watercolor to do list.png

Take some time for mental health
November marks the beginning of the holiday season (if you haven’t started already!). Take some time to get organized and develop some healthy habits during the holidays. Get a massage, meditate every morning, or figure out a way to make your morning commute a little less stressful.

Look after the men in your life
The Movember movement focuses on raising awareness for men’s health, primarily prostate health, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention during the month of November. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family members if they are being screened and how they are doing.

Get your flu shot
Every year around this time, the flu shots begin to roll into the pharmacy. People can debate all day if they need it, if it works, etc..... but if you are in an at risk population (children over 6 months, elderly, chronic health conditions), the flu shot can be preventative in developing severe illness and even death. Last year, around 50% of Americans were vaccinated - the goal this year is 70%. If you have questions, talk to your health care provider! They are well-informed of the risks and benefits and can be a great source for education.

Boost your immune system
Sometimes we get sick no matter how many precautions we take, but there are ways to keep our body less susceptible. Make sure you are rested, exercising frequently and staying hydrated. If you are going a natural preventative route, vitamin C, echinacea, elderberry, and honey are all things you can include in your diet. I find that the times I get sick are usually when I’m tired, really worn down, and have eaten poorly.

Start Christmas shopping
I started way earlier this year than I usually do and I already feel less stressed about the holidays. With a big move and a baby coming, I have to be proactive in my planning. Starting early will also allow you to shop around, find the best deals, and take advantage of the making a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Order your holiday cards this month, start decorating, and make your lists!

Advocate for your profession
So much is going on in pharmacy right now. There is legislation around provider status, 340B pricing, compounding, dispensing of opioids and narcan, etc.... Go to the next level of practice by educating yourself, getting involved, and being a voice for the profession.

Be grateful
Slow down a little and look around. Are you healthy? Are you able to afford food for you and your family? There is A LOT to be thankful for. We can compare all day (and never win!), but true happiness will only come when we are happy where we are, grateful for what we have, and are enjoying the moments spent with the people we love.

Get outside
Yes, it’s darker and colder, but a brisk walk will do wonders for your health. Walk a little farther to your car or take a short walk on your lunch break. Better yet, combine this with making memories with your family and friends by jumping in some leaves, having a snowball fight, or going to a Christmas tree farm to get your tree!

Wash your hands
You are shaking a lot of hands, talking to patients, exchanging money, touching doorknobs, holding your children’s hands.....and germs abound this season. Wash your hands before and after you eat (and use the bathroom!) to avoid catching and spreading germs.

Indulge....just a little
Comfort foods are everywhere during the holidays. You don’t need to indulge in everything to feel satisfied. Pick the foods you love the most and eat the real thing and choose healthy substitutes for the rest. While there is no substitute for good, old-fashioned comfort foods, you can train your body to crave healthy alternatives the rest of the time (though it may take some practice)! Your body will feel better too! Balance, moderation, and if you gain a few extra pounds, don’t sweat it - that’s what January is for!

WellnessJoanna Simmon