Dr. Elaine Chin espouses five steps for health resiliency as the world emerges from the global pandemic. During the March 9 Crescent parent education event, Dr. Chin offered a pathway from languishing to thriving by putting the power of achieving optimal health back into our hands. Her talk was based on her new book, Welcome Back! How to Reboot Your Physical and Mental Well-Being for a Post-Pandemic World.
Dr. Chin described the pandemic as many micro-traumas. Taken collectively, these events have had a profound impact on many people’s mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The good news is that there are steps to reverse this impact.
Recognize the impact. The impact of the pandemic goes far beyond COVID. Delayed or absent medical care and screening, and increased levels of addiction, anxiety and food scarcity resulting from the pandemic have exacerbated other health issues. Poor self-care habits, including weight gain, alcohol consumption and altered sleep patterns have also taken their toll.
Measure the toll. Dr. Chin urged everyone to “know your numbers.” Keeping a pulse on one’s weight, blood pressure, sugars and cholesterol is a proactive way to take better care of oneself. She also urges everyone to follow up with their healthcare provider.
Repair the damage. Mindfulness is more than meditation — it can help train your mind to focus on positive feelings. She encourages other de-stressing strategies, such as massage and pet therapy.
Recover the body and mind. Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough good quality sleep. Participate in a steady level of physical activity. Get outdoors daily. These principals are basic but crucial for positive mental and physical wellbeing.
Renew to an improved state. In closing, Dr. Chin spoke about optimizing telomere length. Telomeres are protective caps at the ends of DNA strands. Telomere length shortens with age and shorter telomeres are associated with increased incidence of disease. Telomere length can be optimized by practicing mindfulness, taking care of the body and mind, and fulfilling your life’s purpose.