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Oh, What Fun...

The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year for everyone. Spending time with family, getting (and giving) gifts, eating all of the holiday meals in sight. No matter what your holiday traditions are, this should be a time to celebrate and to relax. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. With great fun comes great stress. Holiday stress can quickly overtake holiday cheer if left unchecked and with the added element of COVID-19, this year is no exception. Luckily there are steps we can all take to make it more enjoyable.

Local pharmacies to the rescue...

What most people may not always remember is that their pharmacy is here to help. Yes, even with stress. Here at Waterfront Family Pharmacy, we strive to go above and beyond to be there for our patients. One of the biggest ways we can help take stress off during the holidays is through our never-ending vaccination efforts. During this time of year in particular, the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine are great ways to protect patients and their families. Having the peace of mind knowing that the whole family is vaccinated can go a long way towards reducing that holiday stress. On top of this, another way to ease the worry is to remain adherent to medications. Adherence helps control diagnosed conditions, and recent data even shows that remaining adherent and specifically keeping asthma well-controlled reduces negative outcomes related to COVID-19. At Waterfront, we do all that we can to support our patient’s adherence through our Medication Synchronization program and adherence packaging programs. Not only does the program help with adherence, but it takes overall stress off the patient as well. No more worrying about not having refills or having to come to the pharmacy several times per month! This leaves patients with less stress and more time for the holidays, a true win-win.

Beyond the pharmacy...

Outside of the pharmacy, stress can be managed even further, and we can do our part to educate our patients about this. Amidst the holiday chaos it is important to emphasize to patients that they remember to still take time for their health. Things such as sleep and exercise can often get pushed aside during the holidays. It is important to make sure they remember to get enough sleep on a regular basis, to keep a regular meal schedule, and to continue to take time to exercise. Helping patients keep these things in mind and focusing on the things they can control will be a huge boost to their health and will help in reducing their stress. Even with all of this in mind though, always remember that it is okay to seek help! Patients may be hesitant to ask for help, but we can make sure they know their options and know that it is okay to ask for help at any time. Whether it’s talking to a friend, a family member, a therapist, or a doctor, someone is out there and willing to listen. The holidays can be overwhelming and having an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on can be crucial when it comes to staying on top of the stress.

Written by Hunter Moody, PharmD Candidate, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy on behalf of Team CPESN West Virginia.

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