Beyond expressing your love to others on Valentine’s Day, consider self-care too

02/22/2021

Valentine’s Day offers a welcome annual reminder to lavish special people in our lives with affection, romantic gifts or other thoughtful gestures. As we continue to navigate the ups and downs wrought by the pandemic, Valentine’s Day traditions also provide an opportunity to renew a commitment to self-care.

While self-care can suggest a pursuit of indulgent activities like getting lost in a mystery novel, binging on Netflix, or savouring a box of Valentine’s chocolates, self-care yields the greatest benefits when we take a broader view.

Truly caring for ourselves means asking: What steps can I take to build a day-to-day routine that prioritizes my physical and mental wellbeing? How do I strengthen the foundations of my life in ways that foster happiness, a sense of calm and resilience, so that I’m well-equipped to handle what’s to come? 

Thinking about these matters is all the more important these days, when our lives can feel off-balance. This includes the effects of new responsibilities and priorities caused by the pandemic that often conflict with time and energy for self-care. For example, it can be hard to imagine taking time out for oneself in the face of priorities like helping our children navigate their online classes, or buying groceries for our elderly parents so they can avoid having to visit a busy store.    

Read: Pharmacy Delivered to Make Your Life Simpler

A need to rise to new realities like these, however, makes it doubly important to recognize that building self-care habits helps us stay healthier, feel better and well-equipped to pursue our goals and support others in our lives, too.

Self-care often begins with making adjustments to make your physical health a priority. In the absence of optimal physical health, many other aspects of life can suffer. Working with a healthcare professional to develop an appropriate exercise routine, or engaging a qualified nutritionist to explore opportunities to enhance your health by taking vitamins and/or nutritional supplements are two places to consider starting. 

If it feels good, consult a professional

Our chances of starting – and even more important, maintaining – an exercise routine is enhanced when we engage in activities we enjoy. After all, if exercising feels like an ordeal it won’t be long before our resolve fades away! Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, dancing and cycling are all terrific ways to stay healthy, and get out of the house. Adding muscle and bone-strengthening exercises using weights or resistance bands can help take exercise to new levels.

Read: Healthy habits today can prepare your body for the long haul

Regardless of activities that appeal to you, consult a health professional to ensure your choices don’t inadvertently put your health at risk. Getting professional advice is particularly important if you’re new to regular exercise, have pre-existing health conditions, or are taking regular medications. The same applies when it comes to nutritional supplements.

Show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day by investing in self-care, and be sure to get a qualified opinion on your best next steps to ensure your get the fullest and healthiest benefits possible.

Watch now: I’m 48 and I’ve decided to start exercising regularly for the first time in my life. How might this affect the medications I take?

  • If you’ve never exercised regularly, if you’ve recently had surgery, experienced chest pain or have a serious condition like heart disease or cancer, check with your doctor to make sure that the exercise you’ve chosen won’t put your health at risk.
  • Don’t try to do too much. Especially if you have a heart condition, ask your doctor what is a safe heart rate and don’t exceed it.
  • Some medications keep your heart rate down artificially. Some medications may make you drowsy. Ask your doctor if you are at risk.
  • If you have diabetes, keep a close eye on your blood sugar.
  • Finally, choose exercises that won’t make your condition worse.

Ask a pharmacist about potential interactions of vitamins and supplements with prescription medications

It’s difficult to keep up with the latest research on vitamins and other supplements. Fortunately, you don't have to because pharmacists are the go-to experts on supplements as well as over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

If you decide you’d like to incorporate one of these products into your self-care routine, your pharmacist can help you avoid harmful interactions with your prescription medications, as well as make informed decisions about which supplements to take.

Watch now: I take several medications and I’m worried about drug interactions. Can my pharmacist help?

One of our pharmacists shared an experience he had with his mother as an example: he noticed that she was taking a calcium supplement at the same time she took her thyroid medication, making it impossible for the thyroid medication to properly absorb in her system. If he hadn’t noticed and didn’t have the expertise to help, she might have gone back to her specialist to report that the thyroid medication dose she was taking wasn’t working

At the Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy, our pharmacists are available by telephone 24/7 to do a full review of all the medicines and supplements a patient takes or is considering.

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