Those reading this undoubtedly find themselves sitting with shoulders rounded, neck flexed, and backside aching from long hours in the saddle.
The setting of 2020 and the dawn of 2021 shifted the delivery mechanism of healthcare. The celebration of government mandated EHR rollouts was short-lived as the COVID pandemic forced a more profound attachment to the keyboard and technology. Hands-on has been replaced with clicking, typing, and staring at Zoom, WebEx, or another of the plethora of admin or telemedicine options.
Don’t become a physical casualty. Reward your efforts because you deserve a moment of self-care every day. Consider the following tools as options for your survival, mental and physical, as 2021 unfolds.
Medicine generates an inordinate amount of stress. Fail to manage this successfully, and you will find your name added to the casualty list. The news is full of articles on a rising epidemic of physician burnout and practice closures. Over 16,000 are estimated to close their doors forever by the end of 2020.
Unplug, breathe, and calm the mind. Your soul will recover from battling daily in the trenches of healthcare. Reward yourself with even ten minutes a day. You will note a difference. There is no right way to meditate, and this tool will guide you on the journey, calm your worries, and likely help you sleep better. Another popular option is Headspace, with a reported 62 million users.
Physical tension builds during every clinical day. Posture suffers hours into a day chained to the keyboard. Before long, the neck, shoulders, and myofascial attachments cry out for mercy. Radiologists historically suffer, with nearly one-third reporting neck and back pain, but no specialty is immune.
Physical restrictions, governor mandates, and exposure risk limit the option of human touch-massage. Devices such as HyperIce or Theragun offer on-demand solutions to the burning pain building around the body. The app-driven programmed sessions are designed with a specific body area in mind.
This less expensive tool can provide the most versatility. Bodyweight rolls out kinks, and knots soften as tissues glide over the roller. A bit of soft tissue work during the week will go a long way to improved mobility and comfort after a long shift in the hospital or clinic.
Physicians frequently recommended TENs units for patients in chronic pain. Although developed for athletes, healthcare providers are running a different type of marathon daily. This app-based tool packs a punch, and the customizable settings deliver precisely what the problem area needs.
Nothing clears the mind like a thirty-minute breath depleting sweat fest in the privacy of home. Enter the Peleton bike and treadmill.
Having pedaled in the front row of the NYC Peleton studio pre-pandemic, this is a hands-down favorite. The instructors are talented, charismatic, and varied enough to engage a diverse audience. Add in gamification and lively music, and the prescription is just what the healers need. The app delivers portability, and new programs are added regularly. While many perceive Peleton as only a bike-based company, they have ventured so far off the bike, and many sceptics will no longer recognize the diversity of their offerings.
Choose from an endless array of cycling, treadmill, yoga, meditation, strength training, and bodyweight exercise classes, as well as boot camps on the bike, treadmill, or the smartphone app.
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The new kid on the block offers an alternative to the local gym. The shifting targets of government lockdowns have hampered gym options. This device touts a technologic approach to enhancing strength gains using technology to function as the gym and trainer.
Noise Cancelling Headset
Spend any time traveling or working in a decibel rich environment such as the ER or ICU, and the brain will appreciate an acoustic reprieve. While Apple recently launched a rather pricy model, several Bose or Senhauser sets offer delicious sound and impressive noise cancellation technology. These multipurpose devices provide comfort and a break from soreness or irritation from earbuds.
After a decade of training and decades more carrying the heavy load of healthcare for the masses, you deserve a consistent self-care routine. Without a degree of self-compassion, you risk becoming a statistic.
Splurge on one or all the above, mixed in with longstanding favorites. The world is counting on you, showing up to play your best game. Today, tomorrow, and the next.