It’s more than the last Thursday of November. It’s more than the eve to Christmas Eve. Thanksgiving is the glorious midpoint of the holiday season.

Though it’s not as stressful as the month-long gauntlet of Christmas festivities, Thanksgiving poses its own arsenal of anxieties — especially for an independent pharmacist.

There’s a reason why the last two months of the year are the most stressful.

Not only do you have to set up Thanksgiving dinner for the family, but you also have a wave of patients trying to get their prescriptions before they fly out the next morning.

This is the season of deductibles being met, early refills being requested, and doctors’ offices being closed for the whole week.

Whether you’re off for Thanksgiving or working on the holiday, it’s important to brace for the chaos ahead — while still practicing gratitude.

Here’s how you can have a happy Thanksgiving both behind the counter and in front of the dinner table.

How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving at the Pharmacy

As we’ve established in previous blogs, there are ways to celebrate the holidays while still being on the clock.

For an independent pharmacist, it’s sometimes impossible to stop everything and host a teamwide lunch in the middle of the day.

Before you can even think of having some sliced turkey, you need to attend to your customers — and there will (hopefully) be a lot of them.

We already mentioned how this time of year is prone to early refill requests and how just about everyone is flying out first thing in the morning.

This could mean you’re experiencing more traffic than usual with fewer techs than usual.

The best plan is to plan ahead. The holiday season is historically the busiest for any retail setting, and your independent pharmacy is no exception.

Make sure your pharmacy software is up and running. Focus on prescriptions that need extra attention, whether that involves a prior authorization or refill request to the doctor.

Speaking of which, doctors’ offices typically close for the whole week, so plan accordingly. Tell your patients about that possibility as well, encouraging them to make that final check-up before the year ends.

Try to have your pharmacy as fully staffed as possible. Vacation requests are inevitable, and you don’t want to be the independent pharmacist known for denying them.

At the same time, it takes a village to run that well-oiled machine known as your independent pharmacy.

The holiday season is the epitome of the “all hands on deck” mentality, so make sure you do have the bodies necessary to weather the Thanksgiving storm.

Thanksgiving Behind and Beyond the Counter

Once you’ve prepared for the holiday season, you can start planning holiday festivities. Just make sure it extends to your staff and your patients.

The end of the year brings a certain air that’s ripe with reflection. Perhaps it’s the shorter days from daylight saving’s or the gradual but sudden appearance of Christmas decorations.

Whatever it is, expressing your gratitude for yourself and others is a prime recipe for having a happy Thanksgiving.

We’ve alluded to ways you can show your appreciation to your staff in the previously our Labor Day blog, and much of the same principles apply to Thanksgiving.

In the case of bringing food for your team, a plate full of Thanksgiving favorites would be a slam dunk.

If you’re not a maestro in the kitchen, fret not. There’s bound to be a pumpkin or pecan pie within walking distance — and no one has to know it didn’t come from your kitchen.

One of the critical appeals to independent pharmacies is they’re able to add a personal touch to their healthcare services, something that the bigger chains can only dream of.

You can develop unique relationships with your patients and create a loyal customer base. Doing that requires much more than just filling a prescription.

It can be as simple as remembering a patient’s name (extra points if they haven’t been at your pharmacy for a while) or lightly asking about their current health journey.

A simple happy Thanksgiving greeting can go a long way. You never know what a person is going through, so a simple kind word can make their day.

Even though Thanksgiving is an inherently cheery holiday, it’s prone to make some people feel the opposite.

Thanksgiving is a communal-heavy holiday, where the mental image of a full house gathering around a dinner table with a turkey in the center.

TV shows, movies, and social media feeds push that idea, which can heighten feelings of loneliness if you’re far away from your family or friends, according to Psychology Today.

If all else fails, have a Thanksgiving party through Zoom. We’re all webcam aficionados by this point (just make sure you mute your microphone when needed/necessary).

Though you shouldn’t pry, lend a listening ear whenever your patients need it. A patient’s health journey is more than just the physical.

The wellbeings of your patients involve their mental and emotional health. A simple word of encouragement or comfort can do wonders during this holiday season.

This also applies to your pharmacy staff. Pharmacy work during the Thanksgiving season is stressful enough, but their lives outside the workplace can be even more hectic.

How Will Make It a Happy Thanksgiving?

Whether you’re spending a happy Thanksgiving with a full house of family and friends or you’re behind the pharmacy counter, there is still so much to be thankful for.

It’s been a trying but fulfilling time for the industry, where going above and beyond expectations became the expectation. This is the perfect time to show your gratitude to your staff, family, and friends.

For less work-centric tips on how to celebrate a Happy Thanksgiving check out our “How To Create the Best Intermittent Fasting Routine for You” blog.

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