Self-Care Through Food: Four Simple Tweaks for Busy Pharmacists

Coach Beth Thomas talks about how busy pharmacists can manage their diet through self care

By: Beth Thomas

To say that being a pharmacist can be stressful is an understatement, especially in these current times. Anxiety is common and can take a toll on our bodies and minds.

Unfortunately, with all these challenges, staying consistent with healthy eating, as well as attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, can seem impossible. The good news is that fixing your food choices to manage your weight well and promote positive mental health does not have to be complicated or overwhelming.

By beginning to pay attention to one simple thing, you can turn the corner to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health. Start focusing on the connection between what you’re eating and how you feel after you eat it.

This sounds simple, but it is so powerful!

Instead of thinking “I’m so tired of eating this healthy food, and I just want to treat myself. I just want to eat regular or normal food. I just want to enjoy myself and not obsess about what I’m eating,” try thinking about how you feel when you eat those regular or normal not-so-healthy options or splurges.

Be honest with yourself in answering these questions:

  • How does my stomach feel after I eat that pizza, hamburger, ice cream, etc?
  • How does my mind feel?
  • Am I energized or sluggish after eating this stuff?
  • Do I feel bloated?
  • Do I feel uncomfortable in my clothes?
  • Am I more or less stressed after I eat this?
  • Does it seem easier or harder to work after I eat this?

Usually, when people really pause to answer those questions, they realize that the food they consider regular or normal causes them to feel anything but regular or normal. The truth is that what you eat and drink directly affects how you work, think, feel, and interact with others. Nourishing your body with food that helps you function well can mean that you are able to cope better with the daily stressors that you face as a pharmacist.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect to make progress, but you do have to start somewhere. Making even one healthier choice is a win to be celebrated! Below are four practical tweaks that busy pharmacists can try for better self-care through nutrition:

1. Replace a snack full of refined sugars, like a candy bar, with fruit (nature’s candy). Refined sugars can contribute to inflammation and negatively impact your mind and mood.

2. Replace a sugary drink, like a can of soda, with water.

3. Add at least one fiber-rich vegetable like broccoli or spinach to your plate, and eat the vegetable first before any other food. Fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar (which creates more stable moods) and promotes regular bowel movements.

4. When you're feeling the urge to eat junk food because stress levels are high, pause for a few minutes before reaching for chips or candy. While you're pausing, phone a friend or family member and talk to them. If you can't do that, find some space to take a quick breather and then pray, scream, cry, or whatever you need to do to express how you're feeling at that time. You may be surprised at how much better you feel after doing this!

Implementing these tips can result in positive changes in your physical, mental, and emotional state!

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