Michelle Gray and Lei Lei Wu, pharmacists at Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

Michelle Gray and Lei Lei Wu, pharmacists at Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

7 Strategies to boost mental wellness in these challenging times

From walks in the woods to social connection, local pharmacist’s tips go beyond medication

The past year and a half has forced a record number of Canadians to endure extreme disruptions to our daily lives, which has led to an increase in depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.

“As a pharmacist, medications are an important tool to treat mood disorders, but I want people to know there are many other modalities of healing and wellness,” says Lei Lei Wu from Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

  1. Holistic/Functional Medicine: Natural supplements can aid in feelings of well-being. Book a medication review with one of the pharmacists at Gray’s to gauge the efficacy and safety of supplements, and minimize drug interactions.
  2. Mindfulness: “Meditation helps to empty the mind of past and future stressors, teaches us to be in the present, anchoring our fives senses to our environment,” Wu says. Try practicing meditation for five to ten minutes every day — sit quietly on your own, use an app like HeadSpace or Calm, or practice in conjunction with neurofeedback like MUSE (a headband with a built-in EEG to monitor brain waves and give auditory feedback to the meditator).
  3. Movements: Activities like yoga or walking in nature can be regulating and healing. “In his book Lost Connection, Johann Hari cites disconnection from nature as a primary cause of low mood. 15 to 30 minutes a day treading the trails of the Kootenays improves feelings of well being,” Wu says.
  4. Community/Connection: If you’ve been isolated and lonely, finding joy again in relationships is important to the healing process. With lifting COVID restrictions we can once again engage in meaningful social work.
  5. One-on-one trauma-focused consultation: “Last month when we heard about the graves of 215 children on the former grounds of Kamloops Residential School, our hearts were broken,” Wu says. It prompted him to run 215 km and raise money for survivors of residential schools. “Survivors of childhood abuse have lingering scars. If prior to the age of 18 you witnessed domestic violence, divorce, dysfunction, incarceration of a parent, or experienced poverty, verbal, physical or sexual abuse, then it’s probable you have unresolved trauma. These are major contributors to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety to name a few.” Gray’s Pharmacists are non-judgemental, and offer a trauma-informed approach to care. “During one-on-one consultation, we take a thorough history and take time to listen to your story. Half the healing is talking to someone without fear of judgment.”
  6. Nutrition: Healthy food and nutrition are integral parts of physical and mental well-being. Head pharmacist Michelle Gray has more than 16 years of experience coaching healthy, positive, sustainable dietary changes for people from all walks of life.
  7. Physical health: Clinical pharmacist Lei Lei Wu has close to four years of experience in geriatric pharmacy and specializes in reducing the pill burden on seniors. “Our motto is less is more. We believe improved physical health and optimal management of chronic illness are paths to happiness and vitality,” he says. Book a consultation to cut down on medications that are doing more harm than good.

Find Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy at 417B-304 St. in Kimberley, open Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m or on Facebook at facebook.com/grayspharmacy. Questions? Call 250-427-0038 or email pharmacist@grayspharmacy.ca.

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