This week continues the celebration of National Physicians Week, which means from everyone at Carbon Health, we’d like to say thank you to all of the physicians out there—including our very own and those across the country.
There’s no question that this year, more than most, has really challenged what it means to be a doctor. Which is why at Carbon Health, we’re so grateful that even after such a difficult year, our physicians are more dedicated than ever.
Sujal Mandavia, MD, had this to say:
"As an emergency physician, I am accustomed to working during disasters and in austere conditions, but the pandemic has created a more chronic disaster scenario where the uncertainty and stress didn’t really fade away in hours or days.
I am really proud of my colleagues who despite certain but incalculable risk early in the pandemic, continued to show up to work. Taking care of patients with an undefined disease and innovating and sharing evolving best practice.
I often say that being a physician and taking care of patients is a gift. This past year has taught me that being able to do that during a pandemic, when access to care is paramount, is just an even better gift."
And even though the physicians at Carbon Health—and those around the nation— have shown just how much they are dedicated to their practice, we also know that it is more important than ever, for those that take care of us, to take care of themselves as well.
So we asked our doctors to share some of their favorite ways to practice self-care, and the results are in.
Self Care Tip #1
Find “me time”
Having a job that centers around taking care of others can sometimes make it difficult to remember to take care of yourself. Many of our doctors said that finding “me time” every single day is an important way to prevent burnout.
This is a key practice for Bayo Curry-Winchell, MD, MS. According to Curry-Winchell:
"As a doctor, wife, and mom, my tip is to find 20 minutes of “me time” for yourself every day. Take the time to participate in an activity you enjoy. I enjoy listening to music, reading, dancing or taking a short walk. Your “me time” will improve your mental and physical state. A daily dose of self-care can be the best gift you give yourself, friends, family, and colleagues."
Self Care Tip #2
Move your body
Exercise is known by many people as a great way to practice self-care but the better news is that it’s doctor approved. And although getting to the gym is a no-go during the pandemic, the internet seems to be overflowing lately with ways to get moving from the comfort of your own home.
Caesar Djavaherian, MD, loves to do his at-home workouts in the morning before meetings. He says it helps him feel prepared for the day ahead.
Self Care Tip #3
Recognize your own “symptoms” of burnout
For all of us, burnout is a real concern, but it has been even more so for essential workers during the pandemic. That’s why, many of our physicians have voiced that learning to recognize the signs of burnout before it happens, is key.
Justin Tsai, MD, practices this regularly. According to Tsai:
"I think it's vital that we first recognize what our own individual "symptoms" are when we begin to feel burned out. They can be different for each provider. Once we observe these symptoms surfacing, then we can take active steps to prevent burnout. In the past, a lot of attention has been placed on ways to increase provider resiliency through work-life balance, mindfulness, exercise, side-gigs, etc. These are all important, but what is even more pressing and necessary is for health institutions as a whole to understand and address the systemic issues contributing to provider burnout. Otherwise we are only putting band-aids on a wound that won't stop bleeding."
Self Care Tip #4
Recognize that your job is tough, and find moments to help carry you through
Although it can be difficult, sometimes you just need to give yourself pat on the back, and know that what you’re doing is hard work. And for Roger Wu, MD, knowing that is half the battle. According to Wu:
"I like the concept of the Keeper Wave from surfing. Every session needs a Keeper Wave. It’s not necessarily the best wave of the day, but rather the one that's imprinted in your memory and revisited in the mind’s eye. I try to pick out a “Keeper Wave” every day — simple, beautiful mental snapshots from the day that can be catalogued and re-lived. When the week starts to feel like a blur, these positive moments will still shine through."
Self Care Tip #5
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
When life throws curveballs at us, sometimes we have to find ways to balance out the things that challenge us with the things that nourish us. But when we struggle to find that balance, we must know it’s okay to ask for help, because that in its truest form, is self love. And that’s just what Justin Young, MD does and has done over the past year.
According to Young:
"Battling burnout = balance, however you choose to find that. My self-care is getting outside - hiking, biking, surfing, skiing, or just going for a walk around the block and breathing fresh air. In 2020, that became a struggle dealing with the pandemic, because a lot of the outlets we use for self-care and balance were shut down - movies, grabbing dinner with friends, gyms, travel, etc. There were limits to our usual ways to cope with anxiety, stress, and the day-to-day. If the things that made you feel better and helped you reset were no longer accessible, I found a great way to cope and reclaim that balance was therapy.
The skills I had before the pandemic needed a bit of a tune up during this unprecedented time of isolation, working from home, and fighting a worldwide life-threatening virus while still trying to be overly productive and keep my family, my friends, and my patients safe. Do you know how hard it is to give up hugs for as long as we did?!? This year showed that there truly is nothing wrong with asking for help, and therapy doesn’t mean that anything is particularly broken, but just like getting in a good workout, sometimes our own mental health needs a trainer to remind us we’re on the right track. So, I’m hoping you can reclaim some self-care in 2021, and if you haven’t already, I hope you and yours can get vaccinated soon."
Although these incredible ways to practice self-care work for many, at the end of the day, it’s most important to do what works to keep you healthy and well.
So to all of the physicians out there this week, we hope you know how much you are valued and appreciated. And that you need and deserve the same type of incredible care, you provide to us all.