Thursday, April 23, 2020

Three minutes to decrease COVID worry

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of therapy based on acceptance and mindfulness combined with behavior change and commitment. It's a form of therapy that is taught/frequently utilized in my current residency program.

One of our faculty who facilitates the resident processing group is Tom Lavin. He wrote out a 3+ minute meditation using ACT theory. While it can be useful in dealing with a whole host of stressors, it can also be very helpful in dealing with COVID-related stress/anxiety/worry that many of us may be experiencing. We might be worried about the health risks for our loved ones or ourselves. We might be worried about the financial fallout. We might be struggling with isolation, or conversely spending more time with family/housemates than we usually do. Or even just getting enough of the basic supplies... (For more on Tom Lavin's resources click here). 

Here's the meditation (shared with permission): 

Accepting, Choosing-Committing, Taking Action 

Accept what is, as it is
Slowly... take a few deep breaths...
Allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge and just be there...
the ones you like... and the ones you don’t like...
take few more deep breaths...
and just let your thoughts and feelings be there...
Take a few more deep breaths...
and let your thoughts and feelings be there...
—not judging them and not trying to make them go away...
Just let your thoughts and feelings be there.
Accepting your thoughts and feelings does not mean you like them
and it doesn’t mean you like the situation ...
Just let your thoughts and feelings be there...let the situation be there...
and then settle into accepting what is, as it is...
If you’re having a hard time accepting what is,
go ahead and accept that you’re having a hard time accepting what is...that
you really wish the thought or feelings or the situation were different...but
they’re you’re willing to accept what is, as it is...

After accepting what is as it is, focus on what’s important to you-is there
something about this you want to change---do you want to change your
perspective? Or change the situation?
What do you want to change?
If you think you can make the change, develop and plan a strategy
to make the change you discern would be good...
...then...engage in NIKE Therapy---be willing to “ just do it”...
Be willing to take positive, assertive action....

However, if you can’t change the situation and you’re struggling with
your perspective..... let go............let go...........let go.....
Let it go for today.
Just let it be.
Let it go... and move on...
Say “Yes to Life”...
... and focus your attention on other people and activities you value.

Image from the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management

Friday, April 10, 2020

Face coverings and how to help health care workers if you sew

How to Sew a Fabric Face Mask Free Pattern - Rae Gun Ramblings

This past week the CDC made the strong recommendation for people to wear face coverings in public. For complete and up to date information on face coverings from the CDC, please click  here.   

In response to this recommendation, the State of Nevada sent out an email to all State employees explaining the different types of masks and their preferred use, as well as providing information on how to make your own mask. 

If you like to sew, you can make coverings for your local health care providers in addition to making them for yourself/family/friends/neighbors. I was so grateful when I went for my N95 fitting to find that people in the community had made hundreds of cloth coverings for our N95 masks so that we can extend the number of uses per N95. There was a big bin of cloth masks that we could chose from with lots of fun patterns. Additionally, it's really helpful to have a headband with buttons sewn behind the ears so that providers can hook their cloth mask onto the headband instead of behind their ears. No one had donated any, but I'm sure they would be greatly appreciated as well. 

The information below on cloth masks is adapted from the State of Nevada email. I hope you find it helpful.
      • Can be worn anywhere but should be changed out and washed frequently;
      • If you are able to make a cloth mask, it is recommended to make a few to change out between home, work and other places.
      • The cloth mask for work should ONLY be worn at work.
        • Maintain in a plastic zip-lock bag.
        • Change the zip-lock bag at least once a week
        • Only take home to be laundered, placed in a clean zip-lock bag and brought back to work.
      • Placing a cloth mask over other masks will help keep the other masks clean and last longer.
      • The cloth mask should be able to be laundered in hot water and machine dried without damage or change to the shape or integrity of the mask.
      • Here are some  YouTube ‘How To’ videos for making a mask:
        • How to make a fitted mask – much like an N95:
        • How to make a mask with a filter:
        • How to make a great mask if you can’t find supplies:
        • How to make a mask with a handkerchief/napkin: 
Face masks should fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face and bridge of the nose. Ideally, they include layers of fabric, preferably with a filter. Ideally they will allow for breathing without restriction. They should also only be touched when putting them on or taking them off. 

Please stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Prayers for health care workers

In Memory of Samantha Cohn ~ 2014 | Cushing's Bios
As the impact of COVID-19 spreads, it is hitting close to home as the list of health care professionals that have died in service to others grows. Medscape keeps an updated list of health care workers who have died from COVID-19. I posted the link of Facebook previously, but it is worth sharing again. Unfortunately and sadly, it was updated again this morning as more names had to be added. For the most up to date list click here

Right now I feel the force of my two vocations, medicine and ministry, colliding. It is only through prayer and faith in God's sustaining strength that I can put my fears aside to serve those hospitalized with psych issues on my weekends on call. And it is through prayer that I respond to the growing list of those who have already died while serving others. Below are three prayers from Grace Cathedral that I find beautiful. 

Please, think about your physician or a health care worker that you know and offer one of the prayers below. We will all appreciate it more than you will ever know...

For Those Who Are Sick and Those Who Minister to Them
Gracious God, source of life and health: Jesus came to our disordered world to make your people whole. Send your Spirit on those who are sick and all who minister to them; that when the sick enter your peace, they may offer thanks to your Great Name; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

For Health Care Providers

Give your blessing, gracious God, to those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing, and the prevention of disease and pain. Give them the wisdom of your Holy Spirit, that through their work the health of our community may be advanced and your creation glorified; through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Emergency Workers

God our strong deliverer: when those charged with the urgent mediation of your healing power feel overwhelmed by the numbers of the suffering, uphold them in their fatigue and banish their despair. Let them see with your eyes, so they may know all their patients as precious. Give comfort, and renew their energy and compassion, for the sake of Jesus in whom is our life and our hope. Amen.