Putting Your Mental Health First as a Healthcare Professional and Business Owner
“The silver lining in the COVID crisis is that it has changed the way people think about mental health,” according to Dr. Nina Vasan, MD, MBA, a physician, entrepreneur, and co-author of the #1 Amazon Best Selling book, Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action, and Social Innovation. Dr. Vasan, who will do a free live webinar for Kareo on putting your mental health first on Tuesday, January 26, at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, believes that the pandemic has created awareness and discussion of mental health intervention and minimized the stigma that has been associated with it.
“I want people to feel safe when talking about their struggles with mental stressors,” Dr. Vasan said. “We want to help them to talk about being in the middle of a pandemic, how their lives have changed and what to do about it. In other words, we want to show them how to make it better.”
During the webinar,Dr. Vasan will review the basics of mental health and the effects of a global pandemic, share recent technological innovations designed to help you understand your own mental health, uncover and address stressors and provide practical tools you can implement in your everyday life to improve your mental health. She has developed strategies that work for everyone – “sustainable things that people can build over time into good habits on a daily basis,” she explained. They include sleep, exercise, mindfulness meditation, gratitude, nutrition, substance-free behavior, nature, community and connection and giving and altruism.
The effect of achieving success with these strategies is scientifically based, according to Dr. Vasan. By spending 10 minutes in nature, the level of cortisol – the stress hormone in your body – goes down. Similarly, reducing your sugar intake improves your mood while decreasing anxiety.
Dr. Vasan explained that gaining control over these aspects of our lives makes people feel more empowered and offers a good example for employees. She added, “It is easy to put these things on the back burner and not have compassion for ourselves.” Most of these strategies are free or low cost. If something feels like a chore, Dr. Vasan shows ways to reframe how to think about it.
Dr. Vasan believes that the community and connection aspect of her program is especially important during and after the pandemic. As she explained, “People build community with connections. If they can’t interact face-to-face, they need to find new ways to connect. People took things for granted before the pandemic, but then they had to get creative.”
She added, “As humans, we have evolved as social creatures. We have learned how to connect with others, and now we have had to find new creative ways to interact while understanding the importance of safe connections. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that some people like to be alone and some have learned to like to work at home. As offices open up, we have opportunities to recreate what the work environment looks like. There will be mixed reactions to coming back.”
The good thing about easing our way back into an environment that we consider normal is that there is transition time, according to Dr. Vasan. The pandemic, she said, was thrown on us quickly without warning. Now we have the time to make the transition back to a work environment that works and to think about how we need to do it successfully. She believes that the key will be community connection.
“I hope people will find out and discuss what works for them in the workplace,” Dr. Vasan said. “People who prefer to work at home or work alone in the office and can be productive at it may feel more comfortable saying so. Getting to see patients in person again may happen gradually.” She concluded, “I look forward to seeing the workplace environment change in a constructive way now that we have figured out the logistics.” If you are ready to learn about how you can take care of your mental health and that of your employees and how to make it better after the effects of COVID-19, be sure to attend our upcoming webinar on Tuesday, January 26. To register for 2021 Strategy: Putting Your Mental Health First, click here.