2021 has been remarkably difficult for everybody, including women in pharmacy. They have been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while juggling family and/or personal responsibilities. Many pharmacist moms have done their jobs while entertaining children with pent-up emotions, facilitating remote learning, and managing tantrums. Inevitably, self-care is neglected. Here are 6 tips for starting 2022 the right way.
- Embrace 1 daily, happy-making habit in the new year. Time is limited. Select a habit that creates happiness each day. It can be drinking a cup of your favorite coffee or hot tea in a special mug, reading a chapter of a book that has been sitting on the shelf, or stretching in the morning or before bedtime. It is amazing how a simple ritual can set the tone for the day, week, or even year.
- Identify 5 things to let go. Think of it as the art of tagging out. Make a list of ways to ask for help. Maybe it means asking a partner to take care of the kids’ bedtime for half the week or being OK with the dinner dishes sitting in the sink until the next morning. Make it a priority to either delegate tasks or cross less important ones off the list. Let go of at least 5 chores.
- Schedule 10 minutes of silence a day. Have a quiet breakfast. Meditate. Or not. Bottom line: Make 10 minutes of quiet a day, with no interruptions, mandatory. During the pandemic, many women added neighborhood health care provider and therapist to the already demanding roles they have as employees, daughters, managers, mothers, owners, partners, and/or sisters. That is where 10 minutes a day comes in. Take time each day to address your own feelings. It is almost impossible to keep showing up for family members in a sustainable way without taking time for yourself. It is not selfish to take care of yourself and care for family members later.
- Set professional goals. Make time to update your resume or look for a nontraditional position. The time is now for certification, such as in a clinical field, medical affairs, medication therapy management, or prior authorization. Even though family and work can be consuming, it is important to focus on the future of your career. Take small steps if necessary but set a goal and work toward it.
- Stop immediately saying yes. Doing and having it all used to be the mantra for working, but it is unrealistic even during normal times. During the pandemic, pharmacists have been working on overdrive. It is a wonder that many of them have time to drink a glass of water, let alone log a good night’s sleep. Assess how you are feeling and set boundaries when necessary.
- Take a social media hiatus. Never lose yourself to comparisons. Everyone is spread incredibly thin right now, which makes comparing yourself to others a slippery slope. If there is a social media platform, text chain, or recurring Zoom session with someone whose life seems fabulous while you are frazzled, log off and take a break. Those individuals will still be around afterward.
Implementing these steps will leave you feeling refreshed and better able to tackle the stress of juggling personal and professional responsibilities. Happy new year.
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, is the chief academic officer at the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs and the founder of Pharmacist Moms Group, the largest group of female pharmacists in the United States, with more than 45,000 members.