Healthcare professionals, take time to transition
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Whether we work on the floor, in a cubicle or in the executive corner office, most of us in healthcare run, run, run all day long. And then, many of us press on and push ourselves at this pace into the wee hours, attending to household and childcare duties on our "second shift."
How realistic, given that we're not robots, is it to continually go from "on" to more "on?" Remember that Dunkin’ Donuts ad, "Time to Make the Donuts?" How healthy is that? Healthcare providers, take heed! We need to take time to transition.
While this may sound impossible or a luxury to some, it's truly a matter of priority and choice. According to a 2019 Digital Information World article, we spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes every day on social networking and messaging platforms. We could tap a few of those moments to reset, restore and renew.
You may recall Meyer Friedman, MD, along with Ray Rosenman, MD, wrote a book in 1974, "Type A Behavior and Your Heart." Their research showed that a hurried and, especially, hostile Type A personality lead to heart disease.
For decades after, at the Meyer Friedman Institute in San Francisco, California, Dr. Friedman and his staff transformed participants’ harmful behaviors into healthier habits and held trainings for healthcare providers to learn how to do so as well.
There, I learned one of the antidotes for the "hurry sickness:" focus more on "people, pets and plants." How can people, pets and plants help us? Here are three ways:
Kindness matters in our words and actions. What we say and how we treat ourselves, as much as with our behaviors towards others.
Take a moment while driving home, waiting in line or doing errands to consider those around you. Simply smile at someone. You may think you don't have one more ounce of energy to give; yet, this small and random act of kindness can reward YOU tenfold.
Sometimes, it's well worth taking the scenic route home even if it costs you an extra few minutes. Notice the particulars of your environment. For me, when in San Diego, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway watching the waves and dolphins jump, my body begins to relax.
In Austin, when cruising the country roads, the wide open spaces of the Texas Hill Country expand into me and I breathe deeper.
Once home, upon opening your front door, do whatever revitalizes you for those first 20 minutes. Consider dropping everything to play with your kids, romp with your pets, smooch with your partner, dance to wild music, water your plants, soak in the tub . . . Or just plain STOP. Rest. Do a restorative yoga pose.
To paraphrase the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, "Pay as much attention to the endings as to the beginnings."
And, pay attention to the "in-betweens." By more mindfully transitioning, we refresh ourselves, becoming better able to take on what's next. We’ve put some "health" back into our providing.
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