Emotionally Connecting While Social Distancing

In Dr. Karen M. Pendleton, Health and Beauty by Lola Magazine

I pray that you and your beautiful families are well and continue to be healthy. First and foremost, be sure to tend to your own health and well-being and take good care of your family and friends.  You may have noticed that although nature has brought us to a halt, our minds are busier than ever — so many doubts, questions, and fears.  People everywhere are more anxious and stressed than ever. People need help to calm their minds so they can find peace and practical answers.

In response to the current world crisis, I was inspired to create various platforms via Zoom to facilitate patient care, AskiDrKaren membership engagement and contact with various “tribes.”  Additionally, I created access to me for questions and answers through scheduling a Zoom Call via www.DrKarenOnCall.com

Being the nurturing person that I am, I have collaborated with other professionals and companies for resources to help people through this difficult time.

As in any difficult time, the disaster is followed by a wave of positivity. A tremendous amount of thought and effort has gone into this initiative, and I believe the results will be beneficial to many people in this time of need.  This is an excellent time for each of us to immerse ourselves deeper in knowledge and wisdom of health and wellness by practicing the techniques I have and continue to teach.  Many inspiring stories have been circulating about how people are helping others. This is a great time to create your own inspiring story.

I certainly want to do my part in contributing to flattening the novel Coronavirus curve by socially distancing. As many of you know, I abide by 10 Tenets of Healthy Lifestyles. One of which is Healthy Relationships (Tenet #2). So emotionally connecting is very important. In the beginning of our state’s lockdown (03/23/2020), my partner, Dr. Jack Ward, and I formulated a plan to continue with our personal and professional lives in this “new normal.”

From a personal standpoint, we decided to continue to support our local eateries such as Caspiana Catering/Glow Alchemy Kitchen, Zuzul Coastal Cuisine and We Olive and Wine Bar. Given our Tenet #7, Nutrition and Gut Health, we embraced the opportunity to shop strategically at Whole Foods Market during the designated “senior citizen hour.” Remember we are in our sixties! These unprecedented times have allowed us to use some delicious recipes that we received from my medical school, Tulane University, and its Center for Culinary Medicine. Additionally, I have expanded the use of a Christmas present, my Smart Wi-Fi Instant Pot.

Now, keeping with the personal aspect of our lives, we have had to restructure the ways in which we were achieving Body Movement (Tenet #9). We have been missing our “tribes” at Orangetheory Fitness, Stretch Studio Shreveport, Club Pilates Shreveport, Sleek Physique and the YMCA. Dr. Jack was on target with training for his 12th Ironman competition scheduled on 05/31/2020, in Tulsa Oklahoma. He did receive notice of its cancellation, but he is registered for the same event in 2021.

We have continued to run the streets and are doing our own weight-resistant exercises. Utilizing the many virtual workouts that our professionals are offering has been priceless. Most of the aforementioned studios/clubs have virtual workouts to keep us moving and accountable. One of the facilitators at the 2019 I Am That Woman Retreat, Yogini Kimberli Boyd, has become my Tuesday and Thursday alarm clock with her 5:30 a.m. chair yoga session.

Professionally speaking, I have expanded the use of our HIPPA-compliant electronic health records platform, www.gethealthie.com. Within the platform is Zoom, and this has definitely allowed continuity of care for all of my patients in Shreveport and in New Orleans. Most recently Dr. Jack and I were able to receive 16.5 continuing medical education (CME) hours by participating in a livestream Bale Doneen Preceptorship. Now, we can add to our resumes Arteriologists. Having this knowledge enables us to offer our patients even earlier detection of heart disease (heart attack and/or stroke) and an effective management program to prevent and/or reverse heart disease.

From a fun and engaging focus, these unparalleled times have allowed me to come up with some creative opportunities. Every Monday at noon, I offer a “Virtual Coffee Break with Dr. Karen.”

Here is the description:

“A gathering of women after the end of the lockdown morning activities, i.e., breakfast, homeschooling and chores. We can see each other and meet new friends; and catch up on all things happy, maybe with a little update on these unprecedented times.”

On Fridays at 5 p.m. I lead a “Virtual Happy Hour with Dr. Karen.”

Here is the description:

“A gathering of women at the end of the lockdown week. We can see each other and meet new friends. We can catch up on all things that happened during the week and share plans for the weekend with our favorite beverage… alcohol is definitely acceptable!!!”

During one of my Virtual Coffee Breaks, a lady from upstate New York discovered my activity on Eventbrite. She decided to register for it and we had a delightful exchange. At one of my Virtual Happy Hours, I shared a presentation on Sleep Fitness (Tenet #6). The reasoning behind that decision was for those in attendance to understand the association of quality sleep and our immunity during COVID-19. The 2nd full week of April, I substituted the Virtual Happy Hour date from that Friday, April 17th to Wednesday, April 15th. Why? Well… it was my 62nd Birthday! I had such a fun virtual birthday party. YAY!!!

On Palm Sunday, 04/05/2020, I organized a Virtual Palm Sunday Brunch with my line sisters of Alpha Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., along with our Deans of Pledgees. Talk about a lovely gathering! Some of us had not seen each other since we pledged some 42 years ago (1978). So many memories and so much love!

In summary, from a health standpoint social distancing is of utmost importance, as we all must do our part to “flatten the curve.” But social distancing should not negate our continued and hopefully enhance emotional connections.

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Dr. Karen

DISCLAIMER: All of the information found in this article is based on the opinion of the author Karen M. Pendleton, M.D.  The information is meant to motivate readers to make their own health decisions after consulting with their own health care providers.  All readers should consult a doctor before making a health change, especially those that are related to a specific diagnosis or health condition.  No information in this article should be relied on in determining a diet, making a medical diagnosis or determining a treatment for a medical condition. The information in this article is not intended to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare practitioner and is not intended as medical advice. No information in this article should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.