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Strength, Resilience and Mindfulness: The Superpowers We All Need Right Now

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Written by: Leslie Bodell, TRUST President
Senior Vice President of OptumRx Client Services & Pharmacy Benefit Management Operations for Optum

How are you all doing? The time between my last note to you and now has moved incredibly fast, yet painstakingly slow, addressing this stage of COVID work and personal life. I hope you have been able to take time to prioritize your health and wellbeing – more than ever I’m finding I have to work hard to keep that commitment!

The world has changed a great deal and it can often feel overwhelming. I’m thankful to hear amazing stories of grace and strength. Health care professionals doing their jobs with professionalism and courage. Community members making masks. University of Minnesota Medical School students developing a new, low-cost ventilator. Distilleries making hand sanitizer. Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota partnering for widespread COVID-19 testing. The list goes on and on. I’m so proud to be a Minnesotan and part of our excellent health care industry!

Another health care story that makes me feel good is the much-deserved recognition given to health experts like Jan Malcolm, Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. Jan was named our 2019 21st Century Pinnacle Leader – the highest honor from the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST. I find it extremely reassuring knowing Jan is providing pandemic guidance for Minnesota. As the Star Tribune recently noted, “Her contemporaries have started calling her ‘Minnesota’s Dr. Fauci,’ likening her to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.” Thank you, Jan, for your frank responses, calm demeanor and non-partisan counsel.

There are many like Jan, including the courageous doctors, nurses and hospital staff, demonstrating strength and resilience every day. We likely have a long road ahead and a positive spirit and focus on our wellbeing will serve us well as we navigate forward. One way we can enhance our health and wellbeing is through mindfulness.

Mindfulness is “a state of being aware of one’s present moment and calmly acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.” Research has shown this therapeutic technique helps us reduce insomnia, anxiety and depression because mindfulness allows for a more nurturing lens during difficult situations. It helps you focus on the things you can control.

If you’ve ever flown, you know the safety guidelines state to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. This supports the notion, actually the truth, that you can’t effectively help others if you’re not taking care of yourself.  We all encourage, and support, the wellbeing of our family and friends. Let us all please take the time to do the same for ourselves.

Here are a few mindfulness and self-care resources you may find helpful:

Remember, things will get better. There’s a saying that ‘it may be stormy now, but it never rains forever.’ Together, we are stronger. Together, we can manage through this. Be kind to yourself and to one another.

Leslie Bodell currently serves as TRUST President and is Senior Vice President of OptumRx Client Services & Pharmacy Benefit Management Operations for Optum. Bodell holds a MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a finance degree from Drake University.

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