We as pharmacists can start making a little additional balance for ourselves by planning relaxing 3 day weekends.
As corporate America continues to ponder what millennials preference for a flexible work schedule will mean for staffing patterns, pharmacies face unique challenges. Much of the work we do is hands on. While there are exceptions, a work-from-home pharmacist just isn’t the norm.
But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the ever-changing dynamic of our work force. In fact, to
, each pharmacy must decide what they can do to support more flexibility. While business owners make those tough decisions and work to find balance, we as pharmacists can start making a little additional balance for ourselves.
For me, that means using my vacation time for one long trip each year and then spreading the additional days out to create at least one long weekend a month.
No, I don’t spend 12 vacation days a year on this - I only use them in months that don’t already come with 3-day weekends. Count the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas breaks to your advantage and use you vacation days in months like June and October that seems to just drag on forever.
Here’s why you should build long weekends into your schedule:
1. You’ll have more time with family and friends.
When I work a full week, I don’t get to move a lot but my the stress and pressures of work often exhaust me and I feel as if I have to run from the time I wake up until arriving home. As is the case with most of my fellow pharmacists, the day doesn’t stop there. Either my husband or I make dinner and too often we catch up on our favorite TV shows that we DVR’d. We may get in an hour of exercise, but with this cold weather, I often slack. My husband is die-hard and hits the golf course almost every evening if the temperature is above 50°. Many nights I visit my ailing mother to help care for her needs, or attend one of my nieces or nephews games. If it is Thursday I am often hosting a small Bible study group in my home. My favorite part of the day is calling one of my 2 daughters to catch up on their life. If I’m lucky, I end up soaking in a steaming hot bath. And this, I would call a decently slow day. For those of you with kids still at home, this list is even longer.
While I’m connecting with some of my family, it’s short and transactional and we’re not getting the chance to just enjoy the moment.
By building out a 3-day weekend, I can do just that. It gives me time to visit with my kids or just spend time golfing with my husband. It inspires me to reach out to my friends.
These 3-day weekend trips give me time to step away from work and enjoy the people who make my life better.
2. You’ll be much more rested.
My husband often remarks that I could sleep for 48 hours if he let me, and while this theory has gone untested, I certainly love sneaking in a few extra winks.
When I schedule a long weekend, it helps me get things back on track with my sleep schedule. I still set alarms so that the day isn’t a complete waste, but I use a few extra hours to find some balance.
If you track your sleep with a wearable, you probably see what you miss on a weekly basis. I know they say that you cannot catch up on sleep, but I still enjoy the pleasure of sleeping in on a Saturday morning. I find that taking a long weekend to get back into the swing of things can help, especially if you plan for activities that you find relaxing and restful.
3. You’ll cut stress and feel better.
Our jobs are stressful. As pharmacists, we are responsible for accurately filling prescriptions. We also have to make tough calls about patients, and consult with other medical professionals. It often seems as if the workload is overwhelming. More work has to be done in less time and the paperwork or electronic documentation just continues to increase. Dealing with insurance companies and coverage issues for patients is taking more and more time out of the day.
When’s the last time you had to help determine what antibiotic could be used based on a microbiology report and a complicated medical history? Complicated cases occur for every pharmacist whether they practice in the hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy, compounding pharmacy or a home infusion pharmacy. These situations can be stressful, especially when faced with time constraints and limited resources.
Our busy schedules often mean skipping lunch. Although we know better, we often succumb to the easiest solution and find ourselves snacking or eating out at a fast food restaurant. After a long day you might find yourself choosing less healthy options and picking up dinner on the way home from work.
Are If you are working the early shift, large doses of caffeine might be your go to just to get the day started. I challenge you to find a three day weekend for yourself and make healthier choices once a month. Just stay home and reboot. Cook the new recipe you’ve been wanting to try out with all fresh ingredients, skip coffee and opt for a morning jog or walk with your dog followed by a refreshing smoothie. Whatever helps you cut stress should be a priority on this work break.
4. You’ll check things off your at home to-do list.
Laundry, dishes, cleaning, for most of us it’s a never-ending cycle. Even if you have housekeeping help, extra tasks pile up like light bulbs to change or paint touchups. Plan to knock some of the housekeeping items off your list on these days.
Don’t use this time for doctor appointments or other tasks, because the go, go, go of constant errands won’t help you relax like you should.
Just choose a few small things that can help you get back on track and tackle those. Perhaps you love crafting and have been meaning to make some new wall art - opportunities to combine activities that you like with chances to check something off your list should take top priority.
One of my daughters is very crafty and she and I recently purchased a new vinyl cutter. Designing and creating the decals have been a fun way for us to enjoy time together and make some cute Christmas presents.
You might choose to see a bit more of the world.
Choose a short trip short to a local ski lodge or beach depending on what is near you. Three-day weekends can be just as fun and relaxing as a full week. Plus, your wallet will thank you.
We often travel to Charlotte NC, Asheville NC, or Pigeon Forge Tn (all within 3 hours of my home). My friends and I have been known to take a short trip to Orlando or Tampa. We are always on the look-out for a deal or a random vacation spot just to get away. The hardest task is aligning all our schedules.
Recently I turned a 3-day weekend into a girl’s trip to Tampa. Some great weekend trips are all around you. Think about the tourist towns near you like Gatlinburg, Branson Mo or Myrtle Beach SC. Perhaps you’re headed to vineyard in Napa or north Georgia for a few days, the key is to look for a place that offers things that you consider relaxing.
If you love camping, head to a national park or go find a mountain. For great nightlife choose a city like Las Vegas, New Orleans or Austin.Or to take in a concert head to somewhere like Memphis of Red Rock. Whatever your interest, find a city that suites it, and GO!
My daughter and her fiance are slowly checking each state off their list and have spent long weekends exploring Kansas City, Cleveland, and Dallas just because the flights were super cheap. Monitor online deals and don’t be afraid to try new things.
6. You’ll be more refreshed.
When you work somewhere everyday, it’s easy to get frustrated. Whether it be a co-worker, a boss, a particularly difficult patient or simply a process you can’t stand, three days away can help you decompress and possibly make you a more pleasant employee.
While I loved our trip to Germany and Italy a few months back, I almost needed an extra week off to recover. The great thing about regular three day weekends is that they give you a chance to find balance. You can travel some, sleep some but most of all, enjoy just being able to make your own plans for your time away from work.