Patient Safety

COVID Fatigue? Keeping the Mind Sharp at Home, Work, and Everywhere In-Between

By Angela Hughes (Writer and Editor for Anapol Weiss, a personal injury law firm)

In the pre-COVID era, most people longed for more time at home, but if there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that too much of a good thing isn’t always good.

The pandemic pushed people inside and away from family, friends, and co-workers. Although necessary, unstructured time at home can lead to boredom, stress, and mental health issues. Brain fog may set in and cause a decrease in memory and cognition. 

The good news is that there are healthy ways to cope with COVID fatigue and keep your mind sharp wherever you happen to be. 

Create a Healthy Routine

During uncertain times such as these, it’s important to feel like you maintain some control over your life. You can do this by maintaining your healthy habits and creating a routine that works for your situation. Doing so will help give you a sense of normalcy and ease anxiety. 

In an article for Healthline, clinical psychotherapist Erin Wiley notes that, “In order for our minds to function at maximum efficiency, we must have order and stability, and right now it’s harder than ever to have either. Simple habits that we may have previously done — making the bed, blow drying our hair — are simple activities we can do to remind our brain that life is still going on despite the interruptions we are facing.”

Your routine may not look exactly as it once did, but you can establish a new one that’s similar. Set your alarm and wake up at the same time every day. If you showered before work before COVID or worked out afterward, maintain those habits. You can also create checklists to help you stay organized and power through work tasks.

Use the Internet Mindfully

It’s easy to hop online and scroll through social media for hours, but to keep your mind sharp, consider using technology to inspire and educate yourself. 

Stimulate your mind by taking an online course, learning a new language, following guided meditations, or taking virtual tours through a museum. You can find everything from gallery tours and library collections to podcasts and wellness resources for free. 

If you’re feeling digitally fatigued, you can also keep your mind sharp by reading books and playing offline games. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2018, people over age 65 who participated in intellectual activities, like reading and playing card games, had a significantly lower risk of dementia.

Lower Stress

Stress affects brain cells and wreaks all kinds of havoc on your life. If you’re not getting adequate sleep, feel anxious most of the time, or are stressed out about work and life in general, you could find yourself physically ill, depressed, forgetful, and irritable. Additionally, you could be at a higher risk of getting into car accidents. 

Even if you’re not driving as much as you used to or taking the long commute to work, you could still end up careless behind the wheel and in car accidents. The Association for Psychological Science says that a history of stress may contribute to anxiety while driving, leading to accidents.

One of the best ways to target stress is to practice mindfulness and breathing techniques. Meditation has a lot of research behind it, and it’s been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and increase certain areas of the brain. You can find various meditation videos online to suit your preferences: guided, visual, music only, etc. Experiment with different kinds to see what works best for you. 

You can also incorporate deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. For five to ten minutes a day, breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Research has shown that slow, controlled breathing calms the mind. A peaceful mind can make decisions more easily and respond to outside events in a calmer manner. 

Stay Active

Keeping your body strong and healthy also keeps your mind sharp. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and increases the part of your brain (hippocampus) associated with learning and memory. The best part is, a little bit of exercise goes a long way, so you don’t need to run on the treadmill for six hours daily to see the benefits. 

Try walking or cycling three times a week or workout to an online video. It’s also beneficial to include resistance training into your physical activities. Brush off those dusty hand weights and start building a little body and brain muscle. 

Final Thoughts

You may not always know what will happen in the future or control how this pandemic will pan out, but you do have the power to control what’s happening in your mind and how you respond to uncertainty. 

Keeping your mind sharp and your body healthy will help you navigate daily life, even in the post-COVID world. Whether you end up using the internet mindfully or lower stress from potential risks like car accidents, these tips above can help you stay sharp.


Angela Hughes is a writer and editor for Anapol Weiss, a personal injury law firm. She writes about driving safety and personal safety tips to keep the world a little bit safer.

Patient Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Wishes You a Safe and Merry Christmas!

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety wishes you a Safe and Merry Christmas!

There have been two vaccines against COVID-19 approved by the FDA – one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from Moderna.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. had this to say about these vaccine approvals – “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day.”

Although these approvals are great news and they are indeed a crucial step, don’t expect to receive a COVID vaccine soon. As the MIT Technology Review pointed out – “supplies of the vaccine are likely to be limited until well into 2021, meaning most people won’t be able to get it anytime soon.”

So, until a substantial majority of the population has received a COVID vaccine – including yourself and your family – please continue to be vigilant about your health and take safety precautions against COVID-19.

According to the CDC, please take these precautions:

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

As well, here are some tips and advice that you might find useful:

Going to the Dentist in this COVID-19 Era – in this interview, Bradley T. Truax, MD discusses what precautions dentists and their patients should consider.

How Chiropractors Can Ensure Patient’s Safety Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – Dr. Brent Wells, DC discusses what chiropractic clinics and patients should do as clinics begin to open up after COVID-19.

Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic – keeping physically active has a great many benefits and, during the current COVID-19 situation, physical activity is recommended for emotional and mental health, as well as to boost your immune system.

3 Myths about Wearing Masks – don’t let these three myths stop you from taking care of your health.

Establishing an Emotional Connection During COVID – social distancing required during the current COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our social and mental health. This article discusses the impact social distancing may have on us and what each of us can do about it.

Great COVID-19 Advice and Resources from Our Cardiovascular Partners – read this article for great advice and resources from the American Heart Association, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association  and Heart Rhythm Society, the Anticoagulation Forum, StopAfib.org, and Mended Hearts.

Have a COVID question? We just might have the answer at Virtual Patient Care.

 

 

Malpractice, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Survey Finds Lung Function Testing Has Decreased During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses are more at risk of getting COVID-19.  Lung function tests, such as spirometry and plethysmography, are often used to determine how well the lungs are working. These tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. Information from these tests is helpful to clinicians to diagnose and determine the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from lung disorders.

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Patient Safety

COVID-19 Keeps 44% of Patients From Seeking Care

By Elise M.V. Wong (Director of Communications & Research, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

44% of patients have delayed or avoided doctor’s visits because of COVID-19. This percentage is even higher among those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness — two groups with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and of facing serious complications if medical care is delayed. 

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Blood Clots, Malpractice

A Misdiagnosis of Blood Clots Can Be Costly – Particularly During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

In the early months of the COVID-19 epidemic, abnormal clotting was found in COVID-19 patients. As Bin Cao, MD, who is with the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases in Beijing, described wide-spread clots in COVID-19 patients in a March 19, 2020 webinar cosponsored by the Chinese Cardiovascular Association and the American College of Cardiology – he found “clots in the small vessels of all organs, not only the lungs but also including the heart, the liver, and the kidney.” 

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Patient Safety

Has COVID affected your healthcare? Physician-Patient Alliance Wants to Help

Virtual Patient Care is a free service that allows anybody to get personalized answers to their health questions. We want to know how to serve you better. Please take this quick 3 minute survey and tell us how COVID has affected your health. As a reward, by completing this survey, you will have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

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Patient Safety

The Need for Better Communication About COVID and Other Scientific Facts

By Michael Wong (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

We Are All Scientists But Some of Us Are More Scientists Than Others

We rely upon science, technology, and modern medicine each and everyday – the cell phone we use to talk and text with our friends and family, the TV we watch to entertain ourselves at night, the aspirin we take to get rid of our headaches, the inhaler we use to relieve our asthma, the eyedrops we use to ease our tired and irritated eyes. 

Although all scientific facts should be believed – after all a “fact” is a “fact”, right? – we tend to pick and choose the facts that we want to believe. The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania discussed this selective behavior:

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Patient Safety

PPAHS Celebrates 9 Years of Patient Safety

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

9 years ago today, I started the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety with a simple mission – advocate for improved safety and care of patients by developing and highlighting best practices and recommendations through better use and application of clinical practices and experiences, information technologies and checklists, and healthcare information.

In many ways, this cry for improvement focuses on systems – responsibility does not lie at the feet of the individual – for example through:

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Blood Clots, Must Reads, Patient Safety

3 Studies About the COVID Pandemic Everyone Needs to Know

Because the COVID pandemic has presented us with unprecedented circumstances (probably only matched in current times by the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which occurred before most of our lives), our understanding of COVID is continually evolving and improving based on new research and data. Learning from new research and applying that knowledge to our lives and how we care for patients is essential

For this week, here are 3 studies that everyone needs to know about during this COVID pandemic:

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