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 providing practical resources to support them in this critical work.
Self-care is important for all people, but it’s particularly vital for frontline workers with complex jobs. We asked Lisa Hanlon Wilhelm, medication safety pharmacist and meditation instructor, to discuss the benefits of meditation. We hope you pick up some useful tips you can apply to your everyday life.
How To Meditate To Prevent Burnout In Pharmacy Staff – Lisa Wilhelm, B.S. Pharm, RPh
Hello, I’m Lisa Hanlon Wilhelm. I’m a medication safety pharmacist at Hershey Medical Center, part of Penn State Health in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I’m also a certified meditation instructor.
What I would like to do today is share with you a very simple meditation practice that you can incorporate right away, no prior experience required.
Preventing Burnout & Dealing With Burnout In Pharmacy Professionals
The reason why I’m sharing this is we’re all dealing with the COVID pandemic. I’m sure you’re all well aware that we have a parallel pandemic of burnout in healthcare. It started well before COVID and it’s only been exacerbated. This is for the long haul–we’re still dealing with COVID, and all of the issues related to that, even today. So it’s really important, vitally important, for us to take care of ourselves and have a whole toolbox of self-care strategies.
Self-care & Unplugging
Most of us think about self-care as a way of getting away, of unplugging, and that’s all important. But there also are some simple practices that we can use, that are like plugging you in, just like we plug in our devices or our phones, to recharge. Throughout your busy day, you can do some simple breath practices to help you recharge until you can go home, or get away, or do some of those other self-care strategies.
Meditation & Mindfulness For Pharmacists & Pharmacy Techs
I just want to mention that this is indeed based in science. We know that meditation and mindfulness have positive effects on us physiologically. It actually helps us to de-escalate our body’s stress response. A full breath is also energizing–because we’re expanding our lung capacity, we’re also cleaning out our lungs. This is why this very simple practice can help you in two ways: it can help you de-stress and it can also help you be more energized. You’re using your body’s natural physiological mechanisms.
Let’s just take a moment. You can incorporate these moments as you first get to work before you leave your vehicle, at home first thing in the morning, or before you go to bed. At the end of the day, I like to do this when I first get to my car, to just take a few deep breaths and really try to decompress a little bit and then just plug in and recharge for what I need to do once I get home to my family.
Getting Started With Active Breathing
So it’s very, very simple, you just sit up straight. The first thing I like to recommend is to plant your feet firmly on the ground. Then what I’m going to have you do next is just place your hand over the center of your chest or your heart center. This is important because it’s kind of like connecting with yourself. When we’re busy and we’re stressed, we’re scattered and perhaps more disconnected. This is a great way, a self-compassionate way, to say “okay, I’m here.”
Then I invite you to close your eyes and just turn your attention inward. Be aware of your breathing. If your mind wants to wander, which it will, just gently refocus on your breath. Feel the warmth of your hand on your chest. Again, you’re plugging into yourself, your own natural source of energy to replenish, to recharge. So move into a nice slow, deep, full breath. Try to engage your abdominal muscles, so you’re breathing in oxygen, expanding your lungs, and then fully emptying your lungs. It’s a nice release.
So just play with this recharging breath. You’re recharging on the inhale and releasing on the exhale. It’s a very simple practice. You can open your eyes now, but the longer you do it, the better. Just like with exercise, more is better for the most part, but in just a few moments, you can do this recharging breath throughout your day.
I hope that you find this helpful as something that you can incorporate. Happy pharmacy week to all of you and thank you for all that you do.
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NATIONAL Pharmacy Week GIVEAWAY
Today’s Giveaway: Unlimited CE Memberships
We want to help you by doing what we do best, providing high-quality, practical educational resources for pharmacy professionals. What better way to do that than to give you unlimited access to CE activities? Today we are giving away 10 freeCE memberships.
(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.)