As a practicing physician who sees more than 50 patients per week, I am seeing firsthand the consequences of the economic crisis as it affects individual working class people. What is my prescription for anyone suffering from the economic downturn?
Since the doctor/patient relationship is sacred to me, and my goal is to help people feel better, the advice I give is not always based on medical information but rather centered on social, psychological and lifestyle remedies that can greatly impact a patient’s life for the better.
As we navigate through these troubled times, my goal is to help patients survive and come out stronger and smarter on the other end. The economy WILL improve and we must be prepared and healthy so we can take advantage of the new opportunities that will become available to us.
Here are some nuggets of advice I give to my patients:
Turn off the news channel on your TV and stop reading alarmist news. If you insulate yourself from the often scary and pessimistic information out there, your life will seem a lot more manageable and your troubles will no longer be overwhelming.
Spend time with the ones you love. Share your feelings, fears and concerns with your spouse, friends and people who have your best interest at heart.
Surround yourself with positive people. Do not drown in someone else’s negativity. Avoid depressing thoughts. If someone else says something negative, do not absorb it. It doesn’t belong to you.
Perspective is the key to survival. Avoid the victim mode. You are in control of your life. Regardless of problems, you have total control over your attitude and the way you react to people.
Engage in community activities that are stress relievers and help you feel better about yourself and your situation. Help people in worse shape than you and be kind.
Exercise. Cardio and aerobic exercise increase hormone release that will make you feel better about yourself, give you a better perspective and of course help your heart.
If you need to speak to a doctor or mental health practitioner do not wait. Go see one sooner rather than later and make sure he/ she is the right one for you -- a positive, upbeat influence that provides reassurance and kindness.
Do not stay home and sulk. If you are out of a job, start looking for another job immediately. Be reasonable in your expectations. Sometimes it’s easier to get a lower level job and work your way up quickly.
Do not drown your sorrows in alcohol or other self-medications. They won’t solve your problems and will only make the problem worse.
Take a weekend off with the family. Even if just an hour away from home, a change of scenery will give you a better outlook.
Be aware of the warning signs of suicide and helping those of may be in danger to get help. The warning signs can be downloaded at: www.sprc.org/featured_resources/bpr/PDF/AASWarningSigns_factsheet.pdf.
If you feel suicidal, or know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
While this is a tough time for all, we don’t have to sink. We can and should use the hard times to make us stronger and kinder to ourselves and one another. The sun will come out tomorrow!
Dr. Erika Schwartz, MD, is Cinergy Health Medical Director (http://www.cinergyhealth.com/) based in NYC who has cared for more than 100,000 patients over the past 30 years and has written four best-selling books. She devotes much of her time helping those who don't have access to healthcare by volunteering and giving free educational seminars and consultations. Dr. Erika's ultimate goal is to empower people to take their health into their own hands and become responsible for creating better health and better lives for themselves. As one of the nation's recognized experts in the field of bioidentical hormones and an outspoken advocate for patient's rights, Dr. Erika Schwartz has testified before Congress and appeared on many popular television and radio programs.
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