Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
Now that you have a prescription, there’s nothing left to do… right?
While every situation is different (and you should certainly communicate with your provider to best understand yours), there are some things that can help just about every one of us maximize the benefit of our medication.
(No medical degree required.)
Today we’re highlighting 5 simple ways you can help your medication do its job:
1. Be consistent with your medication.
Starting a new medication plan is one thing.
Staying consistent with that plan is another thing entirely.
Sometimes questions or fears keep us from sticking with a provider’s recommendations. (If that’s the case for you, please communicate with your medication management team right away. It’s their job to help you feel educated and at ease in your emotional wellness plan.)
But other times, life simply gets in the way.
We get busy, we forget…
But, remaining consistent is one of the most important ways you can help any medication work better. So, be honest with yourself and use whatever tricks you need to help make it happen.
- Use the Premack Principle: By anchoring your medication within a part of your routine you enjoy, you’ll help it become a new habit. For example, if you look forward to a hot cup of coffee each morning, place your medication next to the coffee maker and promise yourself, “I’ll enjoy my first sip as soon as I take my medication.”
- Reward progress over time: If you struggle to remain consistent, create incentives for yourself for the first full week, month, etc. of compliance with your medication routine.
2. Be patient… and proactive.
“I love being told to be patient…”
…said no one ever.
It’s hard to give medication time to work!
But, many require just that: Time.
So, do your best to trust in the plan you’ve developed with your provider, and give it a chance to work for you.
- Get clear on your expectations for your medication’s role in your emotional wellness plan.
- Together with your medication management provider, set realistic goals for your medication management.
- Develop a habit of mindfulness to help improve your patience over time.
- Honor your own intuition by speaking up about any questions or concerns that may come up.
3. Be mindful of interactions.
When it comes to medication’s role in supporting emotional wellness, no two people are alike.
Your body’s chemistry, your history, your daily habits…
They all interact with any medication you take to influence how it works.
Because of this, it’s essential to education yourself about the specific medication(s) you’re taking, how other aspects of your life may affect it– and vice versa.
- Ask your medication management provider how the medication you’re taking may be influenced by alcohol, caffeine, and other prescribed (or non-prescribed) substances.
- Limit (or abstain from) alcohol and other depressant substances, and caffeine and other stimulant substances.
- Consult with your medication management provider before making changes to your diet, dietary supplements, or physical activity routines.
4. Be diligent about self-care.
As if you needed one more reason to get serious about your self-care game…
Any change to your lifestyle (like beginning a new medication) is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate the ways you’re caring for yourself.
New to self-care? Don’t be intimidated… some of the most powerful habits are the simplest.
Seasoned self-care pro? Try shaking things up a bit. You might be surprised by how good it feels!
- Hydrate and nourish your body with plenty of water and a variety of wholesome, satisfying foods.
- Move your body each day in whatever way feels good to you.
- Rest when you’re tired. Your health care provider(s) can help you determine the amount of sleep you need, and develop habits to help you improve your sleep hygiene.
- Experiment with new forms of self-care to discover what you like best.
5. Be open to other forms of help.
Maybe medication is the linchpin in your emotional wellness plan. The component that makes it all come together for you.
Or maybe it’s just one piece of a complex puzzle that you’re figuring out as you go.
Either way, you can never go wrong by opening yourself up to care, compassion, and support.
Once you do, you’ll see it’s all around you.
- Commit to practicing self-compassion.
- Accept support from friends and family who care about you.
- Consider consulting with a therapist for professional support.
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Could you use some help making the most of your medication?