As medical professionals, we have a strong desire to help those in need, and our patients can often benefit from our experience and wisdom. While providing them with medication can help with persistent viruses or diseases, we can also propose lifestyle changes that will benefit most people. These simple fixes can improve your patients’ overall mental health.
Adding Flower or Plants to the Home
It turns out that adding a few house plants and flowers to the home can ward off depression and keep you happy and healthy long term. There’s ongoing research that suggests that indoor flowers and plants purify the air, reduce blood pressure, stress and give off a calming effect. You don’t even have to leave your home to buy a bouquet of roses, as there are plenty of online retailers that offer flower delivery across the USA like The Bouqs Co.
Encourage Social Interaction
Your patient may have recently been laid off from their job, or they are unable to see their friend or family due to their location or persistent lockdowns. Encourage them to speak to their family members or friends over the phone regularly so they have someone to talk to during stressful times. If they have trouble making friends, suggest meeting new ones on online message boards, through online clubs, or in Zoom conversations.
Add an Exercise Routine
Gyms may be closed, but that doesn’t mean your patients can’t stay active while at home. Most people have a sedentary lifestyle which can lead to depression and added weight gain. Exercise is excellent for the brain and the body, and you don’t even need to tell your patients to commit to 40 minutes a day. Even 10 minutes of exercise a day for your sedentary patients can impact their emotional health, improve memory, improve sleep, and relieve stress.
Find Some Way to Relax
While some patients may relax too much, others are likely swamped with work or other responsibilities that make it difficult for them to shut their brains off. Ask them if they have an issue exercising, even when off work, and suggest a daily mindfulness practice. Studies show that meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help reduce overall stress levels and improve mental health in all patients, even those with diagnosed anxiety disorders.
Make Downtime a Priority
Some of your patients are fond of working long hours – or so they say. Most of us don’t actually want to work as much as we do, but we do so out of necessity. However, leisure time is necessary for your patients’ mental and emotional health, so suggest that they take time out of their day to relax beyond a meditation practice. Ask them to take the time to indulge in hobbies and activities they enjoy as long as they aren’t destructive or detrimental to their health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Foods that can help improve your patients’ mood will have large sources of omega-3s, which they can get from fish, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and peanuts. Ask them to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, especially avocados, leafy greens, beans, and fresh fruits such as blueberries. If your patients are having a difficult time planning their meals, you can supply a meal plan or recommend them to a nutritionist.
Encourage a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep is essential for helping your patients maintain optimal health and well-being, but few of them actually get enough of it. When it comes to health, sleep is just as vital as a balanced diet and regular exercise. Ask your patients if they are sleeping 7-9 hours a night and recommend using some relaxing techniques before bed to induce melatonin. Encourage them to keep their phone and blue screens away from their beds during the night.