We all know we’re supposed to take good care of ourselves. After all, this body and life are the only ones we get. Still, it’s easy—so easy—to get carried away by the busy-ness of life and forget to put ourselves at the top of our list of things to take care of. We know better. Why does this happen?
Even though I tout the importance of taking care of ourselves to others (I can’t think of how many times I’ve told people, “There is NO counter for what stress does to your body!”), I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I’m sorry to report that I’m one of those people who had to finally get a wake up call to shift gears.
Three other people where I work had taken trips to the doctor (for their hearts) only to be told their jobs were killing them and they needed to quit. Simple as that—just quit. In the long run, life is worth more than a paycheck, after all.
Well, I resigned and THEN got my trip to the hospital in an ambulance. The paramedics and the doctor all said, “Seems like you’ve been under quite a bit of stress.” Ugh.
Do you notice how sometimes people’s bodies hold stress in until they can release it, like after a school year or after a whole mess of things have happened that they were too busy to deal with? My body literally unwound after deciding to quit and it hurt like hell. My back revolted in a major way. Let me tell you, I had a baby with no meds and I had major surgery a few years ago that required a four-month recovery. Those events were nothing compared to the pain I was experiencing in my back which was completely new to me. The pain was kicking my ass and the only thing that anyone could attribute it to was . . . prolonged sitting. They say sitting is the new smoking, you know. So, my back and, just like my co-workers . . . my heart.
I knew my family history of heart problems. My daughter and my dad both have diagnosed conditions and I quietly kept my similar symptoms mostly to myself. I knew my palpitations were getting worse but didn’t know what to do about them.
Would you like to know what I was told to do about them?
1. Eat more (good foods).
2. Drink more water.
3. Sleep more.
4. Exercise more.
5. Avoid caffeine (including chocolate—gasp!)
6. Avoid alcohol (gasp again!)
7. Avoid stress. I guess you’re supposed to cross the street when you see it coming your way.
I only half joke about that last part in #7 because we really can manage our stress. The long and the short of it is, this is a basic list of things to do for anybody’s good health—not just somebody with a case of heavy palpitations.
I had to make a commitment to myself to treat my body with respect. I’ve had to ask for help and advice from my family who understand my condition. I’ve tweaked my diet yet again. I haven’t had any chocolate for weeks (gasp!). I’ve been walking and run/walking about three miles/day (I know that’s not 10K steps, but I’m working on it). I’m doing yoga every day again—just light yoga, but getting back into it and it’s wonderful! I’m truly not pressuring myself about work. I’ll get back into it soon enough. And a key to that? I’m not feeling guilty about it. That goes a long way to not feeling stressed out—just let it go. We shouldn’t have to give ourselves permission to take excellent care of ourselves. How stupid would it be to have a gravestone that read: She made so many excuses she excused herself right into an early grave.
I am focusing on things that I think matter—good people, good health, good fun and good goals. Everything else is secondary and I feel tons better. I think it’s weird that it took a couple of bad episodes with my ticker to make me start doing what I should have been doing all along, but better late than never.
Are you taking good care of yourself and putting yourself first so you can live a strong, happy life and be present for the ones you love? I hope so because you’re worth it! Take good care! Here are 12 Ways to Take Good Care of Yourself. 😉