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How we self care; spotlight on RubiconMD clinicians

Published on May 9, 2023  |  By: RubiconMD Clinical Team

Healthcare clinicians devote their time and energy to caring for others, often at the expense of their own well-being. Building a consistent self-care practice is essential to maintain physical, mental, and emotional health, which is often easier said than done.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked RubiconMD clinicians how they incorporate self-care into their daily routines. Here’s what they had to say: 

Katie McGarry, DNP, Director of Clinical Operations

Planning – I typically have one big event or a vacation planned for 6 months out, where I can focus on planning all the small activities surrounding it. This allows me to escape into the anticipation. I also enjoy having minor plans – like dinner reservations on the weekend or local activities in town.

Yoga! I love my hot yoga studio, but you don’t always have time to attend the class, so I will take 10-15 minutes at home before I shower to start the day.

Eating breakfast – it is a rather new thing for me, as I used to focus on coffee for my breakfast. However, I’ve learned that incorporating a quick hard-boiled egg (or, if I have more time, a poached egg) can really change your mindset. You can take those moments before the hustle begins.

Creating a self-care buddy – At the height of the pandemic, my colleague Allie and I would do quick check-ins with each other, despite working in different departments and even hospitals within the system. It was nice to have someone that was in it but not directly involved to check in and support. 

Laolu Fayanju, MD, MSc, Chief Medical Officer 

When I think about self-care among clinicians, I think of the pre-flight instructions we receive whenever we take a flight. We are told where to exit, where flotation devices can be found, and how to apply oxygen in case of depressurization. We are also told to first take care of ourselves before we try to take care of others and this is probably the most critical part of that information. We cannot help others if we are not well or at our best. My self-care begins with acknowledging that it is okay to take selfish moments even when our profession and life’s work calls on us to be selfless. When we acknowledge that truth, we can find the means of caring for ourselves.

Allie Heath, NP, Associate Director of Clinical Operations

Mental health care – My self-care is primarily regarding mental well-being and strength. I do make an effort to exercise and take care of myself physically, but mental self-care is most critical for me. Clinicians are generally pretty good at compartmentalizing, and self-care, both physically and mentally, allows for space and grace to process and re-prioritize. I do this by strictly protecting time for myself and my family without distractions from work. This can look like blocking out evenings, but also even for 5-10 minutes throughout the day. This protected time helps remind me of where my priorities are in life, which helps me re-organize and resettle my mind. This is so important in order to maintain a balance so that we can stay mentally strong day to day.

Ludwing Salamanca, MD, CoCM Medical Director

When thinking of self-care, I try to cover different aspects of my life. One is “health” and that includes things like exercising, eating healthy nutritious meals, and a good night of sleep. In “family and friends,” I make sure I’m spending quality time with my loved ones, and in “leisure” I include travel, movies, good books, and my hobbies. Life presents many challenges and day-to-day pressures, but regardless of how busy I am, I always try to prioritize at least a couple of self-care activities every day, which helps me maintain balance and keep going.

Karen Acevedo, NP, Senior Clinical Operations Manager

Running – I’ve been running as part of my anti-anxiety and recharge routine since I was 12. I have found peace in trail running which also allows me to enjoy the sun, embrace nature with its undefined terrain, and give myself a dose of endorphins to make it to another week. My ongoing advice is to find what works best for you and leave work at work!

Nicole Deaner, LCSW, VP of Behavioral Health

After losing my mom this year and going through a lot of personal changes, I’m learning to focus on what I can control and leave the rest. I’m focused on shaping and choosing what kind of life I will have. This includes not taking responsibility for everyone else and neglecting myself. I’ve been re-focused on exercising, watching what I eat (without dieting), journaling, and meditating most days of the week. Rather than being in automatic response mode to meet everyone else’s needs, I’m choosing to be authentic and genuine to myself first. Loss and grief have made me remember how short life is, what is most important, and making the most of each day.

Through sharing our team’s personal reflections and self-care practices, we hope to spark inspiration for others to prioritize their own well-being this month and every month.

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