Doctor, Protect Thyself With These Tips

Often in the drive to provide the best care for patients, we physicians are quite neglectful in caring for ourselves. But never has there been a more important moment in history to give ourselves better care than during this pandemic.

I use a memorization technique that I call The Good Health Code of 18. Add up the following numbers for an arithmetic goal and a mnemonic device to help healthcare professionals maintain their own good health over the long term.
  • One – Go screen-free for at least one hour before bedtime each night. The blue light emitted from phone and computer screens suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and disrupts much needed rest.
  • Two – Limit red meat to no more than two meals each week and focus on boosting immunity by consuming more of the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables.
  • Three – Strive for at least three vigorous exercise sessions of 25 minutes each per week, plus two muscle-strengthening activities, meeting CDC recommendations for adults. Jogging, bicycling and rowing are good examples of vigorous activities that can improve circulation of immune cells during and afterward for several hours. 
  • Five – Aim to reduce stress over the next five weeks by finding and implementing a tried-and-true program of mindfulness training and meditation. A brand-new study has found that a self-care mindfulness program assigned to 78 healthcare professionals for such a duration significantly reduced scores on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), compared to a control group. Check out what Duke Integrative Medicine offers.
  • Seven – Allot yourself a minimum of seven hours of sleep nightly. Eight hours is even better. On those hopefully rare occasions when it's just not possible, half-hour naps can be highly restorative and immunity building as well.
Bottom line: A direct relationship exists between stress and a decreased ability for the body to fight infections and COVID-19. Managing stress will help you resist infection now and abate chronic conditions later.
See more practice improvement tips from Dr. Baum
Neil H. Baum, MD is medical advisor to Vanguard Communications and author of two books: Marketing Your Clinical Practice - Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, now in its 4th edition, and The Complete Business Guide to a Successful Medical Practice.

Dr. Baum has been dubbed "Dr. Wiz" for his love of magic and his urology specialty practice. 
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