Grief and Health
Q&A with a Pharmacist and Health Coach
I truly believe journaling is a powerful tool for dealing with grief, but science also backs up this claim, showing that there are numerous health benefits to writing. To explore this topic a little more, I decided to virtually sit down with Pharmacist and Health Coach, Dr. Melody Khorrami, to discuss. Her experience spans community-based, long-term care and ambulatory-care pharmacy services and health coaching. In addition to the topic of journaling, we chatted about the benefits of Health Coaching, the relationship between grief and health, and much more.
"I think that is the key with grief. To hold space for yourself with kindness and patience as you process the emotions, and to get help when you need it. To not feel shame about needing help."
Why did you decide to pursue a career in Pharmacy? What about Health Coaching?
I grew up in a family of healthcare providers: physicians, dentists, pharmacists. My mother is a pharmacist, and I grew up knowing I wanted to be in the science field and my path just led me to applying to pharmacy school. I considered dental school and chiropractic school as well, but ultimately pharmacy was the best fit for my interests and long-term goals. My interest in lifestyle medicine and health coaching came a bit later. I knew I wanted to have a big impact on people's lives not just by making sure their medication was optimized and that they were getting the best results from those therapies but also focusing on prevention of disease through improved lifestyle and nutrition. I love pharmacist-based health coaching as it allows me to be able to address the whole person and all aspects of their life that may be contributing to their health outcomes.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what Health Coaching is?
I practice pharmacist-based health coaching, which is a newer model of pharmacist-patient care. In addition to ensuring patients are taking their medication therapies correctly and in a way that optimizes their outcomes, I also look at how health behavior changes, and habits related to mindset, lifestyle and nutrition, contribute to better health outcomes. Health coaching focuses on communication and techniques that allow for patients to create lasting lifestyle changes that contribute to their overall well-being.
Grief can take a very physical toll on a person’s health and body. What advice do you have for people struggling with their health in the midst of grief?
People who are struggling with their health in the midst of grief should reach out to close and trusted family and friends who can hold space and support you as you navigate the road to healing. There is no shame around getting help through your trusted healthcare provider and other wellness professionals. Therapy can also be a powerful tool for getting to the root of the grief and learning techniques that can help navigate certain emotions. Under the supervision of your licensed healthcare provider certain medication therapies may be warranted, in conjunction with counseling, nutrition, movement and some form of mind-body practice such as meditation, and breathing exercises can be helpful as well. Processing grief is not easy and it is part of the human experience. You don't have to go through it alone.
The Grief Journal aims to guide people through their grief journey. What type of health benefits can journaling provide?
Journaling is a fantastic tool to use for self-reflection, relieving stress, and keeping your thoughts organized. You can use this technique in combination with therapy and health coaching to address your needs. I often use journaling with my health coaching clients.
On a more personal note, have you ever experienced the loss of a loved one?
Losing my maternal grandmother was very difficult for me. She was a big part of my childhood. She left her home in Iran, along with my grandfather, and came to a far-away country where she did not know the language to help my mother raise my sister and me. This speaks to the love, devotion, and sacrifice immigrant families have for their children. I remember as a child she experienced a heart attack. Processing the fear of losing her was difficult and I remember having a lot of anxiety over it. She survived and lived many many more years after that heart attack and passed away at the age of 96. It was a deep grief to lose her for my entire family. She was a strong figure in our family. A symbol of strength, resilience, and unconditional love. It was hard, and we all needed time to process. I think that is the key with grief. To hold space for yourself with kindness and patience as you process the emotions, and to get help when you need it. To not feel shame about needing help.
How can someone reach out to you if they’re interested in Health Coaching?
I currently do health coaching sessions virtually and am accepting a limited number of new clients. You can reach out to me by email at email@example.com, or contact my appointment line at 571-402-4959. You can follow me on Instagram @integrativerx.