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Take Care: A place to start with self-care

Steve Wengel, MD, and Sarah Fischer, PhD

We are introducing a new series of wellness-themed articles called “Take Care” that will run occasionally in UNMC Today.

These articles are intended to remind us of the need to make self-care a priority. We are so used to caring for others – our families, our co-workers, our trainees, our patients – that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves.

Join us for some practical ways to build caring for ourselves into our busy days. We hope you enjoy this series and also hope you share your own stories of developing new ways to care for yourselves.

Between global stressors, such as natural disasters and violence, personal stressors like family, personal health or financial concerns, and work stressors, it can be difficult to find a place to start stress management and self-care.

Humans are resilient, able to bounce back and persevere in the face of adversity. But how does one actually take steps toward effective stress management in self-care?

Here are our goals for the “Take Care” series: 

  • Normalize the fact that stress has a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being: About 25% of adults have experienced a mental health disorder, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, substance use disorders or disorders related to trauma. Stress increases the likelihood of developing a mental health disorder, can cause recurrences of symptoms and can make it more difficult to address symptoms. More generally, stress can cause sleep difficulties, increase irritability, damage problem-solving abilities and impair emotion regulation. Stress also can contribute to physical health problems, such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity and more. 
  • Start a conversation about wellness: We want to open the door to having more discussions about the difficulties that people are facing and how to deal with them, rather than hiding suffering. 
  • Promote the idea that it is worth spending time and energy on wellness: You’re worth it. There are small things you can do to start prioritizing your own wellness.  
  • Provide information about enhancing all dimensions of wellness: That includes the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational and social dimensions of wellness. You are a whole person, with multifaceted needs. 
  • Provide practical wellness tools that you can reasonably integrate into your day: We can’t solve the ills of the world today, but we can take small steps to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. 

Please take a moment for yourself as we help you prioritize your well-being. And take care.

Steve Wengel, MD, is UNMC’s assistant vice chancellor for campus wellness and a professor in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. Sarah Fischer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. Both Dr. Wengel and Dr. Fischer are with the UNMC Wellness Office. 

1 comment

  1. Kenneth Zoucha says:

    Thank you very much for this effort! In medicine, there can be a fostering of the idea that asking for help may not be acceptable. This noble calling asks us to place our patients first, our co-workers and our family/friends second, and ourselves last. “I Am Third” could be the moto. Wellness is very individualized, for some it is adding in wellness activities, for others it is taking activities away for time to rest and recharge! For most, I believe it is a combination of both! Thanks for the ongoing conversation. It can be easy to forget in the business of medicine. Wellness can allow each and every one of use to be awesome for our patients, our co-workers, our families and ourselves! Keep up the good work, Drs. Wengel and Fischer

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