Contributor: Dr. Staci-Marie Norman, PharmD, DCES
As we begin 2023, we often focus on starting anew and making resolutions. This year I am focusing on more self-care.
Self-care for women often gets pushed aside as we put the needs of others in front of our own. My self-care has been pushed aside over the past few years with the pandemic due to increased work, limiting exposure potential, and just life in general. And I know I’m not alone. In health care, we have seen fewer people getting annual physicals, vaccinations, and routine screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.
There is more to self-care than getting to the doctor regularly. We have heard a great deal about mental health, especially with the covid pandemic causing isolation, anxiety, and depression. News stories focus on how people are coping (or not coping) with the mental stress that has been thrust upon us since 2020. Here are a few ways you can improve your physical and psychological health with a bit of self-care:
- Exercise - Stress management is a big area that many of us need to tackle and one of the best ways to cope with stress is to exercise. I don’t love to exercise, but I talk myself into going to the gym, and when I’m done, I always feel better. Being able to move can have a way of clearing your mind and helping you reset. A short daily walk is a great way to start some self-care, as it often takes stress down a few notches.
- Sleep - Another area of stress management that gets overlooked is sleep. When life gets busy, we often get less sleep. We're caught in a cycle of staying up to get more done, but things take longer because we're tired. And when you are tired, you don't deal with stress well either. Making sleep part of your self-care should be a priority.
- Time for Yourself - Taking time for yourself is essential for self-care. Read, meditate, do yoga, get a massage, garden, knit, bake - do anything you enjoy and find relaxing. My self-care used to be a manicure every other week, and having that uninterrupted hour was fabulous self-care! Find an activity that rejuvenates your spirit, and do it!
- Keep Up with Your Treatment Plan - As a pharmacist, I will also remind you that taking your medications is part of self-care. Why not take it one step further and participate in evaluating if your medication is working for you? Think about your diabetes medications. Is your blood glucose at goal? Do you have side effects, and how are you dealing with them? If you aren’t meeting your blood glucose goal, is there another medication that can be added or exchanged or a dose change that can get you to your goal? Are the side effects keeping you from taking your medicine as prescribed? Being proactive is excellent self-care, so have a conversation with your physician to get some answers or changes to your medication therapy. Your pharmacist is also a great resource; there might be something easy that can limit side effects, such as when or how you take a medication.
I hope that you are off to a great new year and that you give yourself a little love through self-care.
Dr. Staci-Marie Norman, PharmD, DCES received her bachelors from Purdue University (’94) and her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma (’96). In 2000 Dr. Norman added to her credentials by becoming a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She is currently the Clinical Coordinator and staff pharmacist for Martin’s Pharmacy. Dr. Norman is a national faculty member for the American Pharmacist Association, teaching certificate programs in both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She serves on the advisory board that oversees development and revision of these programs. Along with teaching and development responsibilities for APhA, Dr. Norman serves as a peer reviewer for research grants and publication submission. Dr. Norman has also spoken for Abbott, Bayer, Lilly, Mannkind, and Lifescan as a diabetes specialist.