When Dr. Alisha Reed graduated from pharmacy school and was hired at a retail pharmacy, she soon found herself working long hours, including on weekends and holidays. She realized she could not sustain the grueling demands of the job, so she started looking for other opportunities.
Although the job paid well, “My quality of life is worth more to me than the money,” she said.
Now a New Orleans-based clinical pharmacist and self-care strategist, as well as a PRSA member, Reed was the guest speaker for the July 21 episode of Strategies & Tactics Live, PRSA’s monthly webinar series on LinkedIn. (She is also the Profiles in PR subject in the June-July issue of Strategies & Tactics.)
In 2014, Reed started her blog, “Nola Bougie,” to share her day-to-day experiences and “to show women that yes, you can be a wife and mom and still not lose yourself.”
In December 2019, her husband unexpectedly died of a heart attack. “I went to bed one night, and when I woke up the next morning, my husband was gone,” she said.
Until then, she had been sharing the details of her life on social media, but she chose to grieve privately. A year later, she started the “FLY with Alisha Reed” podcast. (“FLY” is an acronym for “First Love Yourself.”) On the podcast, she talks to other widows and shares how she has navigated grief — a topic not often discussed publicly.
“I wanted to show that I could grieve and still be happy,” she said. “And out of that came the podcast.”
No timetable for grief
John Elsasser, editor-in-chief of PRSA’s Strategies & Tactics and host of Strategies & Tactics Live, asked Reed how her grief has evolved since she lost her husband in late 2019.
“A common misconception is that there’s a timetable for grief,” she said. “I still have good days and bad days.” But grief doesn’t always mean you’ve lost a person, Reed said. “We immediately think of death when we talk about grief. But it can also be from the loss of a job, a marriage or a home.”
In the workplace, “It’s OK not to be OK,” she said. “We’re always trying to hold it in or hide it. When someone asks how you are, it’s an opportunity to say that you’ve had a rough morning. At least the other person will know what’s going on with you.”
Self-care is whatever you need “to make you feel like you again,” she said. First thing in the morning at work, she meditates. And then she starts her day.
Employees often feel guilty for taking breaks, but respites throughout the work day are the easiest way to practice self-care on the job, she said. Don’t be afraid to take paid time off either, she said. “Self-care makes you a better person.”
You can watch the playback via this link.