Strategy #6: Synergize and integrate
All of life is interdependent, each part no more or less important than any other. Is oxygen more important than hydrogen? Is H2O different from the oxygen and hydrogen atoms that make it?
During a pandemic, it’s important for us to appreciate each other’s contributions and work synergistically for the good of the whole. Our survival depends on valuing each other and our planet. This perspective informs the practice of physical distancing and staying home to minimize the spread of the virus and its impact on the health care system, regardless of whether an individual belongs in the high-risk group or not.
Many high-achieving people train in extremely competitive settings in which survival depends on individual performance rather than mutual cooperation. This training process encourages a disregard for others. Good leaders, however, understand that cooperation and mutual respect are essential to personal well-being.
Strategy #7: Practice self-care
There are five aspects of our lives that depend on our self-care: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and social. Unfortunately, many kind-hearted people are kinder to others than to themselves. There is really only one person who can truly take care of you properly, and that is yourself. In Seattle, where many suffered early in the pandemic, holistic psychiatrist David Kopacz, MD, is reminding people to nurture themselves in his post, “Nurture Yourself During the Pandemic: Try New Recipes!”6 Indeed, that is what many must do since eating out is not an option now. If you find yourself stuck at home with more time on your hands, take the opportunity to care for yourself. Ask yourself what you really need during this time, and make the effort to provide it to yourself.
After the pandemic is over, will you have grown from the experiences and become a better person from it? Despite our current circumstances, we can continue to grow as individuals and as a community, armed with strategies that can benefit all of us.
1. Covey SR. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster; 1989.
2. Lee AW. Townsend Letter. 2009 Jun;311:22-3.
3. Fromm E. To Have or To Be? New York: Continuum International Publishing; 2005.
4. Rushlau K. Integrative Healthcare Symposium. 2020 Feb 21.
5. Gerbarg PL. Mind Body Practices for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Presentation at Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Conference. 2016 Sep.
6. Kopacz D. Nurture Yourself During the Pandemic: Try New Recipes! Being Fully Human. 2020 Mar 22.
Dr. Lee specializes in integrative and holistic psychiatry and has a private practice in Gaithersburg, Md. She has no disclosures.