National Pharmacy Week is about acknowledging and celebrating the crucial impact pharmacy professionals make on their patients. At freeCE, we’re taking this week as an opportunity to support pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses by sharing a few of our favorite videos from freeCE’s 2021 National Pharmacy Week video series. See our previous articles here: NPW Day 2 and NPW Day 3.
Whether it’s by getting out in nature, spending time with family, or practicing gratitude, it’s important to find strategies for coping with stress that work for you. Health care professionals need to take good care of themselves, both for the effectiveness and longevity of their careers and also because they deserve to be healthy and well too. Frontline workers (like pharmacy professionals) need to especially be sure to practice strategies to support their mental health.
These messages are just as relevant today as they were a year ago. We hope you find some useful tips you can incorporate into your daily routine.
5 Mental Health Tips from a Psychiatric Pharmacist – Julie Dopheide, PharmD, BCPP
Hello, I’m Julie Dopheide from the University of Southern California, and in honor of American Pharmacists Month, I’d like to thank my fellow pharmacists for all you do on the front lines, keeping our nation healthy. As a psychiatric pharmacist, I have five tips for self care that can hopefully help you with some stress and anxiety during these challenging times.
Tip 1: Exercise and Eat Healthy
Number one, exercise and eat healthy. It sounds simple, but it really takes carving out time in your day to wash the vegetables, make a healthy salad, walk up a hill for 30 minutes, or do some yoga. Exercise and eating healthy is actually evidence-based medicine for anxiety. So that’s tip number one.
Tip 2: Get Regular Sleep
Tip number two is: get regular sleep. Making sure that you wake up at the same time every day and establishing a pre-bedtime relaxation ritual can help. We’re all more stressed out and have trouble concentrating when we don’t sleep well. We need at least six hours, or optimally seven hours, of sleep.
Tip 3: Challenge Negative Thoughts
Number three is to identify and challenge those negative thoughts that you may have. We all have worries or stresses that come into our mind, like “I may not be able to get that done” or “it’s just overwhelming.” You want to challenge those negative thoughts and say: “Well, one step at a time. I’ll put a plan in place and it will all get done.” Challenge negative thoughts, replace them with positive thoughts.
Tip 4: Keep a Gratitude Journal
Number four, keep a gratitude journal. You might start your day or end your day with five things that you’re thankful for.
Tip 5: Connect with Family and Friends
And the last tip that I have for you, number five, is to really reach out to family and friends and talk about your feelings. We have a tendency to isolate when we’re under stress, but talking to a good friend or trusted family member can be just what we need to feel more calm and centered and relaxed. Thank you and enjoy American Pharmacists Month.
Leveraging Rituals & Rhythms To Cope With Stress as a Pharmacy Worker – Robert Kress, RPh
Hey, Robert Kress here, your functional lifestyle pharmacist and the creator of the Integrative Pharmacist Specialist Certificate course here at freece.com. I want to share with you my favorite tips and strategies to help combat stress.
So much more is being asked of us–more questions are being asked of us, more prescriptions dispensed, more vaccinations to give, more testing, having fellow workers and staff struggling with COVID, then we’re basically short on help. It just takes things to a different level. We’re seeing healthcare practitioners just drop out in droves. So I want to share with you my favorite strategies.
Get Out Into Nature
We’ve got to get out in nature. Plenty of studies actually show people who live closer to green spaces, people that get outside more, actually have lower levels of stress, fewer issues with blood pressure.
Rhythms & Rituals
The next thing I want to talk to you about is rhythms and rituals. We are rhythmic beings. Speaking of nature, nature is a rhythmic being, and we’ve adapted to that, that’s how our genes flow. It’s like with stress. We are not designed to handle chronic stress. We are designed to have episodic flows of stress. We’ve got a circadian rhythm, which is day to night on a 24 hour cycle.
Mini Ultradian Rhythms
We also have these mini ultradian rhythms throughout the day. These are how we’re designed to work–in a strong focused fashion for 90 to 120 minutes at a time, but then to have a period of active disengagement after that for 20 minutes. This is how the rhythms of our bodies work, of our genes. That allows us to get more done in a given day, maintain our energy, not fall into illness, stress, or sickness.
Rituals & Coping With Stress as a Pharmacy Worker
The other part of the rhythm is the ritual. We want to make it automatic, because if we are spending our time and focus in a conscious way, saying “oh, wow, I gotta go take my break right now,” it’s actually energy expenditure that we don’t need to do.
Active & Purposeful Disengagement
I see such positive benefits with the pharmacists and the pharmacies that I work with when we implement this. It takes a little tweaking, but it really does work.
So this is your experiment. On a given day, maybe set your alarm to beep off after maybe an hour or an hour and a half, something like that, and allow it to go off. Then you’re going to actively disengage. And I’m saying active because this is your decision. You’re going to step out and you’re going to maybe do some breathing exercises. You’re going to just get in nature, you can just stand outside and look at the sun. Or you can go in the hallway just for a couple minutes to actively disengage.
Disengage To Get Focused
So what I would like you to do to schedule your day like this. If you could do it every hour and a half and take a five minute break, see how that works for you. Allow yourself to do that. Do not bring what’s in the pharmacy because, hey, we can all take bathroom breaks, right? So do not bring what’s in the pharmacy with you. It could be a breathing exercise, it could be a conversation with a fellow employee that’s not about work, or whatever it might be.
This System is Flexible To You
So these are my three tips. Get out and be in nature. And recognize both rhythms and rituals.
And the rituals, see if you can impart them on the other parts of your day. Create a morning ritual when you wake up–maybe it’s writing time, maybe it’s prayer time, maybe it’s breathing exercise time. Then create a nighttime ritual to help you ease into bedtime–maybe it’s some reading or something like that. This is all designed to support you. When you optimize your energy, you’re going to optimize your health, your well-being, your professional and personal life. Thank you so much for your time.
Why Choose freeCE
A career as a pharmacist, pharmacy technician, or nurse requires continuous learning. While you don’t have a choice when it comes to whether to earn continuing education credits, you do have a choice when it comes to the provider you turn to.
Our learning management system makes finding and taking our courses easy and intuitive. We design our content to be mobile-friendly so our learners can access their materials on their phones. Have 20 minutes on the train? Waiting at the doctor’s office? Now, you can use that time to check continuing education off your list. Finally, you can get CE that fits into your busy schedule.
NATIONAL Pharmacy Week GIVEAWAY
Today’s Giveaway: Specialized Training for Pharmacists
Sometimes, the best way to prevent burnout is to make a change in your career. freeCE can help, with dedicated training designed to broaden your skills and set you apart in a competitive job market. Today we will be giving away specialty certificates to 3 winners, who can choose from pain management, hormonal contraceptives, pharmacy Spanish, or one of our other programs.
(You will be entered into the giveaway for the 24-hour period you entered. We will choose winners and notify them before the end of the week.)