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Reprioritizing your mental health

Jun 23, 2020 12:49 pm

You’ve heard it said that if you don’t care for yourself, you cannot truly care for others. For many, this can be a hard pill to swallow. Too often we put ourselves last in the line up of importance. With a global pandemic, protests, fake news, real news, politics, home schooling, quarantine, and constant change to our day to day lives looming, the time to reprioritize is now. We need to step up for our patients, staff, loved ones, and ourselves. This week, I challenge you to reconsider how your mental health affects not only your life, but those of everyone around you. Don’t let our “new normal” lead to a break down in your mental and emotional health.

Consider these steps:

  1. Get some socially distanced fresh air.  This may mean a nice bike ride around the neighborhood or a “drive assisted” walk to a national park, beach, or other landmark. Be sure to bring your mask and hand sanitizer. Consider bringing your pet and quarantine buddy/family along as well. 
  2. Don’t neglect your faith.
  3. Focus on your diet. If you’ve been burning the midnight oil eating sugar (guilty!) then this is the time to reconsider a good healthy diet. 
  4. Practice good sleep hygiene. We encourage this from our patients, why not ourselves?
  5. While it’s not enough, reach out by phone, facetime, zoom, skype, etc to your friends and family. Beat loneliness by putting in the effort to reach out. Check out this Times article related to COVID19 isolation and loneliness.
  6. Extend a genuine compliment to someone. Inject the world with some positive energy. 
  7. Try meditation and/or yoga in addition to your regular exercise routine. 
  8. Consider decluttering your work space. Marie Kondo definitely has some good ideas for your home. Extend these to your office.
  9. While at work, take a breath to make sure you have your PPE on properly. Check in with your staff regularly. These exercises will allow you to calm down and to re-center. 
  10. Make time to focus on what matters. This will be different for everyone. In college I had a wonderful professor who built model planes. My chief in residency loved to garden. For me, it’s focusing on family and friends. Taking time to ensure you are doing something you love will allow you to regain perspective. 
  11. Put on some pants!  I know some of you need to hear this. Don’t neglect your personal hygiene (and the power of a good laugh!)
  12. Above all, reach out for help if you need it!  Consider Doctor on Demand ( to schedule an urgent, telehealth visit. Seek information from the NIH and other sources for mental health ( 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. 

Your mental and emotional health is especially important right now. 2020 has been a year of unfathomable change. Now is the time to make yourself a priority so we can support each other. 

Please share how you are focusing on your mental and emotional health below. 

Image credit: By PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay


Rachel Tate, DO is in clinical practice at Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach. Her areas of interest include patient advocacy, musculoskeletal ultrasound, pregnancy in connective tissue disease, and spondyloarthropathies.

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