. Reducing fast food, preservatives, chemicals and increasing whole foods with all the colors of the rainbow with organic vegetables and fruits increases lifespan.

  2. Sleep
    A good night’s sleep is vital to your health.  It is a crucial time when your immune system repairs cells and the body can grow new healthy cells.  Block out time for your rest and recovery as much as you schedule work.

  3. Exercise
    Move your body more each day.  More than any other tactic, exercise improves cardiovascular health, improves balance, flexibility and mobility, lowers the risk of chronic diseases, reduces anxiety, improves cognitive function, strengthens immune system, increases bone density and prolongs your lifespan.

  4. Sex
    Human touch, hugging and orgasm reduces stress and pain while increasing oxytocin, sleep and antibodies.

  5. Laughter
    Laughter reduces cortisol levels and anxiety while increasing immunoglobulins to protect us against illness and disease and promotes endorphins which decrease pain.

  6. Calm
    A spiritual practice, meditation or prayer encourages you to feel a deep sensation of calm and peace.  We tend to be a highly thinking group.  Learning habits to help us quiet our thinking minds brings us back to what is true in the moment with our senses and can decrease anxiety and stress.  This practice can bring you back to who you truly are and who you want to be.  Every day schedule time for rest, peace and quiet.

  7. Gratitude
    Find gratitude for all that is good in your life despite the challenges and your goals.  Let your patients remind you how fortunate you are to not be in pain, have a terminal diagnosis or simply to wake up today.  

  8. Growth Mindset
    Most of us are students at heart.  We love to learn and grow.  Just because our formal medical education ended does not mean we are done.  We can continue to learn and grow in and outside of medicine forever.

  9. The Pursuit of Happiness
    Do what brings you joy.  You deserve to be happy.  Purposefully, do things each day that bring you love, joy and happiness. Yes!  You are allowed to have fun, as much as possible.  Follow your excitement rather than your fear.

  10. Social Network
    People with more social connections have less depression and live longer.

Are you pretending everything is okay?

 

Do you get enough sleep?

 

Do you eat as healthy as you want?

 

What do you need to create space for?

 

 

Watch Dr. Liz Aguirre’s Ted Talk to End Professional Burnout

 

Are you ready to challenge the belief that you have no choice?

We always have a choice.

 

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