Bartlett Regional | House Calls | Summer 2020

Q&A with Jess Brown, Wellness Coordinator, City and Borough of Juneau, Bartlett Regional Hospital Q. Tell us about your job and how it has been affected by the current pandemic. A. Since the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) and Bartlett Regional Hospital are committed to serving patients and the public to the best of our ability, my role is to support our employees in their personal health and wellness. I typically organize and facilitate in-person wellness activities, such as blood draws, flu shots, physical fitness opportunities and educational events, to help employees meet their physical, mental and emotional health goals. Now—just like most of us—I have been working from home to do my part and limit transmission of the virus. Luckily, I am still able to support our staff from afar, as the need to focus on personal well-being is more important than ever. We can’t expect staff to be able to work effectively against this virus if they are running on empty with insufficient sleep, poor nutrition, and heightened PROTECTING JUNEAU, PROTECTING YOU depression and anxiety, so my job is to help them find ways to replenish their COVID-19-fighting superpowers. Q. What are the most effective ways to boost our immune systems? A. My best advice is to keep it simple and maintain healthy immune function with the three things we always come back to in wellness: sleep, nutrition and movement. Sleep well! As it turns out, if you snooze, you don’t lose! Sleep helps produce infection-fighting antibodies and cells. In one study that uniformly exposed participants to the common cold, those who slept less than six hours per night were three times more likely to develop the cold. Put health on your plate! Under stress our bodies use and need more nutrients. Seek out whole foods; lots of fruits and vegetables; and healthy fats from foods like fish, nuts and avocados. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that can boost immune function. Because many vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation to combat anxiety and depression too. Get moving! Exercise enhances immune regulation. Just walking 15 to 30 minutes per day makes a big difference in your immune function. For an added boost, get outside! Being in nature benefits mood and reduces blood pressure. Just make sure you stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with and don’t touch common surfaces, like playground equipment. Q. The CBJ motto is “Taking care of yourself takes care of our community.” How does taking care of ourselves help stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19? Taking care of ourselves— so we can take care of each other HEALTHY LIVING 4 House Calls Summer 2020