Living in these times is very challenging and mentally consuming. Lockdowns, vaccines, COVID-19 variants, and each day’s news, all of this surely have an impact on your brain, mind, and your mental health accordingly. Our team at Chaparral Pharmacy decided to provide tips and pieces of advice that might be of benefit to all of our patients and blog readers.
First things first: Your food
During the continuously changing flux of events, surely you would not lend attention to your body screaming for rest, nutrients, or being active. Normally this “scream” will be manifested in feeling tired or having cramps, or any of many symptoms that signal that something in your body (maybe your food?) doesn’t feel ok. It is highly recommended that you check your diet to ensure that it contains all the necessary nutrients and proportions according to the newest dietary and proven science. This guide is compiled and recommended by the Government of Canada.
According to the guide website, you have to each plenty of vegetables and fruits, eat the recommended amounts of proteins, choose whole grain carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water. There are also lots of recommendations for food choices, eating habits, recipes, tips and other resources that you can find on the guide website.
Being active is a must
Sports and being active generally have a noticeable effect on your body and mood. It is known that exercising improves:
- sex drive,
- heart and cardiovascular condition,
- fat metabolism,
- insulin resistance (low insulin resistance means more controlled blood sugar, which is good for weight management),
- increase the lungs capacity,
- increase bone mass and density,
- reduce body stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol,
- increase the production of the “feel happy” hormones, which are also known as endorphins,
- efficiently circulate the blood through your body which might help in brain health and memory, and
- many other positive outcomes that are discovered each day
Through all the above improvements that your body feels, your mental health will surely see a difference and will thank you!
The exercise amount to reap all of those benefits is not huge. The Government of Canada’s recommendations for kids and youth are 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous intensity of exercise and 150 minutes per week for adults and seniors with the same levels. It is strongly advised to discuss with your doctor before engaging in new types of exercise.
Talk with your nearest friends and family
In a very famous TedTalk by Dr. Robert Waldinger, which is a famous psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and a professor at Harvard School, about what makes people feel happy and accomplished in their life. Dr. Waldinger talked about an interesting 75-year-long study that tracked the lives of a group of people (and their baby boomer kids) to determine what you can do to improve your mental health and feel happy and satisfied in your life.
The surprising and probably the longest study in history revealed a very interesting finding. It is not fame, wealth, or a high achievement you will be happy in your retirement years. If you become more engaged in meaningful and fruitful relationships with friends, family, and community, you will have excellent mental health and will be happier than people who tend to be lonely and self-centred. Happiness at retirement could be achieved if you successfully replaced your “workmates” with “playmates”!
If you reach out to that friend or family member you didn’t speak to in years, you will surely experience something different that may increase your joy and improve your mental health.
Regularly check your medications with your physician and your pharmacy
The human body is amazing and continuously changing!
The medicine that you have been on for years and years maybe not suitable for you now. There is a lot of research that discusses how decreasing doses for certain drugs could keep the desired pharmaceutical effect while decreasing the side effects of those drugs.
At Chaparral Pharmacy – Remedy’sRx and as a compounding pharmacy, we can work with you in two ways:
- Based on a discussion with your physician, Chaparral Pharmacy – Remedy’sRx can prepare and customize a special prescription in our compounding lab that has low or high strength, dose, or even different ingredients to decrease the overall amount of prescription medications you are on.
- Perform a comprehensive care plan (free of charge and covered by your Alberta Health Card) to review all of your medications and ask you about any side effects that you might have. Then Chaparral Pharmacy can suggest a dose decrease or a change in strength, or totally change the prescription medication.
Take your vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are very important organic compounds that are necessary for the human body to perform its tasks. There are 13 known types of vitamins. Normally, you can get your vitamins from your diet on two conditions: 1) the diet is balanced, and 2) nothing prevents the absorption of the vitamins. Those two conditions could be easily violated, especially if you are on a special diet (a low amount of food normally means insufficient vitamins enter your body). And also, if you are taking a medication for a long time, it may interfere with the absorption of some minerals and vitamins. For example, long-term treatment of proton pump inhibitors, used to decrease the amount of stomach acid, may reduce the amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium and their metabolism in your body.
Those situations may necessitate using additional sources of vitamins and minerals such as multi-vitamins and concentrated vitamin injections to restore balance to your body. This may restore, preserve, and promote good mental health due to improved general health.
In Alberta and Canada in general, most of the population (especially the dark-skinned population) has a severe deficiency in vitamin D, especially during winter when sunlight (the main source of vitamin D production) is minimal. Based on a body of clinical research, it was found that vitamin D deficiency could promote seasonal affective disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. It is recommended to check your vitamin D levels, and probably if you are a senior, adolescent, obese, or with chronic diseases, you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and may need more vitamin D after a discussion with your doctor or your pharmacist.
Give us a call at Chaparral Pharmacy – Remedy’sRx at 403-475-5544 to discuss your vitamins and minerals needs.
Speak with your doctor
Sometimes after you do your best and keep your diet, activities, and relationships to the best standards, you still don’t feel very well or motivated. It is highly recommended then to see your doctor, who may prescribe specific prescription medication to improve your mood and mental health.
Chaparral Pharmacy can work with your doctor to provide customized medications specially prepared for you.