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What doctors can do at home during COVID-19 pandemic: Dr. Purvish Parikh

M3 India Newsdesk Mar 27, 2020

With the extended lockdown in place, staying home all day can become anxiety-inducing or boring for some; even doctors. In this article, Dr. Purvish Parikh provides a few tips on how one can make best use of their free time during self-isolation.

For our comprehensive coverage and latest updates on COVID-19 click here.

Being forced to stay at home can feel frustrating and a waste of time for doctors and many would assume that it is not possible to do anything productive while at home. But, with some clever planning, it is possible to maximise your day, be productive, and also spend time with family.

Divide your day into structured segments

Increase sleep time, reduce awake hours, and laze a bit. Once awake, get ready as you would normally do on a regular work day (shower, change clothes, look and feel good), make a formal plan for the day and assign time slots accordingly. Be productive to be positive.

Take some time to relax

This opportunity is an antidote to your usual hectic schedule. Try digital detox. Initiate a hobby that was being put off due to lack of time. Read books. Ask your friends to share online resources such as ebooks and comics.

Spend quality family time

Appreciate your spouse; get to know them better. Catch with your kids, parents, grandparents, or grandkids. Watch movies together (don't forget to buy an add-on package for your home internet service as you are likely to burn through 50 GB daily!).

Play indoor games - classic ones like chess, ludo, monopoly, scrabble, cards, cluedo, snakes and ladders plus newer ones like rummikub, ticket to ride, azul, pandemic, catan, risk, exploding kittens, sequence, codenames, blokus, takeoff, score four, etc. Many of these games can be played online with other family members living elsewhere.

Reach out to friends and relatives who you had no time to contact earlier. You can even call to just say that you love them, to appreciate what they have done for you, to apologise, etc.

Complete pending assignments

Take a relook at your investment portfolio. Make sure your EMIs and SIPs can be fulfilled while income plummets. Also, take a look at your pending bills, tax planning, insurance, medical indemnity, and professional tax.

Become frugal; avoid unnecessary expenses. Make a new weekly expense list, keep sufficient cash on hand for lockdown).

Draft a will. Iirrespective of the ongoing pandemic, it is very important to have a proper will to save family members from a lot of problems in case of the unexpected. It can be handwritten at home using online templates and countersigned by two witnesses who have to only sign the last page verifying that you have signed the will in their presence. They do not have to know our read its contents.

Clean storage spaces

Get rid of unnecessary material and clutter at home.

Revise academic material

Update academic manuscripts for publication, PPT presentations for future lectures. Refresh/update online details about your professional achievements.

Enjoy new pleasant aspects

Revisit or make a bucket list. Realign life goals and priorities. Spend time thinking of what is really valuable to you. Appreciate what life has given you so far.

Think of and appreciate all the great qualities each of your family member has, which you may have overlooked all this time.

Continue upgrading professional skills

Attend a webinar, read publications, make a list of difficult cases, scan PubMed to see if you have missed anything, update your patient database.

Provide professional services

Reach out to patients with a simple list of dos and don'ts. Offer them the opportunity of remote consultation. Share details of consent, mechanism and fees for the same.

Don't forget physical fitness

There are several ways of remaining fit or losing those extra kilos at home. YouTube is full of videos by professional trainers that show you how to keep fit without any equipment. You can choose yoga, meditation, stretching, dance-based exercises etc.

Stay healthy

There are some simple points on how one can stay safe during the home quarantine. They may not have hard level one evidence - but are worth considering - like drinking hot liquids frequently (tea, coffee, milk, water) or taking steam inhalations twice a day.

Get ready for a new normal

COVID-19 has already changed the world. And it is still accelerating. Bigger changes await us. Economic implications will be far reaching and long term. Think about the same - not to worry but to be better prepared for the new future that awaits us all.

Remember, it's all in the mind. There is no time to get bored. Grab the opportunity and make the most of it!


Disclaimer- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of M3 India.

The author, Dr. Purvish Parikh is the Group Oncology Director & Professor of Medical Oncology at Shalby Cancer & Research Institute, Ahmedabad.

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