I sense that we are all ‘bracing’ for ‘the next two weeks’ because the news is all consuming about hitting the apex in many parts of North America. We continue to watch tough scenes in hospitals, but also videos of communities ‘coming together.’ Our emotions are going up and down. More than ever, our mental health is of great importance too. Unfortunately, it has not been easy to get to sleep with all that has been going on.
Three Actions for Your Mental Health
Action 1: Maintain Your Wellness Routines
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining your schedule of eating three meals a day despite being busy at home, getting enough sleep, and staying active at some point in the day as we sit for the remainder of it on calls. This keeps our immune system strong.
If you’ve forgotten how and need a refresher, here’s a video I recently did for Cityline that was posted last week about Wellness Strategies.
Action 2: Lean In
I would encourage you to embrace a conversation with family about our natural life cycle. It is time to give up on resisting the discussion around death and dying ‘well’ and with dignity. As we watch the death count grow, and I encourage you not to focus on it, we are undoubtedly wondering, “Could I be next?” or “Could that be my loved one?” The truthful answer is, perhaps, yes.
And here lies the issue of sensing a lack of control in our destiny. I would argue that, in fact, you have control. You can and should determine how you want to be cared for, in your last days of your life.
Beyond doing your Will, it’s important that we have a Living Will and Advance Directive that both your lawyer and family doctor should have. When a life crisis happens, all of us will be clear, in advance, about your wishes and there will be no family dispute to carry out your requests when you are not competent to do so.
Think about if you would want IVs for hydration and medication, feeding tubes, intubation for ventilators and CPR. Certainly, most of you right now would say, “YES.” But maybe for some frail members of our families, the wishes of our loved ones may be different. I, too, had to make decisions about DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders for my parents. The nurses said, “I was brave” to let my mother go when she had metastatic cancer. I wasn’t brave, I was merely carrying out her wishes.
Action 3: Get Involved
As I make my virtual rounds and chat with many of you, I’m awed by all the extra loads that so many of you have taken on. Each of you have your ‘day job’ which has become exponentially more complicated, but many have also ramped up your community activism and support as a corporately responsive citizen. Retooling your operation to make masks, gowns and all kinds of much need goods during this pandemic is truly honourable. I applaud you all!
For me, I’m still working on my “Masking Together Challenge.” It has been a rough learning lesson about geo-political issues and the new economics of supply and demand. It has been a tough few weeks, and I encourage you all to watch my video to see what happened to my Million Masks Journey.
The good news is that the Masking Together Challenge is going LIVE soon. I will need your support, I’m counting on it!
ELAINE CHIN, M.D., M.B.A. FOUNDER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER North American trailblazer in Precision Medicine. Founder of Executive Health Centre, a Medical Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic. Medical expert on CitylineTV and in Good Housekeeping Magazine’s GH Institute.