As my first blog for the practice, it is hard not to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic and
how it has impacted the world around us. Suddenly a very busy San Francisco Bay Area has
come to a halt and many of us at home are wondering, what will happen to us? The economy
and stock market are tanking, we have a small chance to get very ill from a vicious virus, and we
are worried about our family and community. We know we will get through this; the question
is- how do we want to live our lives after this is over? Let’s face it, we are all stressed out and
maybe the universe is calling to us to really prioritize what matters in life.
As a family practice and women’s health provider of more than 20 years, I have helped people
from all walks of life. From newborn babies to the elderly, creation to death, and everything in
between, what is most certain is we struggle to maintain our health as we face worry, fear,
violence, and adversity. No matter how high tech and high cost health care gets, our health
outcomes in the United States don’t improve. And on a real level, we don’t feel any better in
our day-to-day lives.
So here it is, let’s take back the reins. Let’s not let others dictate how we deal with the world
around us! I was inspired by a Facebook clip of Oprah talking to Dr. Dean Ornish, a well-known
physician and researcher in lifestyle medicine. He outlines 4 simple measures to improve our
life and health, that potentially reverse chronic disease, and it doesn’t cost anything! These are
4 things to work on while we shelter-in-place. And before you know it, these habits might stick
and help us with our health in the long-run.
1. Eat healthy! We all know that means whole natural foods with lots of vegetables. I
suggest a pantry cleansing over the next 3 weeks to get rid of processed foods and
snacks. Might be a great time to decide how you will commit to eating healthy. What a
great time to cook at home and learn new recipes!
2. Move more! So, we can’t go to the gym, but we can have impromptu dance sessions in
the kitchen, or long walks in nature in the neighborhood. It is a great time to develop
small new routines, like a 15 minute yoga session every morning or a 15 minute walk at
lunch to take a break. Work on something that would be sustainable after you go back
to your daily routine.
3. Stress less! I know it is difficult to hear the latest coronavirus news and not get a small
anxiety attack. I suggest listening to the news for no more than 15 minutes and
afterwards taking the time to do a small meditation or mindfulness exercise, literally can
be 5 minutes. Do it in the evening as well, before going to sleep or after you brush your
teeth, tying it to another habit. Once you do 5 minutes regularly, you will naturally
extend the time to get more benefits.
4. Love lots! That is right, research shows love and support make a huge difference in
ameliorating stress and improving health. Here we are, forced to spend time with our
families, people and pets. So, give lots of hugs and kisses to your lovies or have some fun
at night (or day!) with your partner. Just be together, realizing that this virus can’t bring
us down because we have each other!
These four measures seem oversimplified, but in my heart I truly feel this is the basis of
achieving true health and happiness. Send me your feedback on what you are doing over the 3
week shelter-in-place to reprioritize and improve your well-being.