“Heal Yourself” with a Little Help From Your Pediatrician: The Next Step Of My Professional Growth
November 12, 2020
I Ecosia (not googled) searched “Stretching Calming Youtube Video Hawaii” last night. I had the video on and the calming beach sounds while I did some simple stretching for 10 minutes. I had just a normal busy day in clinic. I had extended myself to doing bi-monthly VIDEO sessions with a family that is at a crisis point due to a common pediatric psychiatric diagnosis. The patient is in with the therapist but the appointment is not for another month, and it’s frustrating for both the family and myself. I happened to have a psychiatry book on this topic in my house. It has vetted therapy techniques to “Improve Your Daily Life and Take Back Your Peace of Mind, Calm Anxiety, Diasable Panic Triggers, Prevent Relapses and Setbacks, Manage Responses.” The author I just checked is the director for mental health training at our sister HMO up north. Now I definitely know I am in good hands!
I am sending to the family short lessons from the workbook for their child, and just checking up with them and seeing how they are doing. It is through the secure portal. I’m doing it for them, but I’m also doing it for myself. I’m getting to learn something so valuable that no one has ever taught me. I desperately need to learn for myself and for my patients. How do we heal ourselves?
How do we heal ourselves? With psychiatric diagnosis that meet DSM criteria – medication is part of the answer. But part of the answer and part of the answer for the rest of us that are suffering from the common modern ills of society is, how do we restore ourselves? Even with the incoming administration that is Pro-Environment, it won’t be enough. We have to restore ourselves. As with everything, I think for each person it will be something different. What I wanted to share with you that 100% these restorative activities don’t need to cost money. Indeed, anything that cost you money like fancy travel or green-washed high end products will not restore you. After you spend it, you’ll be stressed that you spent all that money and any healing you achieved will be buried under financial stress. And nothing is as anxiety provoking as financial worries.
How do you heal yourself? I actually don’t know the perfect answer. And you don’t know the perfect answer as well. The first step to healing youself is accepting the fact that you are worth healing and that is is your own journey. Isn’t that revolutionary? The first step is realizing that you are truly worth it and you deserve you. I often self-denigrate myself that I am narcissitic – and perhaps I was. But I had those elevated thoughts of my own self worth prior because I never prioritized myself. I always gave to everyone but myself. Mr. Plastic Picker and I never had our own bedroom until 5 years ago. In million dollar condos or fancy Spanish colonial homes that our friends saw on Facebook, we always gave the master bedroom up to our children or our in-laws. We slept in the living room, the hallway or shared with a small child. We never had our own bathroom. We were in our late 30s before we actually bought our own bedroom set and had our own toilet. I know this will still seem extravagant to other people, because we are always grateful to have even running water. But for us, the act of saying this is our bedroom and we get one too was very vital. This post is meant for the parents out there that give everything. Those that are truly selfish, won’t be reading Dr. Plastic Picker anyway. I am writing this for you, and you know who you are. You are the ones that make yourself ill caring for everyone else except for yourselves.
I told one of the parents yesterday that it’s taken me fifteen years to truly understand, “Put Your Oxygen On First.” Before you can help anyone, you need to be able to breath. “Put Your Oxygen On First” is your pediatrician allowing you to self-heal. Again, I don’t know what activities that will do this for you. Everyone is different. Everyone likes their soup seasoned differently, or their bread buttered a certain way (or no butter at all for vegans). But truly restorative activities should cost you nothing and should also probably help the earth.
Since your local litter-picking pediatrician LOVES lists. This is the purview of being a blogger! These are Five Self-Healing Activities Dr. Plastic Picker Recommends – For Me
- Picking Up Litter: Of course! I find it fun and it slows my brain down. I get some exercise, and work on fine motor skills. For me it’s always been semi-meditative and also a voluntary and benevolent action. I’ve written over 300 blogposts about it! My #1 self healing activity is litter picking. Also another reason why litter picking is a self-healing activity for me is that I’m a recovering long-distance runner. My fastest mile time is 5 minutes 12 seconds. I am a good runner and have been running for over 30 years. But running can be addictive in a dangerous way, and can wear on your joints. I decided about 2 years ago I needed to figure something else out, because I’ve known runners that persisted and ended up needing joint replacement surgery. Litter picking (as you can do this running, jogging, walking) is generally a gentle activity. I intend to keep all my own joints, thank you very much. Plus running really tapped into the uber-competitive side of me. Which is not self-healing. Costs: $0!
- Cooking with “Cheap” Fruits and Vegetables: I find it fun to learn to cook and work with fruits and vegetables. I purposefully am learning to cook more plant-rich foods with “cheaper” fruits and vegetables. I think it makes more sense, because good quality food never really correlated with expense. The idea that coconut oil and coconut milk was going to save the world, was really a marketing ploy. Plus coconut plantations in Thailand are exploiting wild primate labour. Ask me off-line and I’ll tell you all about it. I am having lots of fun trying to cook with onions, potatoes, cabbage, apples, bananas, peanuts, zuchinni and the common ingredients that don’t cost too much and that can be purchased in bulk. Costs: Uusally less than $5!!!
- Gentle Stretching and Weights: Last night was a huge advancement for me. I’ve been such a runner my whole life, that I never really learned to cross train. I refuse to spend money on expensive gym equipment or pay someone “to teach” me something. When the MD crowd goes right in joining fancy gyms and posting about their memberships, I go left and just search for it on the internet. Plus who has time? I need to blog and live my authenic life and that is not in some predetermined fitness program. Okay, I need to stop being judgey again. LOL. Anyway, ten minutes stretching and gentle weights <5 pounds while listening to something relaxing. For me, relaxing is usually beach sounds or something to do with Hawaii. At some point, I may become Dr. Plastic Picker – Retired Hawaii Edition!!! Costs: $0!!!
- Hugging My Children and Listening to Them Rattle On with my Ear to Their Backs! I love my children. But raising children is not always a healing task, especially the way Mr. Plastic Picker and I have decided to raise our children. They usually get the best of everything, and we get the left-overs. This is okay with us. I think our parenting is going well because our children are both humble yet confident. It’s not surprising though that our children are relatively loquacious. It’s hard to get a word at the kitchen table. As a parent especially of tweens and teeens, one of most important tasks is listeninig to our children. Active listening takes a lot of effort. I find listening to my children especially after a long day of listening to other pediatricians and patients, can be challenging. Anyway, I’ve discovered a great restorative way to listen to at least my tween daughter. She is still okay sitting on my lap, although she is taller than me. I hug her as she prattles on about all her friends, and I put my ear on her back right at the inferior lobes of her left and right lung. She talks and I hear about her day amplified. It’s really fun and I get to really hug and squeeze her, and react to her day through tactile squeezes and don’t say anything. Costs $0!!!
- Expressing Myself: And the most important self-healing action I’ve taken is to express myself. Again it took me over 40 years to realize that expressing yourself is not talking about things. It’s not complaining. Expressing yourself/myself is a deeper artistic messy way of working through emotions. Writing, blogging, poetry, art, photography, meditation, cooking, gardening. For everyone it is something different. It’s 100% not facebook nor again complaining. When you truly express yourself, it takes the sting about of whatever you needed to work through. Again I’m not sure what it is for you, but try to find it. It is so cathartic.
And for Dr. Plastic Picker, it is blogging that has been restorative. It only costs me $25 a year! Hopefully it costs you nothing to read this blog. I continue to have folks try to sell things to the readership, but I am strong and decline. This is supposed to be free fun for you and me. And more importantly, this is supposed to increase your wellness and my wellness and the wellness of the planet. And I’m 100% sure that we can do it without financially bankrupting ourselves.
Signing off your litter-picking pediatrician that is restored after sleeping, stretching, eating green peppers with shrimp last night, and relaxing Hawaian music to tackle another 30 patients today! And I need to finish my last clinic note of that special patient that I’m trying to help “take back your peace of mind, calm anxiety, disable panic triggers, prevent relapses and setbacks and manage responses.” This is advanced pediatrics 101. Graduate level stuff for sure.