How to Help Patients Deal with Loneliness and Isolation During COVID-19

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If you are a healthcare provider who works directly with patients who have been admitted to the hospital or a long-term care facility for other reasons, but have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, you’ve seen how some patients are dealing with isolation and loneliness due to COVID-19 restrictions. They are living under trying and stressful conditions as healthcare providers take steps to protect patients, as well as themselves, from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Here are some ways to lift patient spirits and keep them from becoming depressed as everyone tries to deal with COVID-19 restrictions.

Here are five things that you can do to help patients feel less isolated:

1. If you know your patient’s family members and friends, and they visit the patient regularly in the hospital, remind the patient of something good about a family member or friend, such as mentioning how talented a grandson is at playing football, or how much a friend likes orchids. These positive memories remind the patient of life and love, and put their emotions back into a place of connection rather than separation.

2. Encourage patients to reach out more to their loved ones by making phone calls and writing letters to family members and friends. As the world has changed, people have become more open to connecting through different ways. Suggesting that the patient write a letter to family members and friends can improve the patient’s state of mind and overall well-being, and help them feel less lonely and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Take the time to call one of the patient’s family members or friends to let them know what’s going on. When you reach out to other family members and friends on the patient’s behalf, the patient feels less isolated and more connected as they try to deal with the health challenges that surround the era of COVID-19.

4. Whenever possible, encourage patients to talk to other patients or get involved with social activities that are sanctioned by the healthcare facility. Any social engagement can help patients feel more involved and less isolated.

5. For patients who are bedridden and can’t move around much, give them an uplifting novel to read, or a craft or creative activity that they can do right from their beds, such as making a card or adult coloring.

There are many ways to lift each patient’s spirits. Sometimes they just need to hear about something other than their internal thoughts. The more we talk to them, smile, and make them laugh, the better they’ll feel.

To learn more tips on patient health and wellness during this trying time, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

Avidity Medical Design Academy also offers valuable, engaging online healthcare courses that you can take in your spare time. To enroll or find out more, click here.

Improving Family Spiritual Health During the COVID-19 Quarantine (Part II)

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While in quarantine, families are spending more time together, having meals around the dinner table, playing games, reading stories at bedtime.  There is no longer the hustle and bustle of getting from one activity to the next. In some cases, parents are working from home and kids are involved in e-learning.  It’s a way of life most of us have not experienced. Some may be enjoying this new, slower-paced life, while others are stressed out and struggling to cope with all the changes, including the fear of worrying about exposure to COVID-19.  In the midst of everything, it is important to maintain not only physical and emotional health but also spiritual health.  Now could be the time for your family to make a spiritual connection or reconnection to improve their overall health.  Here are 4 more ways to improve your family’s spiritual health:

1.  Pray Together

Saying a prayer of thanks at mealtime can be a good way to get your family comfortable with praying.  If you have younger children, you may also say a bedtime prayer with them, after a story, when tucking them in at night.  Older children can be encouraged to say a bedtime prayer on their own. You can suggest they pray for the safety and health of their friends and family, since they may have unspoken worries about them.

2.  Watch an Online Service or Devotion

Many spiritual leaders and churches are offering online services and devotions as an alternative to in-person meetings to comply with at-home orders during the quarantine.  Search for a service that meets the spiritual needs of your family and watch and discuss it together.

3.  Listen to Spiritual or Inspirational Music

In addition to listening to secular music, hymns and other spiritual music can be uplifting and relaxing.  There is an endless supply of children’s spiritual music, providing a positive message of love and peace and safety.  To appeal to adolescents, teens, and even young adults, search for current radio stations playing spiritual music or introduce them to familiar hymns.  Music “therapy” can be very beneficial to overall health.

4. Meditate Every Day

It’s wonderful having family togetherness, but everyone needs a little alone time once in a while.  Meditation is a great way to decompress. Each person should have the opportunity and freedom to find a quiet place, with no interruptions or distractions, to find peace and tranquility, reflect on the day, and re-center themselves for better spiritual health.

The stress of the quarantine and COVID-19 can take a toll on all members of the family, from infants and toddlers to teens and young adults.  Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are all important in coping with these stressors. For more information on healthy living visit Avidity Medical Design Academy or read more informative articles on our blog.

Beyond Washing Your Hands: COVID-19, Self-Quarantine, and Family Spiritual Health (Part I)

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With all of the focus on washing your hands, sanitizing, social distancing, and the medical considerations that go along with safeguarding your medical health in the age of COVID-19, it is easy to forget about other areas of health, such as spiritual health.

As you quarantine for medical health reasons, you may find yourself dealing with frustration when trying to follow the guidelines for social distancing or for self-quarantining in your home. You might miss your friends and coworkers due to the quarantine, and being forced to stay home with family. You might even feel cramped, crowded and scared. You might worry about getting sick, and washing and sanitizing your hands enough during the day. During this time, while everyone is self-quarantining, it is important to remember that protecting yourself and your family goes beyond just hand washing. Protecting yourself during this COVID-19 pandemic is also about maintaining family spiritual health. 

Let’s look at 5 ways that you can maintain your family’s spiritual health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Eat Together at the Table

Family connections often mean just existing beside each other instead of establishing quality time with each other. We sit under the same roof with very little contact and very little conversation with other family members, who may spend more time interacting on social media and less time interacting with other family members. The COVID-19 quarantine gives us an opportunity to change, and to grow into having meaningful family relationships. Eating at the dinner table means everyone sitting together and doing something we enjoy – eating. It also opens the door for stimulating conversation about what is (and was) going on in each others’ lives before the quarantine happened. Your family will become much closer when you have a family routine that everyone can do together. 

2. Give Thanks

The dining room table is an excellent place to recognize the things that are still good in the world, and there’s plenty. When our days are spent listening to breaking news about the quarantine, and stepping on each other’s toes due to being quarantined in the house together, giving thanks for what is going well in your family’s life is a great way to stay positive during the quarantine. 

3. Take Deep Breaths

Meditation is another great way to relieve stress. When you are anxious and stressed, take a few minutes and breathe deeply. Inhale slowly, then exhale slowly. Spend some time on self-reflection and self-appreciation. Take the time to live in the present by practicing some meditation exercises. Life will feel much more relaxed and your family’s spiritual health will benefit. 

4. Laugh

Play some board games with your family, like Monopoly, Twister, Chess, or Checkers. If you have children in the household, listen to some old music that your children may not know about, to stimulate laughs and good conversation about fun social events that happened before they were born or when they were little. Do things that make you and your family smile. The power of fun and recreation will reduce feelings of isolation during the quarantine, and improve your relationship with other members in your family. 

5. Keep a Schedule

Lastly, maintain your schedule, eat right, and exercise. This is not the time to sit on the couch and eat or drink too much. Remain active by exercising at home. Encourage your family to keep living their life and appreciating their life. It will help you and your family remain mentally and spiritually healthy, centered, and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Remember that maintaining your family’s health is important to help ease the pain and frustration of dealing with the pandemic. Remember that keeping your family strong when times are hard, does not happen by accident. It requires a conscious effort. These five tips are a good starting point, and they can transform this scary and negative time into a positive opportunity to make your family more close knit and unified for years to come.

For more informative articles on healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

Six-Part Health Series (Part 6): 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your *Employment Health* in 2020

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Employment health, also called occupational health, pertains to a person’s well-being and safety in the workforce. This type of health directly impacts personal life because injuries and emotional stress are difficult or impossible to leave at work. That is why it is so important to focus on your employment health this year, and make sure your total health is in check. 

10 Things to Do for Your Employment Health in 2020

1. Take Your Breaks.

You don’t really improve your workplace or your employment health by working through your breaks. Not taking breaks may actually decrease your productivity and possibly lead to burnout. So take your 15 minutes. You’ll finish your work more effectively and efficiently. 

2. Adhere to Safety Standards.

Adhering to safety standards are proven, effective ways to get the job completed in the safest way possible. Don’t become apathetic about OSHA noncompliance, even if you have coworkers that don’t take compliance seriously. Lead by example, and go home unharmed. 

3. Take Advantage of Benefits.

Fringe benefits that are unused can make you feel unequally compensated. Instead of becoming frustrated, find ways to use the benefits. You’ll end up with greater job satisfaction. 

4. Avoid Distractions.

Put your phone away and don’t check Facebook at work. If you need your phone for emergencies, use it only for emergencies. Distractions make the day seem long but also like you don’t have enough time. 

5. Personalize Your Workplace.

Many people call their workplace a home-away-from-home, but it really isn’t unless you make it one. Add some pictures or a plant to personalize your workspace. If you don’t have a dedicated desk or workstation, personalize your locker. 

6. Meditate.

You actually do have time to meditate. A one-minute breathing exercise can center you enough to get through the toughest of days. Repeating this throughout the day can elevate the effect. 

7. Get Involved.

Part of employment health comes from feeling empowered and like you belong to your organization. This cannot happen if you only do the bare minimum. Get involved in your work, and you’ll have pride in it. 

8. Eat Right.

If you want to be energetic throughout the day, you have to put good nutrition into your body. Drink your coffee, but make sure you drink your water, too. Trade in your fast food for some homemade lunches with fresh veggies. You’ll feel better at work and at home. 

9. Communicate.

So much emotional drain at work comes from a lack of communication. A person may dwell on something all day only to find out that it was a misunderstanding. Clear the air, but don’t cause drama. 

10. Don’t Gossip.

Avoid he-said, she-said. If there’s a problem, go directly to the source unless it requires the attention of a supervisor or manager. Likewise, don’t offer opinions about how other people feel or what other people did. Keep it to yourself, and refer people who question you to the true source of the answer. 

It is up to you to take care of yourself in the workplace and enhance your employment health. We all need our jobs in order to keep our livelihood, and employment health is essential in order to make that the best livelihood possible. 

Six-Part Health Series (Part 3): 10 Things You Can Do For Better *Emotional* Health in 2020

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Reduce stress and reconnect to your body with meditation.

Emotional health impacts your physical health and your overall happiness, yet it is a difficult thing to improve without purpose. The steps to better emotional health will help to bring you calmness and inner peace. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a bad day, but it means you will be able to better cope with bad days and fully enjoy the good things in life. 

10 Things You Can Do For Better Emotional Health in 2020

1. Sleep Well.

When you aren’t sleeping well, you may become irritated or angry more easily. It also decreases your ability to handle stress. This decrease in coping ability leads to poor emotional health. Over time, it can also impact physical health. 

2. Eat Right.

There is evidence that concludes that the food you eat can impact your emotional health. Getting proper nutrients makes you feel good, and this improves mood. Conversely, meals high in unhealthy fats or toxins can make you feel sluggish and depressed. 

3. Exercise Regularly.

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These chemicals reduce anxiety and improve mood functions. They also increase self-esteem. Regular exercise is also good for your physical health and body image. 

4. Meditate Consistently.

Any exercise in mindfulness is a benefit to emotional health because it gets us out of our heads and back to a healthy emotional center. If formal meditation is not appealing to you, go for a walk or do some gardening. Anything that keeps the body busy so that the brain can have a break is a positive action. 

5. Connect with Friends or Family.

In today’s consumer-driven world, we often are tricked into thinking it is our belongings that give us happiness. This is not true, and it is other people and our connections to them that drive happiness. If you are feeling isolated, reconnect with friends or family to regain your sense of community and support. 

6. Learn to Say No.

While some people need to reconnect for emotional health, others need to disconnect. It is okay to say no when asked for help. If you are stretched too thin because you are helping others, learn to say no. You need to practice self-care for a little while and then get back into help mode. 

7. Don’t Judge.

Judging others is an unhealthy activity for your emotional health and doesn’t produce any good results. You can’t possibly put yourself into someone else’s shoes, and most of the time, their actions aren’t of any consequence to you. Instead of judging, listen and offer help when you can. 

8. Appreciate the Here and Now.

Many of us are constantly trying to improve ourselves. We want to be thinner, richer, and more popular. In reality, what you’ve got right now is underappreciated. You have a life, and you can improve it. Appreciate the present and the future, and your emotions will migrate to a more positive place. 

9. Volunteer to Improve Your Emotional Health.

Helping others improves your emotional health because it feels good and you are no longer focused on your own stress. Volunteering is a pro-social way to help others that builds connections and yields happy results. 

10. Take Time for Yourself.

Taking time for yourself does not mean wasting time watching television. It means investing your time in a hobby or event that will make you feel like you again. If this means a spa day, great. If it means finishing a project, even better. Taking time for yourself means prioritizing yourself, so you don’t feel like you’ve been run over by life. 

These 10 steps are pretty straightforward, and if you invest some time on each of them, you are surely going to improve your emotional health. Not only will you experience less extreme emotions, but you’ll be a happier person with a renewed sense of calm. 

For more help with improving your emotional help, check out Avidity Medical Design Academy’s course entitled, “How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused By TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!)

10 Quick and Easy Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress (and Stay Sane Throughout the Day) :-)

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Stress is everywhere and it’s easy to get stressed out these days, especially when you feel like you have a million things to do at once, and you’re pressed for time. So how do you reduce your stress level without taking up your whole day? Creating habits for yourself is important because it sets up a framework of consistency and organization in your life. It also helps you stay grounded and sane throughout the day. So let’s take a look at a few quick and easy things you can do each day to reduce your stress level.

When you’re stressed, it can feel like you have no time to add in healthy habits to reduce your stress level during the day. The good news is that there are some daily habits that can lower your stress in just a few minutes, and you can find time to fit them in. Reducing your stress level can make you feel more productive, and it can prevent serious health issues (in addition to just helping you feel better!). Here are a 10 daily habits that can help you manage your stress level. Choose one or two and commit to the ones you choose for a few weeks before adding in more habits.

  1. Take a Quick Walk. Walking helps clear your mind and helps get your blood and adrenaline flowing. A quick five-minute walk can go a long way, especially when you need to calm down after a particularly stressful situation at work.
  2. Exercise. Research has shown that even a short burst of activity can have important mental and physical benefits. In addition to, or as a substitute for, taking a quick five-minute walk, try a five-minute Pilates workout, or even a few minutes of stretching while you’re sitting at your desk.  
  3. Try Aromatherapy. Essential oils are a great way of reducing stress. Many people also use aromatherapy to help with anxiety and insomnia, and to help maintain their physical, psychological, and emotional health. Lavender, rose, sandlewood, and orange blossom are some great essential oils for aromatherapy to help you relieve stress.
  4. Drink a Quick Cup of Tea. Just stepping away to go make a cup of tea can be a relaxing experience. There are a lot of different stress-relieving teas out there that you can make, too, such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Passion Flower tea, or Green tea. Drinking a cup of tea only takes a few minutes and you’ll be rewarded for it in terms of reducing your stress level. 
  5. Chew Some Gum. Studies have shown that chewing gum actually relieves some stress. The harder and more aggressively you chew, the easier it is to relieve stress.
  6. Recognize Your Stress. When you’re stressed out, acknowledge that you’re stressed out. Accepting and acknowledging stress for what it is, is the first step in dealing with it.
  7. Meditate. A short meditation session to start or end your day might be a great defense against stress. Meditation can lower your stress levels, and it’s easy to do. Besides settling your mind, meditation can help you regulate your breathing, which can also help keep you calm for the rest of the day.
  8. Keep a Journal. Whether you prefer a more traditional journal detailing your experiences and emotions, or you want to try something new like a bullet journal or a sketch diary, the simple act of sitting down to write or draw for a few minutes can refocus your stress and bring some order to a chaotic day.
  9. Keep an adult coloring book. Adult coloring books are a trendy way to relax while indulging your inner child. If journaling feels like too much effort, try spending five minutes with an intricate coloring book and some coloring pencils.
  10. Try Meal Prepping. If you like cooking, try spending a few minutes prepping ingredients for the next day’s meals to help you relax. Prepping your meals beforehand also helps save you time the next morning. Chop fruit for your morning smoothie, dice vegetables for tonight’s dinner, or pre-pack your lunch so you can leave for work earlier the next morning.

There are many things that you can do to deal with your stress. Some things take more time than others, so these are just a few quick things you can do, that take only a few minutes each day, to manage your stress. The key is to make a few of these habits part of your daily routine to manage your stress levels more effectively throughout the day.

If you’re interested in managing stress from the perspective of the people that are in your life, some who may be causing you stress, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused By TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Click here for more information on this course.