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Keep Walking, Keep Moving

I almost named this post, "Why I love walking." Two years ago, I started filming walking videos for the Billion Steps Challenge in January 2020. Then, COVID hit, and my walking videos became about encouraging other people to get outside, how the diffusion of molecules made the disease less likely to spread, how being outside boosted your immune response, and also increased vitamin D production. My walking videos became about my health and encouraging others to be outside because "outside was okay." If you check out  How Healthcare Works on Instagram or the How Healthcare Works YouTube channel , you can see the original walking videos from the past two years.  I originally started the walking videos in Grain Valley, Missouri. Because of the cold weather in Missouri, many days I would walk around my living room or my basement or do steps in my home just to reach a few thousand steps a day. As time went on, I needed to get more creative with the steps because I was try
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Speak Up. Speak Out. Use Your Voice.

The day I made the walking video, "Speak Up. Speak Out. Use Your Voice," the sun was streaming through the trees on the Greenbelt here in Idaho. I found this gorgeous spot on the trail where the water tumbled among the trees, and the sun cast slits of light among the leaves and the water. The vision was breathtaking. Like something from a movie. I held my iPhone up to record the video, something that usually comes out without much rehearsing. This time, I did at least 30 takes of a one-minute video. "What is wrong with me?" I kept asking myself. "Why can't I do this?" I knew the answer, though. I knew that my problem was, and is, that I felt for years that I couldn't speak up, speak out, or use my voice. I felt so unheard and so invalidated. I told of struggles I was going through in life, and the response was "be positive" "stop complaining" or "you are exaggerating." I tried reaching out to people I thought cared, bu

Talk About Your Feelings

Have you ever had someone tell you that they don't want to hear about your feelings? Or maybe someone you work with told you they don't want to hear about your personal life? In response you feel embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, and rejected. You may also develop  feelings of insecurity, jealousy, or social anxiety. Maybe you decided to withdraw from that person or from people in general because you thought they just didn't care how you felt. You felt emotionally invalidated.  What is Emotional Invalidation? Simply stated, emotional invalidation is a disregard and dismissal of someone else's feelings. Examples of emotional invalidation could be telling you that you are "overreacting" or that "other people have it worse than you" or "that didn't happen" or you are "too much drama." Gaslighting is another form of emotional invalidation. When anyone tries to convince you that your feelings are not justified, or valid, that is emot

Take Time for Yourself

It's the end of a long day. You feel exhausted. You spent a whole day at work or at home giving more than all you had. You are glad to reach the end of the day and feel like you have nothing left to give. All you want to do is sit down and be done with your day. Nothing else.  When you do sit down, you have demands at home. A spouse wants to go out for dinner, go dancing, and go spend time with friends. Your kids need a ride to class. Your mother calls and wants you to help her plan your upcoming family reunion. The neighbor wants to talk to you because your lawn service has mowed over the property line again. You have a pile of bills to pay in your home office, and your own work to do at home. You feel like you spend 60 hours working at your actual job, and then another 50 working at home every week. When do you have time for yourself? Photo by Jeanette R. Harrison, MPH One of the keys to dealing with a busy life and addressing burnout is making time for yourself. Taking time out

Bouncing Back from Burnout

I usually have some soft lead-in to my pieces, but this time I'm not going to bring it in nice and easy. We aren't good at dealing with trauma among individuals in this country. People are told to "stop playing the victim" or people say "it will be okay" like those things are going to somehow make someone be better tomorrow. Like somehow telling a person to "stop playing the victim" makes them think, "Oh, yeah, you're right. I'm totally responsible for this choice, and that's why this is so hard on me." Let me lay it down. No one who was a care provider or a healthcare professional during the pandemic is playing the victim in any way. Yes, they agreed to take care of people. That was their choice. However, the pandemic, the incredible overwhelment of it all, the feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, seemingly unending pressure, harassment from communities, patients, and families -- none of that was what anyone signed up for.

Get Your Mammogram, Ma'am

I don't know about you, but I am rather fond of my breasts. In fact, I would like to keep them, thank you very much. For my 50th birthday, I decided to give myself the gift of health and had a series of cancer screenings including a mammogram. Having a mammogram can be a little bit scary because the intent is to find out if you have breast cancer or not. However, knowing is better than not knowing. Keeping that in mind, knowing what will happen during the mammogram or breast cancer screening process is also extremely helpful. THE MAMMOGRAM I was referred by my primary care provider to an appropriate location to receive my mammogram. I arrived on-time, mask on, for my mammogram. I sat at the admission desk and filled out some paperwork for my provider, which included my insurance or payment information. Before I go further, I would like to mention there is assistance available if you feel like you can't afford a mammogram. The name varies in every state. In Nebraska, the program

How "Bragging About You" Started

The first half of my career, I worked in clinics, hospitals, and health systems. I led several teams, and it was always important to me to get the teams to gel right away. That helped the team work better together to achieve a common goal. At the beginning of every team meeting, we would have some sort of ice breaker that was specifically designed to show how important each person was and demonstrate what they brought to the table. One of the icebreakers I liked to use was "Tell me two special or unique things about yourself." The first time, in a team of 10, at least three people could not tell me anything special about themselves. When I became a faculty member, I found the same thing to be true. Adult students who were studying to be healthcare administrators had a hard time telling me what was special or unique about themselves or what they brought to the table. I asked myself, "How can these people get other people to believe in them if they don't believe in the