Bored and Better: Improving Mental Health Through Social Distancing

Bored and Better: Improving Mental Health Through Social Distancing

Hello everyone! Dr. Troy Jackson here. Apart from the medical implications surrounding COVID19, this virus has also brought about a forced reevaluation and restructuring of our priorities and how we spend our downtime. For many of us, spring cleaning came a little early, we got a jump start on our spring gardens, and we discovered new television shows (for better or for worse — Tiger King, anyone?). But we also have become incredibly bored, feeling limited by the lack of options to do outside of our homes. Restaurants and shopping stores are closed, most hiking trails have been shut down, and our travel has come to a screeching halt. This is all in an effort to help our community fight off a pandemic, doing our part to keep our neighbors safe. But personally and professionally speaking, this idea of forced boredom can be incredibly freeing and have a positive impact on our health. Below, I will talk about strategies to use this strange time in our lives for good through mindfulness and meditation.

What is mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness is the intentional practice of being present in the moment, of diminishing distraction and using all of your senses to connect to the world around you. Meditation is the art of exploring the mind and clearing it of distraction. These concepts often work in tandem to improve your mind, calm your nerves, and help you feel more connected to your body and the world around you.

What are the benefits of mindfulness and slowing down? 

The human body is under a constant level of demand and distraction, more so than any other time in history.  We are asked to squeeze more into our daily lives, discouraged from saying “No” to things, and conditioned to see downtime as laziness. We are distracted by 24-hour news and social media constantly bombarding us with information overload.  

However, just incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine have been shown to improve and even reverse these mental health disorders. Mindfulness-based strategies are also linked to increased production of immune cells and reduction in inflammation within our bodies, helping us fight off disease and stay healthy. There’s also data supporting mindfulness and reduction in heart disease (the #1 reason for death in America), improved cognition, and slowed cellular aging. All of this without a pill? Can’t beat that!

How can I get started practicing mindfulness today?

The key word here is “practice.” This is not something that most people are inherently good at (specifically talking to myself!) — it requires ongoing work and dedication, building up your skills over time. Below are some ideas to get started.  Think of these as a prescription from your doctor!

  1. Do not look at your phone, computer, or tablet when you wake up. Spend time in silence, enjoying your coffee/tea, listening to the songbirds, or journaling about three things that you are grateful for. I, personally, have been waking up a little earlier than usual to ensure dedicated alone-time.
  2. Try turning off the radio in the car during your commute. Drive the speed limit and notice the beauty around you.
  3. Set a reminder throughout the day to briefly pause for deep breathing exercises.
  4. Incorporate a no-technology time after work (or at mealtimes!)
  5. Recognize the power of not having as many options to fill up your schedule. Connect with your family, spend more time outside, sit and do nothing.
  6. Use self-guided meditation apps (Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, etc) to get you started.

I encourage you to use this time of social distancing to dabble with mindful meditation techniques. Spending time reflecting, meditating, or simply doing nothing is absolutely vital to your health. Make this your new normal and be intentional about setting boundaries to keep it a part of your daily routine. The social and physical restrictions with COVID19 will soon go away.  Don’t allow the focus on your health to go away with it.

 


Resources:

— Chapter 6 of Authentic Health by Dr. Gus Vickery (http://ebook.drgusvickery.com)

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer (written from a Christian perspective, so may not appeal to everyone)

— This great website: https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

 

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JOIN US for the WILD HEALTH VIRTUAL SUMMIT: April 4-6th!

JOIN US for the WILD HEALTH VIRTUAL SUMMIT

We are excited to share some news with you, this upcoming weekend Wild Health is hosting an amazing summit. Dr. Gus Vickery is one of the speakers, along with a cast of some of the biggest names in the health industry. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed are:

  • Epidemiology and COVID-19
  • Sleep optimization
  • Microbiome and Nutrition for COVID
  • Supplements for immunity
  • Home fitness while on quarantine
  • Neurofeedback
  • Sauna and Cryo
  • Genomic based exercise & COVID exercise
  • Neurocognitive optimization
  • Genomics and Genetics
  • Metabolic health/insulin resistance/fasting
  • Longevity protocols
  • Sports medicine and injury
  • Microbiome in practice
  • Orthobiologics
  • Cardiovascular health and Cholesterol
  • And Much More!

Wild Health Virtual Summit | April 4-6, 2020

The Wild Health Virtual Summit will take place via Webinar and you can select one or more days to attend.  Each day will take place from 10:30am – 5:30pm EST.

–> REGISTER NOW

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Sona Clinic Updates

Current Sona Clinic Process

*NOTE: This is the current process, and it is ever evolving. Please come back to this page as a resource for the most accurate information for our clinic. Thank you!


We are starting telemedicine! 

At Sona, the process is going to be that we would like to START all visits as telemedicine visits (even for things like sprains and lacerations).  There will still be some people who will need in person visits after the initial telemedicine visit. When an in person visit is needed, we will coordinate an appointment time with you.  We feel we have an obligation to keep our community, patients, and staff safe. These procedures limit the amount of in person contact that we have in our community and clinic, and also help to keep our most vulnerable families, friends and neighbors safe from novel Coronavirus.   

Testing criteria for COVID19 has changed (again) and is now limited to:

  1. Health care workers and people who live in communal settings (jails, long term care, shelters) who have fever, cough, or shortness of breath
  2. People with more severe symptoms (symptoms of COVID19 with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, or altered mental status)

PLEASE NOTE:

COVID19 test results are taking longer than expected.  We will call immediately for all COVID19 test results. Our call volume is very high and we are nearly as interested as you are about getting results, so will call immediately when they are back. 

To Your Health, 

Sona Clinic Team

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Vickery Family Medicine
15 Yorkshire Street, #202
Asheville, NC 28803

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828.274.1600

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828.274.1603

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