Tuesday 31 October 2023

Wellness Strategies for Pharmacists: Nurturing Health and Resilience


Pharmacists work very demanding jobs. Not only do they interact daily with patients, but they also spend long hours processing, handling, managing, and filing medications — work that requires a high level of attention to detail. 


By Indiana Lee


Studies show that since the pandemic, 51% of pharmacists have experienced burnout associated with long working hours, excessive workloads, and high prescription volumes. Those rates remain high among pharmacists in particular for a variety of reasons. Most notably, the pharmacy profession is not as extensively studied and thus doesn’t get the attention it needs for better-developed burnout solutions.


For this reason, pharmacists must find ways to prioritize their health and stress to avoid negative outcomes. Not only can continued stress and burnout impact the well-being of pharmacists but it can also start to impact their ability to do their job, which can negatively affect patient care.

How Stress Can Affect the Body

Pharmacists, like many other healthcare professionals, tend to work long hours and are expected to meet high expectations. Unfortunately, if the stress that their job causes goes unmanaged, it can lead to several physical and even mental health issues.


Both acute and chronic stressors can cause the “fight or flight” response in the body, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. This causes hormones to release that can cause several reactions including higher blood pressure, faster heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Stress hormones also deactivate certain functions to allow the body to focus on the stress response, such as reproduction, growth, and digestion.


In fact, there is a strong connection between stress and issues with the gut. If the gut microbiome is impacted, it can negatively affect various other functions in the body, such as the immune system and neurological functions.


Overall, some of the many health risks that can develop as a result of unmanaged stress in those who work demanding jobs, such as pharmacists, include:


     Weight gain

     Heart disease

     Skin conditions

     Muscular pain



     Elevated blood pressure

     Digestive issues


Constant stress can also lead to mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, once mental health becomes affected, it can further impact physical health, creating a cycle of chronic problems that are difficult to manage.

Health and Wellness Strategies to Help Pharmacists

Healthcare jobs are inherently more demanding and stressful than those in other industries. However, this doesn’t mean that pharmacists should have to learn to live with the stress they experience daily. Managing stress in a high-pressure industry like the pharmaceutical field is necessary if workers want to be able to continue in that industry without suffering serious negative consequences, both for their own health and for the patients they interact with.

Practice Better Time Management and Delegation

In some cases, stress can arise from a lack of time management and taking on too many duties alone. There are a lot of different tasks pharmacists have to navigate throughout the day, so it can help to seek out a routine that could allow for more downtime during the day if possible.


Understandably, part of the problem can be that pharmacies are simply understaffed,. If that is the case, pharmacists should not be afraid to stand up for their needs with their employer and ask for more help so tasks can be delegated more effectively. If staffing needs cannot be met, it may be necessary to close the pharmacy for temporary periods, such as in the middle of the day, so the pharmacists can take a break and attend to their needs.

Eat Healthy, Regular Meals

Those who work demanding jobs often find it hard to eat well throughout the workday. However, pharmacists need to eat healthy so they have the energy needed to stay on their feet and focused all day.


Meal planning ahead of time can help. Instead of trying to think of something last minute, set some time aside to put together healthy meals that you can easily grab and eat on the go and take to work with you. Eating well when you are not working is also important to help you manage stress and keep your immune system strong.


There are also certain foods that can specifically help fight stress. This includes foods high in antioxidants, such as kale, beans, tomatoes, blueberries, and beetroot. Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for fighting inflammation, which can occur as a stress response.


You should also eat plenty of fruits and veggies as they are high in essential vitamins needed to help keep your body functioning properly. Some fruits and vegetables also have strong antibacterials and antimicrobial properties, like blueberries and ginger, which can help you have better oral health.


Nutrition can also impact other facets of your health, such as your oral health. Foods that are good for oral health include whole grains and dairy products. Whole grains also have more dietary fiber, which can help with digestion.

Practice Self-Care

When working a high-stress job, it is necessary to practice self-care outside of work to help relax and find an outlet for the stress. This includes standard habits like getting a good night’s sleep and regular exercise, but it can also include things like talking to someone and finding support, taking up creative hobbies, journaling, or even meditating.

Address Anxieties

In some cases, stress for pharmacists can come from specific things that are triggering anxiety, such as a coworker who is difficult to work with or general social anxiety from interacting with people daily. To help reduce stress, it may be necessary to address the things that are causing your anxiety.


If it’s someone you work with, try talking to them calmly and see if there is a way to resolve your issues in a healthy and constructive manner. If you have general social anxiety, make a list of things that trigger you and be proactive about planning out a way to deal with those situations ahead of time.

Final Thoughts

Working as a pharmacist is, by nature, a stressful job. However, that does not mean you should live with constant stress. Instead of pushing through the stress, it’s important to address it to ensure you and your customers are happier and healthier.


Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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