Hello Mayo Clinic Connect members and visitors!
This page is typically focused on topics that might be of benefit specifically to those living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Because of all the changes to our practice due to COVID-19, I've found myself in a new role here at Mayo Clinic--Resiliency workshop leader for our Mayo Clinic Arizona staff. Resilience is the ability to adapt to, or bounce back from, challenging life situations. A psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Dr. David Cates recognizes that it isn't just patients who are at risk for psychological distress in a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic--our health care workers are at risk, too. For example, in a recent article reporting survey results from over 1250 physicians and nurses from China showed that the majority reported some sort of distress (depression, anxiety, insomnia) after their time as health care workers during the COVID crisis. I read about Dr. Cates's work in this piece by the American Psychological Association in early March and reached out to him immediately. He was kind and generous in sharing his work--both how he helps patients and how he supports his fellow health care workers. Since then, we've implement his Resiliency Roadmap workshop here at Mayo Clinic Arizona for all staff in all capacities to help us all build our resiliency in this time of COVID-19 changes.
This role supporting my colleagues, has been very meaningful and rewarding. This week, it also is my turn to write an article for this newsfeed. This got me thinking---we can ALL use resiliency support! And much of what we are doing with staff in our workshops can be broadly applied to any person facing any challenging situation. So, I want to take you on a resiliency-building journey with multiple posts over the next 2-3 weeks, taking you through the resiliency training we offer our staff as applied more generally. The goal is to help you build your own personal resiliency plan. We all experience stress differently, find different situations stressful, and find benefit from different types of coping tools. Lets spend these next couple weeks together working on these topics one at a time. At the end, I hope you'll have your own resiliency roadmap and toolbox for COVID-19 challenges or any other challenge you may be facing. If COVID-related issues really remain your primary stress, I also like this 5 minute video that offers coping tools that may be helpful in addition to working through this roadmap series with us. It is developed in a COVID-specific context but there are a number of tools you could put in your toolbox to apply for other situations.
Day 1: Identify your own personal signs of stress
Day 2: What aspects of a stressful situation are most likely to be challenging for you?
Day 3: Identify stress coping techniques that already work for you and some tips from me.
Day 4: Part 1 of formal relaxation techniques you may want to try--Focus on diaphragmatic breathing.
Day 5: Part 2 of formal relaxation techniques you may want to try--Building on diaphragmatic breathing.
Day 6: Healthy thinking and recognizing and reframing unhelpful thinking patterns.
Day 7: Intentional focus on positive emotions and experiences
Day 8: Social support (and keeping those connections in this time of physical distancing!)
I hope that the couple weeks together building and reinforcing your resiliency plan will help you feel confident and empowered with your own toolkit. But, the reality is that there are times when this toolkit may not be enough. So, if that's the case--please do not hesitate for ask for help. If you are experiencing daily anxiety, insomnia, irritability, withdrawal, and/or feeling numb such that your are significantly distressed and having trouble with daily functioning--Now's the time to ask for help. Please first call your primary care physician. Having a provider who knows your health history well is important. Consider the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 help line: 800-272-3900. You can search for a psychologist or mental health professional by looking at providers in your area on your insurance panel, asking your primary care physician for a recommendation, or searching Psychology Today
In addition to this series on resiliency, you may also appreciate joining in discussions on Mayo Clinic Connect's COVID-19 support network or look for other groups to join if your challenges really are not related to COVID-19 right now. For example, Just Want to Talk, Depression & Anxiety, and Caregivers for those with or without cognitive impairment are just a few of the connect group options. If you want more news COVID-19 and Mayo Clinic's response, I would recommend following Mayo Clinic News Network.
I look forward to sharing with you over these next weeks. When we do these topics with our staff, we seek lots of feedback on each topic so we can learn from one another. I hope you'll share your reactions and ideas each day!