How to Stay Healthy & Sane During a Quarantine by Leyanet Gonzalez, MD/MBA Student
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Guest Blogger Series #1
Leyanet Gonzalez is a first generation medical student who's passionate about fitness, medicine, and health. She's an aspiring Emergency Medicine Physician who makes it her mission to promote prevention and overall wellbeing.
Sometimes I feel like we’re all living in a weird version of Bird Box. I tried to call Sandra Bullock to see what advice she has for us… but, apparently she's too busy to pick up.
In between textbooks, lecture notes, and practice questions for exams, I honestly just walk around in a circle in my living room. Okay, maybe not but if you’re struggling with your mental sanity due to this quarantine… here are some of my best tips to keep your sanity from one surviving medical student to the next!
STAY ACTIVE Not only will physical activity increase your overall health & your sense of well-being, it also increases your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, we all know and love! Endorphins also help combat our stress from being in hibernation all day. Take advantage and look up some workouts online that require minimum equipment or come up with your own! Personally, I use resistance bands and do circuits to keep my heart rate up! JOURNAL 10 years from now, we’ll all be looking back and reflecting on quarantine during COVID-19. Journal your thoughts! Studies have shown that journaling allows for positive self-talk and ability to identify negative feelings, we all know and experience. It also allows your mind to speak freely and get everything out. I would say that now is a good time for all of us to reflect and prioritize our personal, professional and spiritual goals.
CHECK ON YOUR LOVED ONES If I had a quarter for how many time’s I’ve called my mom during this quarantine, I could probably pay my student loans (ok, not really, but close). Talking with loved ones can ease worry and anxiety and give you the support you need. SLEEP Having all of this time at home doesn’t just mean binge-watching Netflix. Sleep is still important. Insufficient sleep can increase stress levels, which are probably already high during a pandemic. Having trouble sleeping? Guided meditation has always worked wonders for me! In addition to that, have good sleep hygiene. If you're looking for a free meditation app for Health Care Professionals, check out HeadSpace. EAT HEALTHY While I love eating cookies and fruit loops, nutritious foods helps support our immune system and mood (so does adequate sleep and exercise)! I know it’s easier to grab a bag of your favorite chips or Oreos … but there really is no more excuses for, “I don’t have enough time to meal prep!” DIY PROJECTS Hellooooooo Pinterest! All of those projects you’ve pinned and all of those materials you have lying around the house collecting dust? Now’s the time to bring them out and if you don’t have anything… How about making DIY face masks to help healthcare workers and first responders with the PPE shortage? There’s lots of YouTube videos available. So let's get to work!
IF YOU’RE SICK CALL YOUR DOCTOR FIRST. Many physicians are available via telemedicine and consult you over the phone before taking an unnecessary trip to the Emergency Room, now is not the time to expose yourself. If you don’t have COVID-19, you risk being exposed to someone that does, so please do your research!
IF YOU’RE ANXIOUS Mental health practitioners are also available via telemedicine. Anxiety and depression rates have increased due to this pandemic. Social isolation isn’t a reason to not seek help. You can find some resources here.
DO YOUR PART If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely stuck at home. Take this time to reflect! Others have said this, but it's worth a reminder: "When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don’t say to yourself, “it looks like the end of the world.”
What you’re really seeing is love in action. What you’re seeing, in that negative space, is how much we care for each other, for our grandparents, for our immunocompromised brothers and sisters, and for the people we will never meet. Thousands of people will be laid off during this pandemic, while some will lose their businesses, and even lives. All the more reasons to take a moment when you’re out on your walk, or on your way to the store, or just watching the news, to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love. Let it fill you and sustain you. It isn’t the end of the world. It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.
Leyanet Gonzalez, MD/MBA Student Davenport University, ‘21 Caribbean Medical University,
Follow Ley on Instagram at @ley.gp