If you are working the frontlines like I am, you are facing a tremendous responsibility as a healthcare provider. You are also facing a tremendous opportunity amidst this pandemic to be a source of hope for your patients, and with lockdown in effect, it can seem difficult to have any kind of a routine to ground yourself and ensure the source of care – you, the pharmacist – to be taken care of.

Dr Adam Martin is a community pharmacist on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

When it comes to your mental health and self-care to stay strong throughout this challenging time, the following recommendations will serve you well.

Depending on your town or city, the pharmacy can literally be one of the only places open right now, so I want you to really think about how you respond. Our patients are watching us, they’re listening to what we are saying, and this is a tremendous position of influence.

There is a lot going on in the world right now that we cannot control, but we can control how we choose to respond. We must make sure we make taking care of ourselves a priority, because how we conduct ourselves really does have a ripple effect to our patients.

 

5 AREAS TO DOUBLE DOWN THROUGH SOCIAL DISTANCING:

  1. Mindset: recognise the power of questions.

The quality of questions you ask determine the quality of your life, even more during a crisis. Instead of asking “Why is this bad thing happening to me?”, instead ask, “How could this situation be happening for me?”. If you shift your focus to seeking solutions, that is exactly what you will find.

  1. Relaxation with Intention

I highly recommend you watch a movie you enjoy, or one that you have been wanting to watch for a while. The trick is to just watch the movie – not multitask and scroll through social media while the movie is playing in the background. By practicing being fully present in the moment of relaxation, you will be able to enjoy it and reap the benefits exponentially more. So, enjoy your movie, and turn social distancing into social media distancing and ‘watch’ how more relaxed you become in that moment.

  1. Nutrition

We need to fuel our body and mind with the very best possible. This is an opportunity to try out new recipes and put our cooking and chemistry skills to work. Have fun and get creative in the kitchen. This is an even bigger win if you have a spouse or children, as you can share some quality time making this a bonding experience.

  1. Fitness

Gyms are closed, but opportunity is open for business. Get creative, focus on different goals like mobility and trying different exercise techniques using what you have. You can use light weights, or just your bodyweight, to get an effective workout by increasing the time it takes for each movement. By slowing down your range of motion through the exercise, you will speed up your fitness gains in the comfort of your own home. Always consult your physician or trainer prior to starting any exercise program.

  1. Relationships

Lockdown doesn’t mean relational isolation. This is temporary, and we need to remember that. Use this time to reconnect via phone, Facetime, or online with those you wish you could speak with more but seem to always run out of time to make it happen. Think of the last big holiday gathering when you spent time with your loved ones and make a list of those you cherish but do not get to see that frequently. Now is the time to reach out, because both you and those people have the time to reconnect.

We all have a tremendous opportunity to be a guiding light for our patients throughout this difficult time. Let’s come together as a profession to be great and dispense our full potential. Each needs the help of the other. We are all in this, together.

 

Dr Adam Martin, PharmD, is a community pharmacist on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can connect with him on Instagram @thefitpharmacist and listen to his weekly podcast, The Fit Pharmacist Healthcare Podcast, available on all podcast platforms.