A new year comes with new challenges, and January can be a hard month.

Mopani Pharmacy recognises that you need more than a routine of specified diets and medications to keep your body running. We need to have a balance between our minds and bodies. Illness, can present itself in different ways.

We see stress, pointing to so many health conditions. If you stress more, you eat more, indulge in sugars, drink more alcohol. You dive into social media, the internet or TV shows for entertainment.  You might even up your cigarette count to a packet a day – especially if you are not at the office. All of this may compromise your immune system.

Dr Allison Blair, a local general practitioner from the Elan Healthstyle practice, had the following to say about stress: 

Dr Allison Blair

“When we’re stressed, our body perceives it as a threat. A threat leads to an endocrine response in the body related to hormones. The endocrine organ involved first hand is the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are tiny organs sitting on top of the kidneys which initially release our stress hormones – both adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline is released first which tells the body to escape with an immediate increase in heart rate, release of glucose and gets us on alert. Cortisol is also released but more slowly.  This gets the brain on alert and also releases glucose into the blood.  There are quite a few other hormones involved in subsequent stress response as well.

Continued stress leads to the over-production of hormones. This causes imbalances which leads to the physical manifestations of stress, i.e. hypertension, insomnia, fatigue, decreased immunity and repeat infections, weight loss or gain and mood problems. 

Stress is inherent in our life, regardless of what is happening in the world. We can however help our adrenals by supporting their health and adjusting the hormonal response.  

The best adrenal support is meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.  A proper diet, a good sleep pattern, moderate exercise (running may worsen adrenal health) and supplementation assists in lowering stress levels.  The best nutraceuticals that support adrenal function are vitamin B, vitamin C, phosphatidylserine and the herbal adaptogens such as ashwaganda and rhodiola to name a few.”

With school holidays comes cabin fever

The kids are cooped up, no way to release their energy – getting louder by the day. The everlasting fight of who gets to be first to do something, remains.

Financial stress loom upon us as we’ve spent our savings, during the holidays, and there is little that one can do that will not cost a whole lot of money.

We all need to focus on staying healthy, physically, mentally and financially.

Here are our recommendations to alleviate stress:

Stay, or get active

Getting the frustration out is half the work. Spend that energy. Make it a family activity if you need to. Do not sit still and allow the stresses and negative thoughts in for too long. Keep moving, even if you don’t feel like it. Exercise releases a lot of ‘happy’ hormones, and maintaining or improving your cardio vascular health is always a great way to manage stress. Just remember not to over exert yourself.

Eat right

Your body needs to stay healthy right now. Even in isolation, bacteria can attack your body and take advantage of a compromised immune system. Many nutrients such as vitamin B are responsible for hormone production – which in turn could help you get enough of the ‘happy’ ones.

Our very own Dragana, Pharmacy operations manager at Crossings, explains how vitamin B, vitamin C and omega 3 can make all the difference.

Keep a good sleep routine

The change in work schedule and being at home on leave can leave you tempted to catch up on your favourite shows, dig into that book, or if you are a workaholic, check in with work.

Going to bed and getting 8 hours of sleep is highly recommended, to give your brain the chance to rest, and your immune system healthy. Try not to exceed 10 hours. Sleeping too much can be unhealthy and may feed into the despondency associated with depression.

If you feel overwhelmed, an afternoon nap of 20 to 40 minutes is perfectly acceptable.


If cleaning is not your favourite activity, this might be a bit over-whelming. We suggest that you pick the one room in your home that you spend the most time in.

Declutter your digital spaces too – sort your inbox, unsubscribe to all the emailers that annoy you. Sort your phone’s gallery and get rid of the messages and photos that are not important to keep.

Every bit of ‘letting go’ will be a little weight off your shoulders.

Plan out some things

Get that chore chart done. Work on a 7-day menu. Switching it up with a schedule, can really help avoid spending money on take-aways when you cannot decide on what to eat.

Your finances may be a mess after the holidays and school fees and stationery for the year had been purchased. This is a great opportunity to really get a proper budget drawn up, and see where you are spending money without noticing. Make a list of all those subscriptions that cost just a little bit but does not provide you with anything essential, and cancel them.


Communicate with your loved-ones. In lieu of a personal visit, video call or text them. They may have advice on what you are feeling, new perspective, new ways to have some fun. This is not the time to shut anyone out.


Reading a good story can take your mind off things for a while.

If reading is dreadful to you, watch movies, TEDTalks or YouTube videos on DIY projects, tutorials and documentaries, you can learn a lot!


Some good ol’ sunshine is good for you! It is a great source of vitamin D, and can help you feel better. This is one of the reasons you shouldn’t sleep all day. Once you have your fill of sunlight for the day, make sure your curtains are open and that you have some sunlight enter your home.

To prevent too much exposure and get top tips on sunlight safety, read more here.

Vitamin Supplements

Our pharmacists and wellness clinic sisters can advise on supplements or homeopathic alternatives that may aid in helping your body cope with stress and burnout.

In conclusion

Our pharmacists are available to you for consultation and to answer all your questions regarding stress. We are here to serve.

We can deliver your medication, supplements and other Mopani online shopping, nationwide! More info: mopani.co.za | crossing@mopani.co.za | Tel: 013-755-5500 | WhatsApp: 066-192-1703