MAY 2020 |
VOL 3 ISSUE 9

In this issue:

  • Calm in the Storm
  • Staying Active
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Social
  • TAO
  • Tasty Recipes
  • Thrive at UT
  • 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!
Calm in the Storm
After weeks of COVID-19 occupying seemingly every news story and social media post, it’s easy to feel frustrated and anxious regarding this mass uncertainty. Anticipation of new norms is the world’s recurrent refrain. Coping with difficult situations is something we in the medical field are trained to do - that is, when they happen to those around us. So frequently we think of ourselves last and ignore the signs that we are struggling with the unknown. And for the record, there is absolutely no shame in needing assistance with navigating these uncharted waters. Try the following strategies to help you cope!
  1. Run an experiment: Taking action, even in small ways, can help you regain control. If you’re feeling in a slump due to your newfound time at home, switch things up! Try a walk or an online exercise class, order food from a new restaurant, or take your studying outdoors. Experimenting with your routine can keep things fresh and help you live in the moment.
  2. Embrace short-term strategies: The future is impossible to predict; while this fact is by no means breaking news, it feels especially poignant now. Use what you’re sure of as an anchor, moving forward by grasping tightly to what you know and cherishing these certain elements. Don’t fall into the anxiety trap that is attempting to know the unknowable.
  3. Keep the lines of communication open: Don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed by fear. Your friends, family, and community are invaluable resources. Remember, physical isolation is not synonymous with emotional solitude.
Staying Active
Now we have the perfect excuse to not go to the gym, right? Wrong! Since stay-at-home orders have been extended, it is even more important that we stay active. According to the WHO, the problem most of us need to address is long periods of sitting or reclining. This can exacerbate fatigue and lessen motivation. An easy way to combat this is by getting up from our desks early and often for short periods of time. An ideal amount of time to sit is only 30 minutes before we should get up. In addition, you can combine this sitting break with an easy, at-home exercise such as planks, push-ups, or bridges; my personal favorite break activity is putting my legs up on a wall and letting the blood flow back to my body. These exercises keep blood in your brain to keep you working for longer and feeling better!
Bridge
Push-up
Legs up
Staying Social
Miss hanging out with your friends, family, or loved ones in person? Not to worry. There are plenty of fun ways you can stay in touch. Try out these ideas!
  • Game/Trivia Night: fire up Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype, and pick a virtual game to play! Popular ones right now include QuizUp, Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition, Words with Friends, or PlayingCards to play any standard 52-card deck game.
  • Lunch Break: instead of eating lunch with your friends in the LRC student lounge or McGovern Commons, plan a time to eat your lunch at home together over video chat. This can be planned for breakfast or dinner, too.
  • Movie Night: use Netflix Party, a new Google Chrome extension, to watch the same movie or TV show with others simultaneously. There’s even a real-time chat feature so you can talk while watching.
Staying Engaged
Many of us are dealing with cancelled summer plans and are trying to figure out how to make the most of this upcoming summer. Well, fear not--thousands of medical students, and millions of people, are being uprooted from their lives as well. You’re not alone! Instead of stressing over how to speak to this summer during residency interviews, think about all the activities, hobbies, and projects you’ve been putting off simply because you’ve never had the time. Here are some ways to make your summer meaningful:
  • Take it easy. This is already a stressful, tumultuous time for us all, and some extra down time could really just be a blessing in disguise. Netflix binge the series you’ve always wanted to watch. Make some movement on your Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ list. Finish up that painting or knitting project. Play videogames or fall down daily Youtube rabbit holes without the guilt of neglecting your studies.
  • Build a skill. Learn a new language, learn to code, or build your knowledge on a topic you’re curious about. The opportunities are endless with platforms like Coursera and edX offering thousands of free courses, led by faculty from world-class institutions. 
  • Start your own research project. Here is an user-friendly guide on how to conduct research from top to bottom. Be open about your end goal, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a research paper--consider writing an opinion article, starting a blog, developing a short film, or creating an art piece. Medium, Kevin MD, and social media are great places to publish your work.
  • Take part in remote COVID-related volunteer work. There is no shortage of help needed in this crisis. Lead a mask-sewing team, help create resource maps for low-income communities, synthesize new research for physicians into fact sheets, or help nonprofits or your local public health department conduct calls to our most vulnerable.
Tasty Recipes
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 financial aid support and advising. The school has already taken multiple steps in the right direction including instituting Financial Aid Office Hours and a Financial Wellness curriculum; however, the W&R advocacy subcommittee is seeking to augment these additions by creating a financial aid cheat sheet to help incoming students navigate financial aid, loans, COA, laptops, you name it... And your input is vital! See your email for a link to your class-specific survey.

Please submit suggestions here:
 For updates, please visit this spreadsheet:
Ombudsperson

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. 
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
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