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Wellness in the Time of Corona

March 15, 2020
by Mark David Siegel

Mark Siegel, MD, professor of medicine (pulmonary) and program director of Internal Medicine's Traditional Residency Program offered residents this advice:

Especially now, in the time of Corona, we need to stay well. So please:

  1. Eat: Lots of fruit and vegetables. Snacks too (Arethusa and Insomnia need your business).
  2. Sleep: Eight hours a night, or whatever you need. Sleep will boost your immunity and mood. If you’re exhausted, tell us. We’re creating backup plans so you can rest.
  3. Exercise: Spring starts this Friday. When you’re not at work, go outside! Run! Climb Sleeping Giant! Ride your bike! Move!
  4. Socialize: Let’s find new ways to socialize safely.+ Use the phone and FaceTime. Text. Go outside together. Take care of friends who go on isolation; keep them virtual company.
  5. Be careful: Wash your hands long* and often! Clean your phones with the wipes in the purple containers. Spread out in the work room. Never, ever go into to a possible COVID room without PPE, even in emergencies. Carefully don and doff PPE, and if you’re unsure about your technique, ask an expert to watch you. If you’re sick, stay home and call the Chiefs. If you’re concerned about your safety, call me, the Chiefs, the APDs, or anyone in leadership to discuss.
  6. Be kind: Especially now. If a colleague is crabby, they’re probably stressed. They’re still the same wonderful people they were before. Cut them slack. Better yet, give them a smile. Ask how they’re doing and how you can help. Never underestimate the power of kindness.
  7. Be gentle with yourself: We’re all feeling a little vulnerable right now. Every hour, we’re learning more about the virus, when to isolate, who to test, and how to treat. We’ll all make mistakes. Be kind to yourself. We’re in this together.
  8. Be proud. One day, you’ll look back on the pandemic, knowing you were part of something larger then yourself. When your residency called on you, you were there. When your patients needed you, you were there. When you were asked to rise to the challenge, you were there, on the front lines.
  9. Know you are doing sacred work: In the days ahead you will be called upon to save lives, to comfort, and to reassure. You will use the skills you’ve been working years to master. Your work matters.
  10. Stay hopeful: This crisis will end. We will flatten the curve. There will be vaccines and novel treatments. The virus will retreat. Theaters will reopen, baseball season will start, weddings will be celebrated, and we will take vacations. Before you know it, we will share space with one another and appreciate it all the more for having missed it. Though we’re just entering the tunnel today, we will emerge on the other side before we know it.

I was already spectacularly impressed with you before the pandemic exploded; but I’m even prouder now, as you face the challenges, adjust to the inevitable uncertainties, and do the essential work we’re being counted on to do.

These are the times that call on us to stand up and contribute. Let’s do the best we can. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. These are the keys to wellness in the time of corona. Together, we’ll be okay.

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on March 15, 2020