May 13, 2020
Today we are launching our new blog to coincide with National Women’s Health Week, in hopes of reminding each of you to check in on your own wellness. The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has required us to take on greater responsibilities in addition to juggling our existing roles as family members, neighbors, colleagues, and friends.
Many women are leading the frontline efforts as first responders, healthcare workers and essential personnel. Others find themselves balancing working from home with caregiving responsibilities and managing remote learning for their children. Daily and weekly activities, such as exercising and grocery shopping have become challenging as we all navigate this “new normal”. Stay-at-home orders may lead to some women struggling to find time for themselves as they balance conflicting responsibilities. Others may experience loneliness due to limited in-person interaction outside of their households. In addition, the stress of COVID-19 has likely impacted sleep and/or exacerbated mental health conditions like depression. Personally, I have found virtual check-ins to be a great way to stay connected with my family and community. Now more than ever, it is important for us to prioritize our physical, mental, and emotional health to continue to fulfill our many roles and responsibilities.
In recognition of National Women’s Health Week, OWH staff are sharing the many ways in which we maintain our personal wellness during this unprecedented time. I hope these tips help inspire you to take a moment to reflect on your own health.
Kaveeta P. Vasisht M.D., Pharm.D.
Associate Commissioner for Women’s Health
I try to find a few minutes each day for the things I love! Some of my favorite activities are practicing my yoga techniques, cooking a new recipe, and crafting (for my homeschoolers!).
In mid-March, I cleaned out a small section of my basement and hung a heavy bag, which allows me to continue training in Muay Thai (Thai boxing – the national sport of Thailand) virtually! My ajarn (teacher) sends lesson plans and I send video clips for feedback and accountability. My daily heavy bag workouts are keeping me strong physically and mentally. As a bonus, I have started making a “Rocky-style” training montage video using short segments of my recorded lessons to visualize my progress!
In the morning, I educate myself about COVID-19 by checking for news updates on how to prevent getting infected or infecting others. I make a point to be especially kind to people I encounter since so many people have worries greater than mine. I wave, even if 6 feet apart from someone and you are both wearing masks.
I’m participating in the weekday yoga sessions run by other FDA employees, as well as trying other video workouts. I’m also reading journal and news articles so that I stay informed and am prepared to follow public health guidelines for essential activities such as grocery shopping.
I’m trying to stay mentally and physically healthy with FDA’s lunchtime yoga classes, meditation, walks with my family and dogs, and enjoying the beauty of Spring as I work in the yard and garden. I also serve on our Community Care Club, to assist neighbors with errands or getting supplies, and I registered to serve if needed as a pharmacist in the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps.
My family has started to exercise together by taking online fitness classes a few times during the week. Everyone participates despite the 35-year age difference between the youngest and oldest. In fact, it has become the highlight of our week and something we all look forward to.
As a momma to two young boys currently at home, I am making sure we all spend a little bit of time outside each day as weather permits. I also love opening the windows and letting as much fresh air in the house as possible when it’s nice out!
Exercise has been my “go-to” activity for maintaining good mental and physical health while social distancing as a result of COVID19. Managing feelings of fear, isolation, and sadness brought on by COVID19 social distancing has been a huge challenge for me. Fresh flowers, exercising, participating in family “Zoom” parties, and experimenting with aromatherapy have provided a really good mood boost for this menopausal mom on lockdown.
In the midst of busy days and weeks with little ones, my daily wellness goal is to carve out some dedicated time to myself. My “personal time” is filled with virtual gatherings to commemorate birthdays and other special occasions, exercise, reading, and dance parties with my toddler (because she refuses to let me be alone for too long).
To help maintain my overall wellness, I keep my stress level down by regularly checking in on my loved ones and friends. This brings me peace of mind and allows me to provide and receive encouraging words and assist those in need. Most of all, it allows me to say, “I LOVE YOU!”
We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe throughout this difficult time. Visit this webpage for the latest COVID-19 information from the FDA, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.