Sorry, no fancy pictures in this post. It is time for a reset.
Do you ever feel like something is off? Some days we wake up and the world feels aligned and well; other days nothing seems to make sense. I think the latter has appeared more in our country since early March. When the pandemic started to flare up early Spring some physicians found themselves drowning in Emergency Room patient visits and ICU bed management in hot spots such as NYC. Other physicians, including myself, had a different choice to make – minimize patient interaction in the office to reduce risk for spread of an unseen foe.
This reduction in patient visits gave us all a lot of time to think. What else can I be doing to help? Is there more I can do for my family? My community? My specialty? That is when I decided to start my blog. I had hoped that it would provide me an outlet to discuss my ups and downs as a dad and physician and focus on my perceived failures to better grow in my personal development. It started out well, but quickly I felt my posts became more “teachy” and not really focused on my personal experiences.
Sure, it is great to talk about how to help your kids eat, sleep, manage masks with COVID, etc, but this was all more universal teaching. Most of you probably hear this from your pediatrician on an annual basis already. It also wasn’t helping me. Many of these posts I was creating were very similar to what I already discuss on a daily basis with my patients and their families. It was nothing new, and it wasn’t helping me cope with how I have been feeling as a parent.
As our world has changed around us, one thing I have recognized is that I am not the same person I was 6 months ago. Some of this has been positive, but other adjustments in my thought process have not. I find myself more stressed about certain situations. I find myself more quick-to-yelling when it comes to my kids, despite the knowledge I have on this topic which I have discussed in previous posts. You would think I would have all of this figured out. Honestly, most of us are still in the “shoe tying” phase of learning to be a parent. Yay for being imperfect.
As I reflect on where my life has been and where it is going, I recognize there are many things I need to work on. One of those is my PHYSICAL wellbeing – activity, sleep, healthy eating. Although we drill this into our patient’s heads on a daily basis, as physicians we sometimes fail to maintain this mindset for ourselves. We tend to put others in front of us, which may lead to more late nights, skipped meals, lack of sleep, or increased screen time to get charts closed. I recognize that I have been failing at most of that. I also recognize that this greatly affects my mindset at home.
All of this has led me to look into Lifestyle Medicine. I am involved in several physician groups online and the subject continues to come up. If you have not heard the term, it is simply focused on healthy eating, physical activity, appropriate sleep, and mindfulness practices. It also focuses on avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking, significant alcohol intake, or other substance use. Luckily, I have not found myself down that rabbit hole yet.
With that said, my focus over the next 6 months is to improve my whole sense of self. That includes my diet, physical activity, sleep, and mindfulness. I hope to release a weekly blog post which would still include my failures and adventures as a dad; but I also plan to have an update on the ME portion. I am not sure if anyone would be interested in reading that, but I know for me it will help keep me on track. I will try to focus on what changes I made that week to help improve my overall self. I won’t be making a lot of changes all at once, since that typically sets you up for failure. But the changes I do make will hopefully become habit, allowing for future changes to be easier.
I hope you join me for the ride.
Imperfect Dad, MD