JAN 2021 |

In this issue:

  • COVID Vaccine
  • Hot Topics
  • Keep Slaying It
  • MS4 Advice
  • New Year, New Growth
  • SPOTlight
  • TAO
  • Thrive at UT
  • Winter Salads
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!
Keep Slaying It
As multifaceted beings, tending to our wellness can seem like an overwhelming task often avoided by another binge of The Office. While there’s a time and place for a good binge, there’s an approach that you might find more beneficial in optimizing your daily slay. Researchers define 7 Dimensions of Wellbeing: Social, Emotional, Intellectual, Environmental, Physical, Occupational, and Spiritual to help us understand all the facets of our lives that need attention…not all equally, or simultaneously.

While it may be tempting to nurture the areas we’re naturally drawn to and duck those we’re less enthusiastic about, neglecting an area over time can compromise our overall wellbeing. The good news is we can experience major benefit with even minor effort. Small incremental change is progress and improves the likelihood of sustainable outcomes. Choose one of the 7 dimensions, implement a moderate lifestyle modification, and allow yourself the time needed for it to become a habit. Consistency will allow the habit to become second nature and provide you the opportunity to shift attention to another dimension. Focus on strategies that best align with what you most enjoy and forgive yourself if old habits reemerge. Progress is imperfect, at times, and wellness is a journey that calls for ongoing attention – find ways to enjoy the ride. 
New Year, New Growth
Daily Movement | There’s no better way to kick off the new year than by establishing a daily movement goal. Whether it be a good stretch routine, a walk, or a bike ride around the neighborhood, your brain and your body will welcome the study break.

Love Our Earth | Join the green scene and reduce your carbon footprint by reducing and reusing. Here are some of our favorite ways for being more environmentally conscious this year:
  • Use reusable items - grocery bags, silicone reusable lock bags, produce bags, silicone food covers, baking mat, cotton pads, dryer balls, sweeper pads … pretty much anything you can think of!
  • Buy secondhand - When you have the itch to shop, why not consider shopping secondhand? Online stores like thredUP, Poshmark, and Depop have made buying secondhand during COVID extremely convenient, and give you an opportunity to donate/sell your well-loved items.
  • Choose whole foods - Rather than buying pre-packaged or processed foods on your next grocery run, choose nutrient-dense whole foods instead. You can do this at your local grocery store by choosing one-ingredient produce and lean meats, or you can buy seasonal foods directly at your local farmer’s market.

Document Your Year | Keeping a journal or personal blog can be a great way to decompress, and it serves as a method of documenting your memories throughout the year. To spice things up, you can purchase apps like 1 Second Everyday to “vlog” your year in video snippets!
COVID Vaccine
The COVID vaccine - easily the most anticipated innovation of 2020. As budding medical professionals, we’ll likely get plenty of questions from family and friends about whether or not to trust the vaccine. How do we de-politicize it and give people the straight up facts? Here are some resources for your education and for sharing, as needed.

For you:

For your non-medical friends (from most simple to a little less simple):

While it’s tempting for many to rely solely on news sources for their COVID vaccine information, here are a few medical sources:
Spotlight | Get Around H-Town
Whether you’ve been quarantining in Houston, or are returning to the city after a hiatus, there are many viable and inexpensive ways to get around the city and explore everything it has to offer! 

  • B-Cycle Program | Houston’s Bike Sharing program is relatively new, but there are currently 90 stations with 635 bikes available around the city ($3 for 30 minutes). Additionally, if you have a membership, you can take unlimited 60-minute rides for $13/month or $79/year
  • Bus | If you are looking to travel to other parts of the city, the bus has you covered, as it stops at every other corner on most of Houston’s streets. Additionally, if you are commuting a longer distance, you can opt for Park and Ride - pay $2-4.50 to park near a Metro stop and take the bus/rail to your destination.
  • Parking Panda | If you do happen to have a car, but just can’t figure out the tricky Houston parking scene, download the Parking Panda app. It allows you to reserve parking in downtown Houston.
  • Rail | Houston’s Rail service offers fast and accessible transportation in the center of the city, including Downtown, TMC, and the Museum District. 
  • Ride Sharing | Lastly, you can opt to use companies like Uber or Lyft to get around the city.
MS4 Advice
The transition is stark between MS2 and 3 years. Probably the most uncomfortable transition after coming to med school in the first place. One of the things that helps with the transition, and helps you continue to thrive, is to NOT let attendings and residents intimidate you. Don’t do it. Even though we’re trainees, we’re all adults, so you no longer have to accept being treated like a child. Plus medical school is hard enough, without the added mental weight of feeling intimidated. So my advice is to advocate for yourself. Always.

If you’re hungry, go eat. Thirsty? Go drink. Have to use the bathroom? Go for it. Feeling lightheaded? Sit down. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission, but you can kindly let the team know what you need, then go do it. As a medical student, there are few times when we are so desperately needed that we can’t go take a pee break, even during surgery (unless you’re holding a vital organ in your hands or something). So take care of yourself, because it’s hard to slay when you don’t feel physically well or your mind is full of worries about what a resident might say if you tell them you’re getting lunch instead of ask. I promise it isn’t worth the stress and you will still graduate and become a doctor while being well fed and hydrated. New semester, new you. Advocate for yourself.

| Ayana Taylor, MS4
Winter Salads
Hot Topics
Click on a topic for tips on tackling the issue
Houston Happenings
Now - Jan 2 | Holiday in the Gardens, Moody Gardens, Galveston
Now - Jan 3 | City Lights at Avenida Houston, GRB
Now - Jan 3 | Galaxy Lights, Space Center Houston
Now - Jan 10 | Zoo Lights, Houston Zoo
Now - Jan 30 | Sugar Land Holiday Lights, Sugar Land
Pasadena Convention Center
Jan 2 | Karate Kid Drive-In Movie, Smart Financial Centre
Jan 16, 19, & 23 | Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Jan 30 - 31 | Monster Jam

Color Factory | Experiential Art Exhibit
Discovery Green | Ice Skating, Skating with the Stars, Weekly Yoga

Are conflicts or concerns causing you undue stress? Contact 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! https://www.uth.edu/evpara/academic-ombuds.htm
TAO | Therapy Assistance Online
The Student Health and Counseling Clinic is excited to share a 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. 
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.
Brought to you by the McGovern Student Wellness & Resilience Committee
Questions, Comments, or Contributions to The Well,
please email MS.Wellness@uth.tmc.edu