Physical Well-Being During COVID-19

Man picking out fruit at farmer's market.We all know the tips for staying well – get enough sleep, eat healthy foods in sensible quantities and get regular exercise. During the coronavirus pandemic we have added hand washing, masks, and social distancing to the list of important behaviors.

Despite knowing what we should do, sometimes we just do not do what is best for us due to personal barriers or sometimes because of deterrents at work. UNM HSC wants to make it as easy as possible for you to make the best choices for your physical wellness.

The Latest Safety Guidelines

Stay informed about the latest recommendations on how to keep you and your family safe from COVID-19.

COVID Safety Tips for a Day in the Hospital

Though specific policies may differ from one department or environment to another, there are common practices that help protect you and others if you work, study, or serve in a clinical setting.

  • For the latest information on HSC policies related to Co-Vid, please see the UNM HSC CoVid-19 website.
  • For up-to-date guidelines on the hospital team caring for COVID patients, visit Zinc/Covid-19 Team Orientation & Operations.
  • Using the hospital intranet or your secure VPN access, find the latest guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • To learn how to put PPE on safely, watch this video on PPE donning.
    • To learn how to take off PPE safely, watch this video on PPE doffing.

Before Work

  • Leave belts, jewelry and anything that cannot be high temperature washed at home.
  • Come to work clean shaven and without make-up.
  • Protect your skin with hand cream free of fragrance or irritants, such as retinol or those labeled “anti-aging.” Consider fragrance-free products with dimethicone, polyuronic acid or shea butter.

At the Hospital

  • Change into clean scrubs upon arrival and leave your street clothes in a non-patient care area.
  • Clean your hands and wear a procedural mask in patient care areas.
  • Avoid touching your face and minimize unnecessary contact with equipment, door handles, keyboards, etc.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Stay six feet from other people during work, breaks and meals.
  • Change scrubs after interactions with patients that may have led to contact with droplets or other bodily fluids.
  • Follow PPE guidance for donning and doffing.
  • Clean your hands and remove scrubs before leaving a patient care area.
  • Sanitize your stethoscope, badge, pager, etc.
  • Shower at work before you leave, if possible.
  • Leave your scrubs in the designated bin.
  • Wear your street clothes when you leave.

At Home After Work

  • Leave your shoes outside.
  • Shower before interacting with anyone if you did not shower at work.
  • Wash everything you wore to work at high temperature.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Get outside for sunshine.
  • Eat healthy, sleep well and exercise (see tips below).
Front desk and interior of gym.

HSC Wellness Gym

Gym is closed until further notice.

Additional Resources to Protect Your Physical Wellness

During this pandemic, we need sleep more than ever. Sleep boosts our immune systems, increases our energy levels, helps us concentrate and remember and balances mood. As a healthcare worker, proper sleeps sets you up to make the clearest and best decisions throughout the day.

Getting a good night’s sleep during the pandemic can be challenging. The disruption to our daily routine (no school, working from home), anxiety about the virus and the economy, social isolation, increased screen time, and greater stress at home and at work may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Establish Regular Sleep/Wake Times - Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning can help you sleep well and balance your circadian rhythm.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT has been shown to be the most useful intervention for insomnia – it is more effective and safer than commonly prescribed sleeping medications.
  • Use a Sleep App - The Sleepio app is based on CBT and will be useful if you want additional guidance on sleep.
  • Fight COVID-19 with Better Sleep Health​​ [PDF] - from Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

To learn more about the benefits of sleep, why you might be having a hard time sleeping now and how you can improve your sleep, see this helpful information from the Sleep Foundation.

Disrupted schedules and routines, limited trips to the grocery store and increased stress can wreak havoc on your eating habits. You may find that you are overeating or stress eating, undereating or eating the wrong things for optimal health.

The same factors that have made it hard to maintain a good sleep schedule and healthy eating habits also make it harder to get exercise. With gyms closed and gym safety uncertain, here are some resources for exercising from home:

Keep your eye out for fitbit challenges and more from HSC Wellness.