EP 34: Listening to Yourself

This episode of the Hope4Med podcast features Dr. Jamie Hardy, a lifestyle pharmacist, board-certified pharmacist, speaker, best-selling author, and wellness influencer. When going through a challenging time in her life, Dr. Hardy knew she needed to be true to herself and work to overcome the challenge. She found lifestyle strategies that helped her go from frazzle to fab, and thus the lifestyle pharmacist was born. We discuss the importance of personal time and self-care to help combat and prevent burnout, and how listening to yourself and your needs can help live a happier, healthier life.

Connect with our guest:
Website: https://drjamiehardy.com/

[00:00:00] Dr. JB: For us, by us, and just for us. This is Hope4Med.

[00:00:06] Hi everyone, welcome back to the Hope4Med podcast with me, Dr. JB as your host. Today’s featured guest is Dr. Jamie Hardy. She is a lifestyle pharmacist, she’s a board-certified pharmacist, speaker, best-selling author, and wellness influencer. Welcome, Dr. Hardy.

[00:00:26] Dr. Hardy: Hi, Dr. JB, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

[00:00:32] Dr. JB: So Dr. Hardy, I am always interested in your origin story. So start from the beginning, what made you decide to become a pharmacist?

[00:00:41] Dr. Hardy: Oh my goodness. So of course there is a story.

[00:00:46] Dr. JB: Indeed.

[00:00:47] Dr. Hardy: Interestingly, I became a pharmacist after I had some exposure to the profession. I went to Xavier University of Louisiana and Xavier is known for the pre-medical program that we have. So like so many freshmen, I went to New Orleans and with the dream, the desire, the hope to become a medical doctor. I did. However, life has a way about exposing you to things and really putting you on the path that you are intended to be on. I had early exposure to two pharmacists that fortunately allowed me to consider pharmacy and change my major from pre-medicine to pre-pharmacy.

[00:01:39] The first was when I was home during the summer. My mother is a retired educator, so academic rigor is something that has been a part of my entire existence. In the summertime, it wasn’t just kick back on the couch and take a break from college, you’re home, chill. No, I attended a summer program where there was academic enrichment in the sciences in the morning ,and in the afternoons, we were paired with a healthcare professional to shadow. This all happened through the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and Health Sciences center in Memphis, which is my hometown. And because I wanted to be a physician, or so I thought at that time, they naturally paired me up with a doctor to shadow in the afternoon. I was just so blessed that this black female physician who had recently finished her residency and she was now in an attending physician role, she was very honest and candid and shared with me what her journey, what the path was like from medical school throughout all the different steps to her becoming an attending. And she did not bash the experience, she was just very honest and she just shared that because she put her academics first and decided to go down this path, unlike some of the other friends that she had in other health professions, she delayed starting a family, she delayed getting married, her personal life, all those things took a back seat.

[00:03:10] Very honest, and I was like, hmm, interesting that she would say that. She then starts talking about the people that she interacted with, what her life as a physician was like, and she talked about the multi-disciplinary approach to medicine that I had not really been exposed to. And she started talking about the pharmacists that were also on her team and the nurse practitioners and the respiratory therapists. And when she said pharmacists, I was like, there are pharmacists that I’m told are available for us to shadow in this program as well, would you be offended if I spent some time with one of the pharmacists? And she was like, no, absolutely, see everything there is available during this program. So for the next few days, I shared with the organizers that I wanted to see what a pharmacist does and it totally opened my eyes. I loved the interaction that the pharmacist had with patients, both inpatient and outpatient. It really just blew my mind and opened up my eyes to a world of health care that I didn’t know existed at that point. I thought that if you were going to work in healthcare, that you had to be a doctor or a nurse, pharmacists weren’t even on my radar. So that was the first thing. I was like, okay, maybe I’ll think about pharmacy.

[00:04:21] I went back to Xavier when school started again, started back up in the fall. My major was still pre-medicine, but I was home for Christmas break– here comes another life altering experience. My grandmother, who was the love of my life, my person who I just adored in my whole entire life, she was in a near fatal car accident. Thankfully she was only injured, she did not succumb to the injuries from the accident. Her car was hit by an 18-wheeler and so granny was in the hospital. I happened to be home for Christmas break and I was at the hospital, of course, at my grandmother’s bedside and just sitting there, I’m sure just looking totally distraught. I probably had been crying and I did have some notes or some books; I’m a reader, so I think I probably was even still going over some lecture notes or something while I was at the hospital, just trying to keep my mind occupied. And a pharmacist walked into the room, sat down and introduced herself and said, ” hi, I’m Dr. Smith, I’m the pharmacist helping to take care of your grandmother, and I just wanted to stop by and let you all know about some of the medications that she’s on,” and she had some conversation with my grandmother, and they talked about her medicines, and that blew me away.

[00:05:35] First of all, she was so kind and she tried to reassure me that granny was going to be okay. She was a part of the team and she was a pharmacist, so that did it for me. Those two interactions made me say, hey, I want to be a pharmacist. I want to make an impact for families and patients, the way that that pharmacist did for me. So that is when I changed my major to pre- pharmacy, and I finished at Xavier. We have a pharmacy program, a college of pharmacy on campus, I did not get off track. I was able to complete all my coursework on time, but I transitioned to the pharmacy career path away from medicine.

[00:06:14] Dr. JB: And how was that transition when you went into pharmacy? What were your experiences?

[00:06:18] Dr. Hardy: Fortunately, it was– I’m so glad that it was easy. What I did know at the time was that when you’re a freshman and a sophomore in the sciences, pretty much all of the classes that we were all taking were the same. So although I was on the biology pre-med track, all of the things that the pre-pharmacy students were taking were the same things that I was taking as a biology pre-med major. And so it just really worked out that I was getting the prerequisites that I needed to then apply to pharmacy school in my junior year, since Xavier had a pharmacy school right on campus, I didn’t have to go all the way through the four years and get the bachelor’s. I was able to do my prerequisites, which I had already done as a freshman and sophomore, apply to the college of pharmacy as a junior, and then I was accepted into the college of pharmacy and just finished out the remaining four years on campus in the college of pharmacy. So I didn’t even get a bachelor’s degree, I did a six-year accelerated PharmD program, all at Xavier.

[00:07:14] Dr. JB: Wow. That’s amazing.

[00:07:15] Dr. Hardy: Yes.

[00:07:17] Dr. JB: And so when you finished, you graduated, and then what happened?

[00:07:22] Dr. Hardy: I graduated and then I did a residency. A lot of people hear about residencies on the path to becoming a medical doctor, the physician path, but pharmacists do residencies too. Although it’s optional, it’s not required, I wanted a little more time. I knew I wanted to work in the hospital, I didn’t really want to go into community pharmacy full-time because I enjoyed that experience that I had in seeing the recommendations that I’m making on rounds with the team and actually seeing the patients improve and recover and get discharged, and then even some of them following up with us in the outpatient clinics. I enjoyed that aspect, so I knew I wanted to go into inpatient pharmacy. So I did a PGY-1 or, post-graduate year one is what they call it now, residency. Also, I went through the whole match process, just like everybody else that does the match in the medical space, and I matched at my top pick and I stayed in New Orleans, and I practiced and did my residency at LSU hospital. They have a wonderful program still located in New Orleans. And so I did a PGY-1 residency, and then after that, I wasn’t quite ready to come back to my hometown of Memphis, like living in new Orleans is like no other place. It’s the culture, the food, the music, there’s always something going on. And I wasn’t ready to come back to Memphis, I still was enjoying the whole idea of being away from home, so I went to Nashville, which is three hours in the middle portion of the state, in middle Tennessee. And I did accept a position at Meharry’s teaching hospital actually, at Nashville General Hospital, and I was the clinical pharmacist and clinical coordinator for their hospital.

[00:09:11] But once again, life has a way of, making you reconsider things and making you pivot, and I ended up back home ultimately, back in Memphis. Missing my family, after my grandmother had that break when I was in college and she was getting older, and I had a younger sister who was getting older, I really was missing home. So being in Nashville put me so close to Memphis, I was really coming to Memphis like every other weekend. I was like, Jamie, if you want to just be at home so much, you may want to start looking at pharmacy opportunities in Memphis and see what’s available, cause you’re coming home every weekend anyway. So I listened to my heart and I ended up coming back to Memphis, and I’ve been practicing here clinically as a clinical pharmacist for 15 years now.

[00:09:56] Dr. JB: In terms of clinical pharmacy, is there a specialty, are you like critical care or is it just broad?

[00:10:02] Dr. Hardy: Yeah, so you can, in pharmacy, you can do a second year pharmacy residency if you want to go into an advanced specialty area, so there are specializations even like in critical care, there’s internal medicine, there’s transplant, there’s emergency medicine, so you can become more specialized. I did not do a second year residency and go into like a more specialized area of practice. So I see a wide variety of patients in a wide variety of different settings every day. Sometimes I’m in our sterile atmosphere area, sometimes I’m in central operations as the pharmacist in charge, sometimes I’m working decentralized on the floor with the internal medicine team. Because I did a residency and then I also decided to become board-certified, I have an advanced credential, I’m a little more well-versed and broad in my scope of knowledge, so for me, I’m able to be scheduled and practice a lot of different places and meet whatever the team demands are in my health system. So I’ve kind of really enjoyed being able to see a variety, a mixture. I didn’t want to get so super specialized that I might get bored, and that’s just my own personal preference.

[00:11:16] Dr. JB: And have you been able to have those experiences as a pharmacist going into a patient’s room and introducing yourself as a member of the team, just like what happened for you and your family?

[00:11:25] Dr. Hardy: Yes, absolutely. Yes. We do discharge medication education on anticoagulants and we also respond to medication consults. So sometimes patients or family members will just ask to speak to a pharmacist, especially for patients that are on complex regimens or lengthy medication lists, we help get medication histories and make sure that everything is correct and clear and clarified so that when the medications are reconciled to what they’re going to be taking inpatient, that the actual list and record of what the patient was taking as an outpatient is correct. So yeah, I have plenty of touch points to actually interface with patients and their family members, so yes, I do get to come in and talk with them and sit down and ask how they’re doing and have that time.

[00:12:13] Dr. JB: And so today you’re working full-time as a pharmacist?

[00:12:16] Yes, I still

[00:12:17] Dr. Hardy: work full-time as a pharmacist and I also have some business ventures in the wellness space that I do in addition to my pharmacy responsibilities.

[00:12:26] Dr. JB: What made you get interested in the wellness space or lifestyle medicine?

[00:12:32] Dr. Hardy: Yeah, so an experience that I actually had is what made me want to share the importance of lifestyle modification or lifestyle medicine with people. And it’s something that I didn’t share initially, this is an experience that I had early on in my career, but only in recent years did I start sharing this story. And I could be honest and say that, I was at that time going through a very dark period in my life and I was clinically depressed. If you would have opened up the textbook and looked up the definition of depression, I had all the signs and symptoms. My picture may as well have been in the book. But I was wearing a mask. I was hiding it. I was hiding it from my family, hiding it from my friends, of course, hiding it from my colleagues, putting on that white coat, putting on the mask, and going to work and doing my job. And I was not having any challenges at work, I was able to wear that mask and push through and persevere, but I wasn’t being true to myself, and it became really exhausting. I honestly didn’t share that story because there is this whole stigma and this whole expectation for healthcare professionals to be perfect.

[00:13:50] We, and especially in pharmacy, like we are very attentive to details. Details can make the difference in life or death, depending on what type of medication is involved. Very detailed-oriented, very nuanced, paying attention to the decimal point, everything matters, so this whole idea of being flawed, being imperfect, or having a problem or an issue is not something that is really widely talked about in the healthcare space. And so there was that, that’s why I didn’t tell people. That’s why I was crying secretly quietly in the bathroom on my lunch breaks, because I was trying to deal with what was happening in my personal life and not telling anyone about it, and then drying my eyes and putting my white coat and going back to my workspace. And that just wasn’t sustainable, it was exhausting. I didn’t recognize the person that was looking back at me in the mirror. I had a choice to make, was I going to continue wearing this mask? Was I going to continue hiding, living a lie, not living my truth, not sharing my story with people? And I decided that I was going to stop hiding.

[00:14:54] And fortunately, my physician, my primary care doctor, was someone that I had a relationship with. I loved her, she loved me, we trusted one another and she was the first person that I disclosed to that I was battling these feelings of hopelessness. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t think, I was crying. I had loss of interest in activities that normally brought me joy. I was withdrawn from my family and friends, hiding from them, so that they wouldn’t figure out that something wasn’t right with me. And it wasn’t because I presented in such a way to my appointment, it was just that I was honest and she was just like, “well, your labs look great, your weight is good, how are you doing?” “You look great, all the numbers, everything on paper looks well, how are you doing, Jamie?” And I could have said, “oh, I’m fine.” And so I sat there for a moment, I took a deep breath– and this is just doing my annual physical, nothing was going on that brought me into the office, or so she thought– and I was like, you know what, I’m not okay. And I started telling her about not being able to eat and not sleeping and feeling sad all the time and the hopelessness. Then she asked me a question, she said, “well, Jamie, have you thought about harming yourself?” And I said, you know what, yes I have. So I was honest in that moment and I really peeled back the layers and told her what I had been going through.

[00:16:16] And I’m just so fortunate that I had the type of relationship– first of all, I had a primary care doctor that I saw and we had that type of rapport and that type of relationship. That’s why I always emphasize to people, and women especially, have a primary care provider. That is someone that you need in your corner, not only in your health, but in your life, because that is a relationship, a trusted person that you can lean on and talk to. And I was honest and in that moment became not just the pharmacist, now I am the patient that is going to the pharmacy now with a prescription for a anti-depressant. I became the patient. And I tell this story and share this experience so that people can know that no matter your accolades, your accomplishments, you are still a human being. We have moments where we struggle, and it’s okay. It’s okay, but we have to be honest and live our truth and then be willing to do the work. So the whole idea of me being the lifestyle pharmacist is who I am as a person. I will say that it wasn’t the prescription alone that helped me to get my life back and get back on track, it was the lifestyle modifications that I made, because if I’m being 100% transparent, I couldn’t tolerate the side effects of the medication that I was prescribed. I stayed in contact with my provider, we talked about– as a pharmacist, I had recommendations, she heard what I had to offer, and we could have added something to combat the side effects and then added something else and tweaked it and adjusted the dose.

[00:17:59] We tried a few things, but when I started reading and I started going to the gym, and when I was at the gym, it’s just amazing the power of community. I was around other people that were talking about the things that they were doing in their nutrition, if they were meditating, and these alternative strategies that they were trying for different things that they were going through in their lives, and I started implementing some of those things as well. So when I say I’m the lifestyle pharmacist it’s because changing my eating habits, focusing on my mental health, and developing a meditation and a journaling practice, and really taking care of my body, my mind, and my spirit, all of those things allowed me to get back to being myself. And so that’s when the lifestyle pharmacist was born. It was those lifestyle changes that I made that allowed me to get my health back on track and to be Jamie again. That is the story that I love to share with people. I’m not ashamed to share this story. I’m really proud of this story because it shows the humility and the humanity in me, this person that people perceive to be perfect a certain way because of the degrees and the credentials and the white coat. I am still a person. I’m a big sister. I’m a best friend. I’m a wife. I’m a niece. I’m a daughter, but I’m using my life experiences to help other women who may be struggling in different areas of their health to be fit, fabulous, and fulfilled without those prescribed pills, because with the lifestyle strategies that I use, it worked for me. And I feel that it’s my duty and my obligation to share that with other women, to help them as well.

[00:19:40] Dr. JB: Wow, Dr. Hardy, this is such an amazing story. I thank you so much for sharing. And of course, what you said was so true, that there’s so much more to you than being a pharmacist. You are a daughter, a wife, a friend, we could keep going on and on and on, you have this amazing community. But one question that I have for you.

[00:20:06] Dr. Hardy: Sure.

[00:20:07] Dr. JB: When did you lose Jamie?

[00:20:11] Dr. Hardy: I lost Jamie when the plan that I had for my entire life didn’t pan out. So yes, I accomplished the goal of becoming a pharmacist– one thing about me, I plan. I probably overplan. And earlier in my life, I was not as willing to be flexible, like, the plan was the plan and the plan had to be executed and the plan had to produce the result and the goal has to be accomplished. Well, that doesn’t always happen. So, I lost Jamie when my entire plan for my life became intertwined with the plan that I had for my personal life. I had planned to move to a certain part of the country with the person that I was dating, become a pharmacist, they would become a physician, and we were going to have this pharmacy- physician practice, almost like one-stop shop type of healthcare business. When that relationship ended, it felt like my whole world just fell apart because it was at the core of that relationship where my personal entrepreneurial dreams and even some professional dreams, it was all tied together. And at that point, I didn’t know how to make them work when they weren’t all attached together. And so that’s when I lost myself, when that relationship ended. I felt that everything else was just going to unravel for me because they were all intertwined at that point, or so I thought. That was the dark period that I was going through, so not only the loss of the relationship, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life because everything was all rolled up into one ball together.

[00:21:59] And we, if we live long enough, we will experience loss, grief, trauma, heartache, heartbreak, but I’m still here. It was a journey, it was, it was painful, but it also allow me to realize that the Jamie, that I thought I was is not the Jamie that I was destined to be, who I was called to be. Now I can look back at that situation and be grateful for what happened, but of course, I’ve had some experiences. I’ve grown. I’ve lived longer. I have some time and wisdom and experiences on my side, but the person that I was trying to make myself into was really not the person that I was called to be. I was called to be the lifestyle pharmacist, and I had to go through that experience to allow the lifestyle pharmacist to come to fruition.

[00:22:55] Dr. JB: Wow. That’s such a powerful statement. The Jamie that I thought I was, was not the Jamie I was destined to be.

[00:23:04] Dr. Hardy: Yeah. Yep. And so whenever I hear people share stories of a loss, and sometimes people aren’t always empathetic, “oh, that, that was just a girlfriend oh, that was just a boyfriend, a fiance or whatever, this is not the end of the world.” And it’s easy for people to sit in their seat and look from a distance, but, hey, loss is loss, grief, the loss of a relationship, the loss of dreams, that still hurts. And so I never, even when I meet young women who, younger than myself or even college-aged women or even young girls in high school, that talk about relationships and how those things have impacted their life, don’t ever discredit that. “Oh, you’re just young, that’s puppy love.” People have feelings. It’s still a process that people have to go through, so not ever minimizing what someone has gone through, if an experience is not that of which you have been through or what you would have done if you were in this situation. And it’s so easy for people to say what they would or would not do, but you’re not in the situation, so it’s easy for you to say that, but you don’t know. So that’s one of the things that, as a big sister, I really try to have open and honest and candid conversations with my younger sister, even when it comes to dating and relationships and setting goals personally, those things matter as well.

[00:24:24] It’s not just about who we are in terms of our profession, our career, all those wonderful things, but what you do outside of your profession matters too. So even not losing sight of the importance of having a life outside of college or your professional program or your job. You’re a real person. We are creating, curating, cultivating full and complete lives, so even the personal and relationship aspects even matter as well.

[00:24:55] Dr. JB: Yeah, I think that’s definitely key when you are going through this process of training and becoming a healthcare professional. It’s so easy to lose yourself and forget who you were and the things that were important and the people that were important prior to you going down this path.

[00:25:15] Dr. Hardy: Yes.

[00:25:16] Dr. JB: And to be able to maintain a healthy life, it’s important to have that other aspect beyond what you do in your day-to-day, but all these other activities that you are passionate about to incorporate them into your lifestyle.

[00:25:35] Dr. Hardy: Yes, absolutely. We can’t just be all work, there has to be some enjoyment. There has to be some downtime, some things that you do outside of just your professional role. Like what do you like to do? And many people lose themselves. They get lost in the journey and then once they accomplish the goal, then they sometimes even put themselves into a box. “Oh well, I’m Dr. Such-and-such, or Mrs. Such-and-such, or Mr. Such-and-such, so I have to subscribe to a life like this in this box.” Says who? If that’s not true to you and to your values, to your passions, to your interests, then this is your life, so, what are you going to do about it?

[00:26:20] Dr. JB: Yeah. What are you going to do about it?

[00:26:25] The thing about it is that sometimes you are so lost and it’s so deep that it’s hard to even figure out what it is that you used to like.

[00:26:37] Dr. Hardy: That’s true. That’s why it’s so important to have a support system around you, having family, having true friends, not just those people that just say yes and nod their heads and go along with everything that you’re doing, people that help hold you accountable. Those accountability partners to say, you know what, Jamie, you’re kind of falling off, you used to be so goal-oriented or really driven and going after things, and where is all that? People that actually will call you out, call you onto the carpet, and help you to stand in front of that accountability mirror, and be honest with yourself, not just people that go along with whatever you say, people that will acknowledge and even point out to you when you are showing up in a way that is less than what you can. When you are not being true to yourself, you need those people around you. And I’m so blessed that I’ve, I have a core group of friends and colleagues and family who through the good, the bad, the ugly, they’re right there with me, and vice versa. When they’re going through ups and downs and even the good times, we are there to help celebrate and uplift and encourage one another. So that’s why this whole sense of community is just so powerful. And it’s so important that we, as human beings, are tapped into some type of support structure. If it’s not in your family, if you can’t get that in your family dynamic, okay, fine, but there are people that may be in your church group or in a community group that you can unite with and people that can rally around you to support you and encourage you and uplift you and hold you accountable when necessary.

[00:28:20] Dr. JB: Indeed. And so, deviating a little bit slightly.

[00:28:24] Dr. Hardy: Okay.

[00:28:25] Dr. JB: Currently in the news, there’s a lot of talk about burnout amongst healthcare professionals and during this whole entire process, Dr. Hardy, have you ever experienced feelings of burnout?

[00:28:39] Dr. Hardy: Oh, absolutely. And not just– we hear a lot about it now, I think the pandemic has allowed a lot of us to have more honest, open candid conversations. I know healthcare professionals have been at the forefront of this entire pandemic, but burnout is not something that just came about because of this COVID-19 pandemic that we’ve been living through. Burnout has been there, but it’s just being discussed more because people can’t turn a blind eye to the demands that health care professionals continue to be under. But yes, I have indeed felt burnout before. And I’ll just say that, for me, I know when I am at that point or nearing that point when I don’t want to do anything. I’m one of these people that always is working on something, working towards something, so for me to not have interest or want to do anything, I’m just physically, mentally, and emotionally just completely tapped out. The tank is on E, there’s nothing left to give at that moment. And so while the pandemic has had its definite cons, a lot of things that some people would negatively associate with the pandemic, I’m grateful that now we’re having these honest, candid conversations with healthcare professionals about the struggles that we have been enduring for years. So I’m thankful that we now at least have the attention of people and an audience willing to hear us express what has been happening behind the walls of the hospital and even in the clinics.

[00:30:21] Dr. JB: And even to be able to have this conversation with each other, because like you mentioned earlier, we are perfectionists.

[00:30:30] Dr. Hardy: Yes.

[00:30:31] Dr. JB: And we put on this facade that everything is great. We have it all together. But then you pick up a news article and you read that this healthcare professional died by suicide.

[00:30:45] Dr. Hardy: Yes. .

[00:30:46] Dr. JB: But yesterday you saw them in the hospital and it looked like everything was fine.

[00:30:52] Dr. Hardy: Yes. Absolutely. And unfortunately, some workplaces, not all, but there’s data that supports the idea that some workplaces are not welcoming and they are actually a little toxic. If we just want to be honest.

[00:31:10] Dr. JB: Did you use the T word?

[00:31:13] Dr. Hardy: I did. I went there, I did. If you’re not giving 150%, then you’re a slacker, you’re not meeting the expectation, and there are certain places that want you to just do more and more and more. There’s never enough. Never enough, no matter how many patients on the schedule, no matter the volumes, it’s never enough. In those situations that, that is so demoralizing, when the culture indicates that if you’re not operating at 150%, then you’re weak or you’re defective or you’re ineffective. And so, in those types of spaces is so important for at least colleagues to try to get together. If they don’t feel that they can go to senior leadership or the manager or whomever, at least colleagues can form these little support pods where we can create space and localize our challenges and struggles, cause that can not only help the individual, but then as a whole, can help build a more supportive or inclusive healthy workplace culture. So sometimes there’s a whole culture problem in some of these healthcare systems, I’m just going to call it out.

[00:32:26] Dr. JB: Now that you’re on a roll.

[00:32:31] And the unfortunate reality is when it comes down to culture, that is something that takes a lot of time to change.

[00:32:38] Dr. Hardy: It does. Yes, it’s not overnight, no it’s not. There’s no magic wand to fix the cultural problem. And as a lifestyle pharmacist, I’ve had the opportunity to do some speaking engagements, and I actually did a talk with a nonprofit who was demonstrating to their employee group that they valued creating this inclusive and healthy workspace, and allowing experts to come in and have conversations with them about things like self care and utilizing the employee assistance program, being okay with not being okay, and being honest about forming these little support pods and doing things outside of your professional duties to help build that comraderie and that team morale. That’s super important that if you’re not able to get that from leadership, that these smaller groups or pods can get together and try to at least support the people that sit near you in your cubicle if you work in an office space, or the people that are on your shift if you work first shift or second shift. If you’re not able to get it from the organization, because this is a slow process, it takes time to change the culture of a workplace, but it’s about how can I lead from where I am? How can I, in the seat that I’m sitting in, how can I then reach across or reach over to those who are working alongside of me and we lift and support one another, because it’s hard. This work that we do is hard. This is hard work. It’s physically taxing at times and it’s definitely emotionally tiring, just the things that we endure and see, just working in healthcare. Just all the things that are happening and happen to people, and if you’re on the healthcare team, you are going along with that patient and their family member on this journey, hopefully to healing, but it, it’s difficult.

[00:34:38] Dr. JB: Yeah. And a community, like what Hope4Med would offer, to be a place where you can really connect with each other.

[00:34:47] Dr. Hardy: Yes.

[00:34:48] Dr. JB: So you mentioned you have had periods in your life where you felt burnt out, where you weren’t go, go, go, go going, you felt like your tank was on empty. And in those situations, how did you get gas for your tank?

[00:35:04] Dr. Hardy: So I had to recognize that the tank was empty and be okay with it. And then I had to start thinking about what got me to this point, what was I doing, or better yet, what have I not been doing enough of to keep myself energized and in a way that I can move forward? And so for me, that is prioritizing time for self-care, and whenever I say self care, I kind of chuckle because it’s a term that we hear a lot, but there is real merit to carving out time for yourself. Self care, or self love as I like to call, it is a non negotiable. It’s something that you do for your self to help you to more effectively manage your stress, your feelings, your emotions. And something that I love to tell people is that, look, I get stressed, you get stressed Dr. JB, we all get stressed. So it’s not about will stress come, will stress happen? Yes, it happens, and it happens often, but it’s about how can we effectively manage our response to the stress. That’s what we can be in control over. And so when I feel myself burned out, I get very disinterested in things, I’m withdrawn, I’m kind of irritable even, I have to take that time to free my mind. So my mind is always going, I’m very creative, multi-passionate, I have a lot of ideas, my brain is often on overload. And so for me, when I carve out my self-care time, it’s time for me to do some deep breathing exercises and time for me to do some yoga stretches and for me to journal because I have to slow my mind down and give my self time and space to deal with the things that are all bottled up inside of my heart, my head. And I do that by breathing. I do it through the stretching and definitely through my daily journaling practice.

[00:37:14] Carving out time for yourself is so important and it can’t be something that you just do when you think about it. It has to be like a standing calendar appointment with yourself and put it on there and it’s non-negotiable. Don’t let someone put something in that time slot. If you’ve carved out 30 minutes for you to do whatever you want your self care to be, to look like, customize it to fit your needs and your interests. It doesn’t have to be yoga. It doesn’t have to be journaling. It can be anything you want it to be, but carving out time for consistent self-care is so important. And it’s something that has allowed me to move from being frazzled to back to feeling like my fabulous self, as what I like to say, moving from frazzle to fab, and I do that through my daily self-care practice.

[00:38:05] Dr. JB: So it sounds like you’re really in tuned with yourself to know that things are misaligned. Have you always been this attuned or how did you become more attuned to yourself?.

[00:38:16] Dr. Hardy: I think I’ve always been attuned, but I didn’t always listen. Like I heard what my body was telling me, the warning signs, the whistles, the alarms were going off, but I would just keep trying to plow ahead, but that’s not sustainable and it’s not healthy, and it really doesn’t always work. And so now I give myself more grace, I honestly do. And maybe that’s something that has just come about as I’ve gotten a little bit older and wiser, but I give myself so much more grace now than I think I ever had in my life. And when my body is telling me something, when my mind is telling me something, when I’m feeling wound up and about to snap, I say, okay, we need to examine this. What is happening? Think about it, Dr. Jamie, what did you not do that you needed to do for yourself this week? How did we get in this position? And it’s often not something that is just for me, it’s usually that I over committed to things like, oh, I said yes to another project, or, oh, I said yes to another meeting or attending an event or going here to do this speaking engagement. For me, because I am so passionate about healthy lifestyle principles and really living that out and being that example to women, I try to go everywhere and do everything to try to spread this message. So for me, I overextend and maybe dip into my quiet time a little too often. That’s when it happens to me and I’m very aware of it now, and I acknowledge it and I’m really– it’s something that I have to work on. I have to work at it every day because I want to help people. As a healthcare provider, we want to help serve others. That’s a part of the training that we go through, but it’s also a part of who we are as people. Like this, the work that we do in healthcare is not just about a paycheck, you have to really want to do this work because there’s not enough money in the world to endure the sacrifices through the educational process, the things that you have to put on hold sometimes in your personal life, you have to really want to do this work. It’s really a calling it’s bigger than you. And because of that, I sometimes will over-commit. So one thing that I do try to be more aware of is when I said yes to too many things, and I’m really being more intentional about setting boundaries and saying “no” more. And that can be challenging because I want to help people, but I can’t pour from an empty cup. So “no,” all the ladies that are listening in your audience, especially for the women, because I’ve seen it in my family, the women just want to give and give and help and do more and do more and do more, and we have to pull back and say no. It’s okay to say no.

[00:40:56] Dr. JB: So how do you establish and maintain healthy boundaries?

[00:41:01] Dr. Hardy: First of all, you have to know what your priorities are, and people will try to make everything that’s going on in their life, your priority, their emergency becomes your emergency. No, you have to be clear on what your priorities are. Imagine yourself in the next five to ten years, what do you want your life to look like? And really being honest with the type of life that you’re trying to live, the type of legacy you’re trying to create, and saying no to anything that doesn’t align with it. You have to be clear on what your priorities are and not let other people project their goals and dreams and aspirations and priorities onto you. So first you gotta be clear on what’s a priority in your life. And then once you’re clear on that, then you can start adding more, I think allocating your time in a more productive fashion, because anything that doesn’t align with those goals, then you say no to those things. And things that help you to reach those goals or help you to live out that life or create that legacy, you say less of it, but you have to also know your limits. There are only 24 hours in a day because we still have to get some sleep, we still have to carve out time for our self care, so even consider doing less, leaving yourself some downtime to relax and to replenish yourself before taking on an additional responsibility. Thinking about, is this going to really contribute to what I’m trying to accomplish? Or is it going to detract from that? So being clear on your priorities, and once you’re clear, then you can better allocate your time, saying yes to things that align with that and saying no to things that don’t. So you got get clear.

[00:42:44] You have to be clear first and foremost, and then, saying “no” is not about you necessarily. I think sometimes, and I especially struggled with this at first, I was worried about how the person on the receiving end of my “no,” how would they feel? Oh, are they going to be upset? Is it going to hurt their feelings? Is it gonna make them feel a certain type of way about me? And instead of saying, yes to those things to please this other person, you have to be in alignment with yourself and just thinking about how is this going to impact me. And once you get okay with saying no to people and you can do it in a very kind way, it doesn’t have to be this whole eye-rolling, neck snapping fingers snapping, dramatic episode. It could be something is, “let me think about it” or “I’ll get back to you.” You don’t have to feel pressured to say yes to everything all the time. That’s how I’ve been able to establish some boundaries and then maintain them, but it took work. It was difficult to get to this point, because again, as a person that wants to serve others, the inclination is to say yes all the time, but that does not serve me. And that doesn’t allow me to show up in a way that is excellent because I’m frazzled, I’m running from meeting to meeting, I haven’t had time to prepare. I hadn’t had time to eat. I stayed up late prepping. And that does a disservice, not only to the person that you want to serve, but to you as well.

[00:44:16] Dr. JB: And the truth is that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

[00:44:21] Dr. Hardy: No. You cannot.

[00:44:24] Dr. JB: One of the things that I’ve heard you say over and over again during our conversation is the importance of getting to know who you are and listening to yourself.

[00:44:33] Dr. Hardy: Yes, you have to listen to yourself. Yes.

[00:44:37] Dr. JB: Because if you just listen to yourself, you’ll get the answers.

[00:44:41] Dr. Hardy: You will. You will. And to be able to hear yourself and really listen, you have to shut out some of the noise, some of the chatter, all that calamity that sometimes happens around you, the voices of others, the peanut gallery. You have to sometimes get into a quiet place, a quiet space, and be still. Sit there, be still and quiet, and then you will be able to hear. And then listen, once you hear it, listen to yourself. Don’t talk yourself out of what you just heard.

[00:45:13] Dr. JB: And then you have to listen so that we can all live more healthier and happier lives.

[00:45:22] Dr. Hardy: Yes. Absolutely.

[00:45:24] Dr. JB: So, with your mission to help women who are juggling businesses, relationships, careers, and be fit fabulous and fulfilled without prescribed pills, cause we’re so quick to prescribe medicines.

[00:45:39] Dr. Hardy: Oh yes.

[00:45:39] Dr. JB: And like you mentioned, we’ll prescribe another medicine for the adverse reaction you’re experiencing from the first medicine.

[00:45:45] Dr. Hardy: Yes. And then you’re, then you have a medication list of like 10 items and you started out with one ailment.

[00:45:51] Dr. JB: Exactly. Then you ask, “why are you on these 10 medicines?” I’m not really sure.

[00:45:55] Exactly.

[00:45:58] So, so how do you go about doing that, your mission? Are you providing, is it through your keynote speeches or what services do you offer aside from your day to day as a pharmacist?

[00:46:09] Dr. Hardy: Yeah, so outside of my professional role, as a clinical pharmacist, I have a wellness coaching and consulting business called Innovative Wellness. And through Innovative Wellness, I do speaking engagements. I have several books that I have published. I do live trainings, right now I’m doing a lot more things virtually using technology, but live wellness events, keynote speeches, health challenges. I leveraged social media quite a bit, so sharing a lot of tips and tools and strategies online in that regard. And just, having conversations like this, I’ve been fortunate to be invited to speak with your audience here at Hope4Med, and I love and welcome any opportunity that I have to come before a community of people to share this message because I’m only one person and I need other people to help me to spread this message about the importance of healthy lifestyle changes, things like eating and drinking clean, so eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking more water. Moving our bodies more, whether that’s through traditional exercise or yoga, Tai-Chi, or just going for a walk, whatever that looks like for you, but some type of physical activity and getting adequate amounts of sleep and tapping into our mental health and being open to finding support, whether that’s structured, traditional support for mental health or whether that’s through a community group. So through my work, as a lifestyle pharmacist, I’m really just sharing my lifestyle with people and I’m leveraging the knowledge and the training that I’ve been so blessed to receive as a clinical pharmacist and completing a residency and doing some additional trainings in nutrition and healthy lifestyle, and just rolling all of it up into services and downloadable resources and books that people can take advantage of.

[00:48:17] Dr. JB: If my listener wanted to find out more about you or get in touch with you, how could they do so?

[00:48:23] Dr. Hardy: Yeah, through my website, drjamiehardy.com is where you can find me on the internet. And I also have a free resource for anyone that’s interested in learning just a little bit more about clean eating or how to start making some changes in their lifestyle, there’s a starter kit on my website. So if you go to drjamiehardy.com/starterkit, there’s a free resource that people can download and immediately put into practice to start making some tweaks in their lifestyle.

[00:48:54] Dr. JB: We’re near the end of our time together, it’s gone by so fast.

[00:48:56] Dr. Hardy: What?!

[00:48:57] Dr. JB: Yeah, it’s gone by so fast. So in closing, do you have any final words of wisdom for my listener?

[00:49:06] Dr. Hardy: I would just really want to encourage everyone that’s listening to make time for yourself. I know we have a lot of responsibilities to other people, in our families, in our communities, even professionally, well, we have to take care of self. We have to make our needs, our wants, even our desires, some of the things we dream about, we have to give those things space. We have to make space for ourselves. And just being honest with yourself and knowing when you need to take a break, when you need to seek support and just being okay with being your true, authentic self. Make time for you. Life is short, if the pandemic hasn’t taught us anything else, life is so short. We lost friends and even celebrities, people that we know and people that we know from afar, but the point is that life is so short. And so let’s all be about creating a more balanced and more healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. And the person that can drive that forward for you is you.

[00:50:23] Dr. JB: Yeah. Who says a doc can’t rap? D O C T O R J B. The greatest doctor to ever touch the mic. The greatest podcast ever broadcasted or prerecorded. Come learn some. Each one, teach one. I’m done.