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In the News: Blue Shield of California's Terry Gilliland Offers Advice to Individuals and Companies Dealing with Pandemic

Gilliland tells the San Francisco Chronicle: 'We need a really strong sense of optimism while at the same time recognizing this reality'

Dr. Terry Gilliland, Blue Shield of California's executive vice president of health care quality and affordability, told the San Francisco Chronicle how individuals and companies can cope with the disruption of shelter-in-place orders, isolation and mental fatigue due to COVID-19. In a Sept. 16 story about how Bay Area companies and workers were dealing with the pandemic, Gilliland said:

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Dr. Terry Gilliland

Benefits and company assistance can help those stuck at home to cope, but only when underpinned by realistic expectations about when things will return to normal, according to Dr. Gilliland of Blue Shield.

“We need a really strong sense of optimism while at the same time recognizing this reality,” that there is no clear end in sight to the pandemic, Gilliland said. He compared the psychological situation during the pandemic to that of prisoners of war who convince themselves their ordeal will end on a set date, only to be emotionally crushed when it does not.

“To me it’s all about being present in your moment,” Gilliland said. “That’s the only thing we actually can do.”

He added:

Creating personal resilience during cascading crises is what these kinds of activities are about, said Dr. Terry Gilliland, executive vice president of health care quality and affordability at Blue Shield of California.

That starts with keeping a normal daily routine of showering and dressing in the morning, Gilliland said. He sets aside time to read before diving into work.

“I need that little moment of meditation in the morning,” he said.

Physical exercise is also key, Gilliland added. Blue Shield offers live virtual kickboxing and yoga classes that get employees moving after a day on the computer and also help them feel nearer to co-workers.

Read the full story here.