Self-Care as We Re-Engage


Florida Blue Medicare  This post is sponsored by Florida Blue Medicare. 

Dr. Nick Dewan has been vice president of Behavioral Health at Florida Blue since June 2020.

Dr. Dewan checks a number of boxes where his expertise and experience come into play. He’s a national expert in physician-and-healthcare reimbursement and quality improvement. He offers clinical expertise in sports psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in applied health services research, and he’s a board member of Positive Coaching Alliance in Tampa Bay.

Recently, Dr. Dewan spoke with Growing Bolder’s Bill Shafer about taking care of our health in the wake of dealing with a global pandemic.

Shafer: There’s always something unexpected to deal with that can set us back and throw everything off. It could even be something like a pandemic, where we discovered a whole new set of problems. You’ve called it making the transition from isolation to integration. So, what is that all about?

Dr. Dewan: We have been through, what I would call, a state of an invisible, constant, unpredictable, and potentially deadly threat for a long time. And so that transition, going from not only what I would call the sense of fear and anxiety, but for some people, a sense of grief, feels like, “Oh, I’ve climbed this mountain. I can see the sunshine. Now what do I do?” It’s like going back into the swimming pool after you’ve been afraid of the water.

And so, what do you do? Let’s wade back into life. I use the word integration, adaptation. It’s a different world. Our inside world is different, and our outside world is different. So, we have to wade in slowly.

Shafer: I don’t think anybody makes it to 60, 70, 80 or more without having learned how to deal with a lot of the things that life throws at us. With that in mind, are there things we should be watching for to begin the reintegration process or to make it as simple as possible?

Dr. Dewan: People are emotionally and physically exhausted. As we go back, it’s important to rest. Not only rest the body but also rest the mind. The mind has been going like on a racetrack; and people sometimes have felt like they’re just not one car on a racetrack, they’re like three or four cars on a racetrack.

It’s important throughout the day to go to a rest area and just rest the mind. Maybe it’s every hour, maybe it’s every two hours. Take a couple of breaths, enjoy looking at the grass, enjoy looking at the trees, maybe enjoy looking at the clouds, or the sky, or the water.

Shafer: What is it that has made Florida Blue a leader in this area? How does Florida Blue Medicare support its members’ mental and emotional health?

Dr. Dewan: They’ve always thought that the mind and body go together. But what we’ve learned now — the science tells us, the data tells us — that if you don’t address mental health, physical health gets worse. And conversely, if we don’t address physical health, mental health gets worse. We can be much more targeted in helping individuals due to their unique health-risk factors, life-risk factors, and behavioral-risk factors. We measure all of this so we can give a personalized approach.

Shafer: What was it in your mind that set Florida Blue apart?

Dr. Dewan: When I look at companies, I look at value systems and culture. Values matter. So, when you have a value system that embraces respect, integrity, imagination, courage, excellence, I want to pinpoint two words: imagination and courage. That’s what this is all about. That’s what Growing Bolder is all about. It’s about imagining a different future. It’s about being courageous enough to say, “Life is going to be better moving forward. I’m in a different place.”

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