Primary care’s role in your wellbeing

As primary care providers, we play an integral role in shaping the lives of our patients in critical ways. We are in the unique position to delve into a patient’s unique biomedical, psychosocial, economic, and cultural background, which allows us to understand each patient at a deeper level with a nuanced perspective. This holistic view informs the development of highly personalized treatment plans that have the power not only to address biomedical causes of disease but also transform behavioral root causes into avenues of self-empowerment and self-healing.

When a new patient walks into my office, I first try to take the time to listen and understand their life story and perspective to inform the development of their individualized care plan. Secondly, I focus on the core tenants of healthy living, including 7 to 9 hours of sleep, drinking more water, eating primarily a plant-based diet while minimizing red meat, dairy, and sugar intake, meditating for 10 minutes daily, practicing 10 minutes of yoga or tai chi daily, spending time in the sunshine with nature, and connecting meaningfully with others. In addition, I encourage patients to create a daily journal of three things they are grateful for, three things that went well in their day, and three things they would like to have happen in their “perfect” world as a tool to help unlock the healing power of positive thinking.

By using these methods, I have seen significant positive changes in patients’ lives and wellbeing. In fact, I have found over the years that addressing these core principles of wellness can often help improve a patient’s health outcomes more than a prescription. Especially in an era where doom scrolling and loneliness have become epidemics, reminding patients to slow down, take their paid time off from work, kiss their children, and take in the sunshine are often the most underrated but simplest ways through which patients find joy and overall better quality of life. The most fulfilling part of my work is to see a shift in patients’ attitudes and energy levels while also noticing significant positive changes in their vital signs, reduced stress and fatigue, improved sleep, and increased weight loss. By guiding patients in identifying and developing strategies to address underlying behavioral factors, the primary care physician becomes merely a facilitator in the patient’s journey to surpass barriers within themselves, cultivate self-compassion, and live their best version of a fulfilled life.

Against the backdrop of a culture of overachievement, overworking, and physician burnout, primary care physicians, by setting boundaries, slowing down, and filling our own cups first, can show up as our authentic and fully present selves for our patients. Perhaps then we can move towards not only treating our patients’ ailments but also healing them while healing ourselves. My hope is that we, as imperfect humans, come together, connect, and share each other’s vulnerabilities in order to elucidate our strength as a community.

Preyasha Tuladhar is a family physician.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top