It’s almost that time again. Can you feel it? The long-awaited anticipation of a brand new year and a brand new start! It’s like breathing in a big, fresh gulp of cool, fall air. It’s also time to make your New Year’s resolutions. What will yours be? Many Canadians are hoping to win the battle over their weight, get some more zzz’s, make exercise a part of their daily lifestyle or even travel more (covid has many of us feeling chained down).
Believe it or not, your pharmacist can assist you in reaching all of these goals.
1. Losing Weight
Did you know that about 1 in 4 adults in Canada are considered obese? Weight management is an issue that hits home for many of us. It can be a constant struggle and involve way more than simply eating right and exercising. Here’s how a pharmacist can help:
Many medications have side effects and sometimes one of those is weight gain, which you may not know about. You should speak to your pharmacist about the medications that you are currently taking, and see if they can recommend an alternative that may help with your goal of weight loss.
B) Vitamins and Minerals:
There is so much information out there on how to eat right, what vitamins and minerals are most important and which diets are the healthiest that it is overwhelming. Sometimes we just don’t know who to believe, and we need help.
A pharmacist can help speak to you about the vitamins and minerals that may help, and make sure that there are no conflicts between your current medications and the supplements that you wish to take.
Regardless of whether you need help deciding which supplements might be best for you, you should still speak with your pharmacist about the ones you are taking or want to start taking, just to make sure that there are no conflicts.
If you aren’t currently on any medications, then the pharmacist can alert you to potential conflicts that you may face down the road, so that you know ahead of time and can keep safe.
If you wish to have more support on your weight loss journey, visit the Riverbend walk-in clinic and they can refer you to a weight-management specialist that can help you reach your weight loss goals in a healthy and safe way.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking can be one of the hardest habits to kick, but that doesn’t make it impossible. You will need the support of your family and friends, and the help of a pharmacist to come up with a plan of action.
A) The Plan:
- The first thing you should do is meet with a pharmacist to develop a plan for how you will quit smoking. The pharmacist can:
- Assess how addicted you are to nicotine
- Help you analyze your smoking habits
- Help you to identify what triggers you to smoke (your triggers)
- Develop an individualized solution plan that may include nicotine replacement therapies
- Then you need to decide on when you will start, and set modest goals. Don’t try to quit cold turkey or the withdrawal symptoms may be so that you end up caving and having one just to ease the discomfort.
- Keep at it! Remember to reward yourself as you go along. Try to vary the types of rewards that you give yourself. For example, don’t always allow yourself a sweet as a reward or you could end up with more weight gain than desired. Try rewarding yourself with an activity like hiking that beautiful trail or indulge in a night of binge-watching your favourite tv episode.
2) Withdrawal Symptoms to Manage
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common withdrawal symptoms of nicotine include:
- Having cravings to smoke
- Feeling irritated or upset
- Feeling restless
- Unable to concentrate
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight gain
- Anxiety, sadness or depression
Your pharmacist may be able to help you manage some of these withdrawal effects to make them more manageable. They may be able to use nicotine replacement therapies to ease you out of your addiction. These therapies may include patches, chewing gum or lozenges.
Withdrawal symptoms will fade over time so long as you are able to avoid nicotine.
What You Can Look Forward To:
According to the Canadian Lung Association, the benefits of quitting smoking start as soon as 8 hours after your last puff! Here is a breakdown:
- 8 hours after:
- oxygen levels in your body return to normal levels
- Carbon monoxide levels drop
- 48 hours after:
- You start to smell and taste better
- Your chances of having a heart attack decrease
- 72 hours after:
- You can breathe better
- 2 weeks to 3 months after:
- Lung capacity goes up. May increase as much as 30%
- Blood circulation gets better
- 6 months after:
- You will be less tired
- Cough and sneeze less
- Breathe easier
The benefits of quitting continue up to 15 years after you’ve quit, but you get the picture right? Quitting improves your quality of life immediately, so contact the Riverbend pharmacy and get started on your plan to quit, today.
3. Getting Better Sleep
Adults between the ages of 18-64 need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but many of us aren’t getting even close. According to Statistics Canada, one-third of Canadian adults aren’t getting enough sleep each night.
Maybe you are one of the many that have decided to make sleep a priority in 2022. I’d say that is a great decision considering sleep has been linked to many, many parts of your overall health including weight gain, mental health, ability to learn and stress.
So how can a pharmacist help?
- What does a pharmacist know best? Medicine. Talk to your pharmacist about medicinal options to help improve your sleep and their side effects, so that you can talk to your doctor and choose one that will work best for you.
- There are also some supplements like vitamin B12 and melatonin that have been known to help improve sleep quality. Speak to your pharmacist to see if any of these might be a good option for you.
- Maybe chronic pain is a reason why you are having trouble getting the sleep that you need. A pharmacist can help by taking a look at your current medications and working with your doctor to adjust and formulate a pain management plan that will work better for you and allow you to drift peacefully asleep every night.
At the end of the day, the small changes will be up to you. Turn off your phone 1 hour before bedtime, go to bed at a decent time to allow for between 7-9 hours of sleep and keep on top of daily stress to help yourself sleep better.
When you are doing these things and still not finding results, then a pharmacist can help you improve the quality of your sleep. Still have questions? Give us a call at Riverbend pharmacy.
Heart & Stroke recommends at least 150 minutes of intense activity per week. You can break that up however you like, as long as it’s for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time. For some of us, that seems like no big deal, we walk the dog almost every day anyway, right? For others, this is impossible.
When it feels impossible, start small and set little goals that increase each week, until you are hitting the 150 minute mark. Want an example?
Week 1: You could start with a 10 minute walk each lunch hour, around the building or even inside if it’s not nice outside. That’s 50 minutes of activity for the week.
Week 2: Add on a 20 minute walk Saturday and Sunday and you are at 90 minutes.
Week 3: Shoot some hoops with your kids for 20 minutes after school on Tuesday and Thursday. That’s 130 minutes.
Week 4: Have a 10 minute dance party in your living room on Monday and again on Friday! Disclaimer: you may get more than the recommended 150 minutes if you try this, as you could become addicted.
How Can A Pharmacist Help?
- Your pharmacist can look at the medicines that you are currently taking and recommend changes if the side effects include exhaustion or sleepiness and you find that you don’t have the energy needed to exercise.
- They can also conference with your doctor to make sure that your pain is under control so that you can exercise without being too uncomfortable.
- You could also visit the Oxford Headache and Pain Clinic located in the Riverbend Pharmacy for help with pain management.
Getting enough exercise can promote energy and help you sleep better. In fact, exercise and sleep work so well together, that you may consider making 2 New Year’s Resolutions instead of 1.
The pandemic has left many of us feeling tied to our homes this past few years. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution is to get out and travel more, whether it’s local, domestic or international. Maybe your goal is to just get outside, see new things and experience new adventures.
There are many things that you can still do during the pandemic now that we have the technology and knowledge to keep ahead of the spread. Just keep an eye on local regulations and make sure that you aren’t breaking any rules with your plans.
How a Pharmacist Can Help
1) Rapid covid testing:
Consider coming into the pharmacy and getting a rapid antigen test done right before you head out. It takes only 30 minutes of your time and will give you peace of mind before you begin your adventure.
2) Covid-19 Vaccinations and booster shots:
All Ontarians who are 5 years old and up are eligible to get their covid-19 vaccine. Contact the pharmacy to inquire about pediatric shots if you would like your children to be vaccinated.
The covid-19 booster shot is now open and available to all Ontarians who are 18 years old or older. Book yours today with the online booking form and stay on top of your covid-19 vaccinations.
If you aren’t fully vaccinated but would like to be, fill out the booking form and they can help you with that, too.
All covid-19 vaccinations should be administered at least 14 days before you plan to leave.
3) Travel Immunizations
Depending on where you are going, there may be illnesses and diseases that can be prevented with the proper immunization. Some of these preventable illnesses can be quite serious and possibly lead to death. Talk to a pharmacist about where you’re going to find out if they recommend that you get any immunizations.
You need to do this at least 4 weeks before you leave so that the immunizations have enough time to take effect and keep you protected while you are away.
There are some common travel ailments like motion sickness, diarrhea and upset stomach that every traveller should be prepared to face. Stop into the pharmacy and ask them what they would recommend that you have handy on your trip so that you can spend your days enjoying the views instead of in the hotel bathroom.
They can also help you organize your current medications to make things super easy to keep track of while you are away. Ask them about their Compliance Packaging service and how it may be of help to you.
As you can see, a pharmacist is a very versatile professional who can help you out with many, many things from quitting smoking to travelling. They are medication experts that can help tailor your medications specifically to suit your needs, and they are more than happy to share their knowledge and skills with you. They can help you get you started on the right path towards achieving your 2022 New Year’s Resolutions.
I hope you ring in the New Year surrounded (maybe virtually) by friendly faces and family and have a very Happy New Year.
Until next time,