APRIL 2020 |

In this issue:

  • Fresh Space, Fresh Mind
  • Get Organized
  • MS4 Advice
  • SPOTlight
  • TAO
  • Thrive at UT
  • Thrive>>Survive
  • Wellness Warriors
The Well is a monthly newsletter that serves to
positively impact the well-being of the McGovern student community
by highlighting a myriad of wellness-related content.
Click here to share your thoughts on The Well!
Fresh Space, Fresh Mind
Spring is often seen as a time of renewal - a much-needed breath of fresh air, a time to reset and focus on putting your best foot forward. And, as we all know, spring cleaning. Whether it’s a mountain of unworn clothing, that random collection of miscellaneous gifts, or even some mental clutter, tackling the products of winter’s hibernation can seem daunting - you’re not alone there. This spring, we’re taking a page from Kim and Kanye to help everyone cultivate their personal “minimalist monastery.” The benefits of decluttering and organizing are endless, including better time management skills, increased levels of focus and productivity, and even better sleep . Interested in all of those things but don’t know where to start? Transforming your space into a source of release from your busy life isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Organizational experts recommend breaking your space into smaller chunks - such as beginning to sort through your closet, then moving to your bathroom - to prevent feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand. They also recommend setting a timer while organizing a space, which can keep you focused and energized. Adding a living plant to your space has been shown to reduce stress and improve work performance (find a list of reasonably-priced live plants online here ). Looking to further spice up your space? This Good Housekeeping article breaks spring cleaning into 33 bite-sized sections to tackle.
Get Organized
Stuck at home? Now might be a good time to organize your workspace to keep your mind organized as well!  

For some easy and aesthetically pleasing organization techniques, check out Marie Kondo.

DIY? Here is a video that might interest you.

Need some tips on scheduling?
 SPOTlight | Donation Locations*
  • The Beacon | This organization serves the homeless population of Houston. They will also accept gently used scrubs. 
  • The Cottage Shop | All proceeds from this resale boutique go to The Women’s Home.
  • Dress for Success and Career Gear Houston | These locations take your gently used professional attire and use it to outfit those in need of an interview outfit. 

* Locations may be temporarily closed or have altered hours of operation due to "Stay Home Work Safe" order.
MS4 Advice
For me, organization has been key for juggling school work with my other commitments (whether it's academic senator duties or non-school like keeping up with family and friends). I'm personally a huge advocate for the Moleskine Weekly planners. They have one page with small boxes for each day of the week and the corresponding page is blank. I use mine religiously. On the week outlined page, I list out all the meetings, required classes, or social activities I am planning to attend in person as well as a general goal for what learning objective I'm trying to cover that day (e.g finish this chapter of pathoma) to keep me focused. I use the blank page to keep a running week to-do list. I've never been the kind of person that can plan minute-to-minute for activities, so committing to finishing my to-do list in the span of a week rather than every day is much more manageable for me. I carry it with me everywhere so I can quickly jot down anything I'm not completing immediately so I don't forget it! 
Another life saver has been Google Keep. You can download the app on your phone and share lists with other people. My husband and I use it to keep track of nearly everything: grocery shopping lists, Christmas present ideas, etc. I've learned in order to succeed in medical school I needed to stop expecting myself to "just remember" to send thank you cards or return phone calls I ignored because I was in the library. If I just write it down, I free up my brain to concentrate.

| Tori Lehrmann, MS4
Wellness Warriors

Welcome back to Wellness Warriors, our column that keeps you up-to-date regarding the latest-and-(hopefully)-greatest accomplishments of the Wellness & Resilience advocacy subcommittee. In the school-wide Independent Student Analysis survey conducted last year, students voiced concern over lack of protected time to attend health appointments, address personal needs, and attend interviews/conferences/wellness initiatives in clinical years. After researching the issue, we met with representatives of OASA and OEP to discuss a few key points. We asked that excused absences not count toward a student's rotation-specific allotment of days off. OASA and OEP previously agreed both on this policy and a policy stating that students are allowed 1 sick day per rotation without documentation and will ensure these agreed-upon policies are being implemented consistently across clerkships. Also, we proposed a Flex-Half Day (FHD) policy to be instituted in the MS3 curriculum; this item is still under discussion.

Please submit suggestions here:
 For updates, please visit this spreadsheet:
Thrive >> Survive

We hope you and your families are safe and well and are taking all of the necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. With today’s rapidly changing landscape, feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are completely justified, and we hope you know that the Wellness and Resilience team is here for you! Below are some tips to help you THRIVE in the coming weeks.

  1. Make your home workspace mimic your most productive workspace. If you work best in groups or need to be held accountable, set up a video call with your go-to study buddies! If you know it’s a bad idea to be in the same room as a bed or to be 20 feet from your pantry, make sure your study spot accounts for your not-so-good habits.
  2. Maintain your normal schedule. With family and friends readily accessible and pets eager to cuddle, following your typical schedule will help you and your loved ones respect your time. Let the people (and pets) in your life know that despite studying remotely, you still have to operate on a strict timeline. 
  3. Miss going to the gym? Try fitness apps or streamable workout classes. Losing access to machines and the weight rack does not mean your fitness goals have to screech to a standstill. Check out apps like Nike Training Club, which has dozens of free workouts using little-to-no-equipment, and Peloton, which offers (bike-free!) world-class fitness classes with a 90-day free trial. At-home workouts of all intensities can be found on YouTube and AmazonPrime. Meditation apps like Calm, Headspace, and Waking Up (free with an email to the maker) can help support your mental wellbeing and minimize stress.
  4. Stay connected with your loved ones and classmates. Make a daily effort to check on your family and friends. Don’t forget about your classmates! Keep cranking out those memes and sharing them with your peers. Afterall, we’re experiencing this unusual time under similar circumstances. We need one another to get through this. Y’all can even try out these virtual activities.
  5. Engage *safely* with the community. There is no shortage of ways to be useful to our community while in quarantine. High-risk, under-resourced populations, along with our fierce first responders and health professionals, need us now more than ever. For example, Gallery Furniture has numerous donation opportunities. Also, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston needs volunteers to make reassuring phone calls (can be done right from your couch!). To help, email Lauren and Alicia at IMGH, and let them know you are willing to volunteer (llewis@imgh.org and adominy@imgh.org).  
Thrive at UT
Thrive at UT is a free app designed to enhance UT student well-being and help busy students live their best life. Thrive helps you make small changes in your routine that have powerful long-term impacts.

Are conflicts or concerns causing you undue stress? Don’t forget about UTHealth’s newly created position: the Office of the Academic Ombuds. Robin Dickey, PhD, MA, LPC, is available as a listener, mediator, and coach for all members of our UTHealth family! Make an appointment today!
TAO | Therapy Assistance Online
The Student Health and Counseling Clinic is excited to announce a new wellness tool available to all students, faculty, and staff at UTH.  TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) is an interactive, self-guided, web-based program that consists of tools and educational materials to help you learn about and change how you think and feel. 
Brought to you by the McGovern Student Wellness & Resilience Committee
Newsletter Staff: Lauren Appel, Lauren Beal, Andrew Eck,
Ashley Ernst, Jay Garza, Ally Limmer, Kelly Masterson,
Malvi Mehta, Nisha Reddy, & Fatema Shipchandler
Questions, Comments, or Contributions to The Well,
please email MS.Wellness@uth.tmc.edu