February is traditionally the month we celebrate the heart, be it Valentines Day with candy hearts, Go Red for Women, or the American Heart Month. It also happens to be the month of my wedding anniversary, so hearts and celebrations abound for me!
My mother recently suffered a stroke, as a result of a poor-functioning heart. So in honor of mom, I wanted to do something different this month. Heart Disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the U. S., making it the number one cause. As February is the American Heart Association’s American Heart Month, I wanted to share 10 tips to inspire you to know the signs and to keep your heart healthy.
Chronic stress can cause extreme duress on the fibro body and your adrenal system.
Managing my fibromyalgia is a careful balancing act of self-care. This involves eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, working out, and taking time for me. Living with fibromyalgia means that normal, every day stressors can place an additional hardship on the fibro body. So when you are faced with an extended period of stress – bad flare or other health crisis, work deadlines, family emergencies, or simply just getting through the holidays – you can place an extreme amount of duress on your body and your adrenal system.
“Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.”
You can feel this when your heart starts to race or your hands or body sweats. Adrenaline is also responsible for that fight-or-flight mechanism that can give people extraordinary strength in times of crisis. And an over-exposure to the stress hormones can tamper with your overall well-being.
Continue reading “6 Ways to Cope with Stress when you Have a Chronic Illness”
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
We have all had those days, right? Woke up late or ran into traffic on the way to work or maybe even got a flat tire or had a dead battery. How do you cope when things don’t always go according to plan?
“It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s how you respond to it.” Viktor Frankl
Continue reading “When Things Don’t Go According to Plan”
You cannot drink from an empty cup.
Persons with living fibromyalgia are usually on the receiving end of caregiving. So it becomes a bit of a challenge when they become the caregiver. Sometimes the only energy you have is that which carries you through the day, and have no spoons left for anyone else. So how does one cope with a flare and self-care when presented with the challenging of caring for somebody else? Continue reading “Caregiver TLC: 7 Tips for Self-Care”
“I grow plants for many reasons…but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”
There’s something to be said for getting outside and having your face in the sunshine, and your feet and hands touch the grass and the earth. It grounds us to Mother Earth and connects us to all of her energies. Tending to our flower gardens or vegetable gardens also has so many benefits that will enrich our mental and physical health.
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”
— Alfred Austin
“If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.” – Eric Barker
I am a worrier. I come by it honestly, as my mom is a worrier too. And I fear I have passed this trait on to my daughter. I have gotten better the last several years about stressing less, especially about things I have no control over. Living with a chronic condition has helped me with that. But I still have my moments. And when I do, I recite this quote to myself to help me let things go…
“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
Take a Cue
I read this article this morning in the Washington Post by Eric Barker, called “Take a cue from Buddhists and Stoics and ask yourself these 5 questions to get through stressful times” and thought I would share it with others as a reminder of ways to help cope. A little more zen and a little less stress would do us all some good.
Here’s a summary of the five questions to ask yourself:
1. “Is it useful?” Most worrying isn’t. Make a decision to do something or to let it go.
2. “Does the world owe me this?” No. Don’t be entitled. Have realistic expectations and you won’t get angry.
3. “Must I have this to live a happy life?” Probably not. It takes little to make a happy life and there are many ways to get those things.
4. “Is this who I want to be?” Act the way you do when you’re at your best.
5. “Have I ever felt that way?” Respond to others’ problems with compassion and you’ll both have fewer problems.
This line from the article hits home for me: “If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.”
Stress is a normal part of life – both good and bad stress. It’s how you react to stress that can lead to adverse effects on your health. Needless worrying can produce extra stress, which can flare or exacerbate health problems, such as my fibromyalgia. I don’t want that. My family doesn’t want that. My co-workers and staff definitely don’t want that. I am a much happier, productive person if I control my stress and my health; and irrational worrying has no place in that picture.
Do you have other tips for getting through stressful times, to avoid the useless “worry-rocking chair” situation?