BY MARK DRISCOLL, CEO OF THE BOCA GRANDE HEALTH CLINIC – Managing the stress of a pandemic was the topic of the recent Grande Rounds hosted virtually by the Boca Grande Health Clinic and the Boca Grande Health Foundation on March 4. Ivy League trained and board-certified psychiatry specialist Alexander P. Miano, MD, addressed how to recognize stressors, ways to eliminate risk factors and how to cope with pandemic-induced stress.
The world has been at battle with microbes (microorganisms that invade the body and cause infections) since recorded history, beginning with the war of Athens and Spartans through the Black Plague, Cholera, H1N1, and now – COVID-19. The Spanish Flu (1918-1920) introduced us to mask wearing, hand washing and isolating – concepts still in use today. However, the proliferation of today’s 24/7 news cycle and constant high-pitched social media have created unprecedented stressors.
Dr. Miano passed along tips for coping during a pandemic and maintaining resilience over time. Below are some takeaways from the presentation, which can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/520164064/4d977c5e74.
• Remind yourself that you are not alone in this. That everyone on the planet is in this unusual situation. That you are doing your best. That we are all in this together.
• Identify and accept those things which you do not have control over.
• Increase your sense of control by keeping a consistent daily routine.
• Get adequate sleep. Eat healthy meals. Spend time safely outdoors. Keep doing the things you enjoy daily.
• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
• Ask for help. If you feel you may be misusing alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or other substances (including prescription medications).
Dr. Miano practices at Hartford HealthCare’s Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT, and has more than 26 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City and completed his residency at Yale University School of Medicine.
All of us are facing challenges of some kind as we manage life in the high-risk world of COVD-19. Ask for help. Your primary care doctor or a Boca Grande Health Clinic physician is a good place to start.
• Care for Yourself – information available at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/stress-coping/care-for-yourself.html
• National Helpline: 1-800- 662-HELP (4357)
• United Way Infoline: 2-1-1 (Multilingual)
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)