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Caring for Yourself & Others During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The world is experiencing a dynamic and constantly changing situation with the spread of COVID-19, and clinicians are on the front lines, causing high levels of stress, anxiety, worry and emotional and physical exhaustion.

As you face many challenging decisions in both your practice and your life, the following insights from Jason Lauritsen’s article, “I’m Scared Too” are important to keep in mind.

Focus on self-care. We can’t care for others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Get 7 or more hours of sleep per night, get exercise, pay attention to good nutrition and snacks, limit alcohol, connect with nature get some relaxation for instance meditate/pray. To lead ourselves, our families, practices, and communities through this uncertain time, we need to be vulnerable ourselves. Asking for help is a sign of strength.

Maintain connection. Lack of social connection and physical isolation are going to be the new norm for a while. We need to remember that we all have a fundamental need for human connection, so as we are removed from the places where this happens naturally like the practice, we need to replace it somehow. Google Hangouts and Skype provide video resources for free. Set aside time each day for calls, texts, video chats, or however you prefer to communicate. See additional ways you can find or create a positive support network.

Take the next step. There is no playbook or best practice for what’s happening right now. That can lead to paralysis of what to do for your practice or family. The thing is, you don’t need to have the whole plan worked out to do the next right thing. Make the best decision for today or this week based on what you know right now. But also realize that things are changing fast and as you get more info, a different decision might be warranted.

Think about community. It’s important that we lean on and support one another as we navigate these uncertain times. Talking things through is important and helpful.

We understand that emotional support is crucial right now and are committed to helping caregivers, healthcare leaders, and colleagues support each other and foster compassion.

We’ve partnered with VitalWork Life to summarize a variety of insights on stress and anxiety in the workplace and how to appropriately navigate a crisis situation. The Schwartz Center has created a dedicated COVID-19 resource page for healthcare professionals that contains information and strategies on topics like caring for patients in quarantine and maintaining resilience during the pandemic.

Below are resources supporting your emotional health from the CDC.

We also invite you to take a free, live Sanity Break every weekday at 3 p.m. with this live video from Ten Percent Happier.

Furthermore, this 21-Day Positivity Workbook produced by Wake Forest School of Medicine and Northwest AHEC actually can help you rewire your brain to have a more positive outlook.

It’s extremely important for clinicians to take care of themselves in this time of unknowns. Please know that Curi remains committed to supporting you during this difficult time. Click here to view more of our well-being resources.

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All Curi recommendations are based on current CDC criteria at the time of publication. CDC guidance for SARS-CoV-2 infection may, or may not, be adopted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances. Providers should always check with their local health department to see if the CDC’s guidance on any given topic has been modified (particularly if more restrictive) from the CDC’s recommended guidelines. Follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html for contact information to your state/local health department. If local recommendations vary from those of the CDC, and you are unsure what recommendations to follow, then it is safer to follow the more restrictive guidelines/recommendations.