We are all living in uncertain times due to this economic crisis that is being felt world-wide. For many we feel we have lost all control and that is to be expected hearing the opinions of one economic expert after another. I suspect we are all seeking that one kernel that will reveal a silver-lining and our lives will go back to normal. Sad to say, but at this moment in time there is no silver-lining and that is our new reality.
But, there is a certainty in how we deal with it that will give us at least some control within our lives. It means stepping away from news broadcasts for periods of time in order to heal our wounded selves. The same bad news will be there tomorrow, but for today one can for their physical health choose to block it out.
If you are a heart patient like me who suffers from heart arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), the sorry state of our economy can bring on heart palpitations. These heart palpitations can strike in otherwise healthy people and the main reason for these symptoms is stress, poor eating habits and lack of sleep.
Let us first deal with stress especially with the upcoming holiday season. During the holiday season gatherings with family and friends has been the norm for many years, but this year is not normal. At these gatherings in the past, some of you have tended to exchange gifts. If you feel that this year in particular you cannot afford to do this, reach-out to your family and friends by saying “I cannot afford to purchase gifts for you” and ask they not purchase you anything. That relieves stress immediately and where you can enjoy this holiday season. If they snipe about it realize this, YOU have no control over their emotions and it is up to them to deal with their new reality. Do not let their negative emotions cause you to back down from this plan since it can add extra stress. Who knows, they may even feel relieved themselves.
Instead offer to purchase or make a holiday dish to bring over. If you have the time, my suggestion is to make this dish at home since it is cheaper in the long run. Also making that dish can be a great stress reliever in itself. Kneading dough for a pie can be therapeutic. As you punch that dough, pretend in your mind’s eye that it is one of those greedy CEOs on Wall Street and then smile.
Another way to relieve stress this holiday season if you can afford to is to purchase a toy for a child that will go without on Christmas morning. Just the mere thought of them seeing a present designated for them, will bring a smile to your face and that is a sign of pleasure which releases powerful endorphins to help your body deal with the stresses this holiday season brings on.
If the news is bringing forth immense stress, my suggestion is to step away from it. Do something physical to relieve that stress. Realizing times are tough and where going out is not an option find other ways to entertain oneself. My main event this holiday season will see my daughter perform in a holiday performance, ‘The Singing Santas’ which should be fun.
Another example of cheap entertainment is watching a favorite show, a movie or a documentary instead of the news. This past weekend I logged onto Netflix.com and watched one of my favorite TV shows (NCIS) online. During the lead up to Election Day and its aftermath, I had missed all of these episodes choosing to watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Through Netflix.com, I was able to view all of these episodes. While I am a fan of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, tonight I choose to watch NCIS since they are on at the same time. Sorry, Keith.
As it pertains to eating, make sure that you are eating a nutritious diet since it too is paramount to your health both physical and emotional. My dad always told me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and it is. It gives you energy to deal with the day ahead. Even eating a bowl of multigrain cereal with a banana or strawberries cut up with low-fat milk will only benefit you. Don’t forget the OJ. Vitamin C is critical in helping ward off colds and speaking of vitamins, please get into the habit of taking a multi-vitamin.
For lunch, lay off McDonalds or other fast food restaurants while at work. First, they are expensive and second they are not healthy. If eating out is a must, try a local deli. Try to make time in the morning to make yourself a sandwich to bring to work along with a piece of fruit. Yes, the brown-bag lunch is in vogue.
When it comes to dinner, try and leave out processed foods that are easy to cook since they are chock-full of salt which is bad for one’s blood pressure. Search for alternatives online for heart-healthy recipes instead of going from one news-site to another. Also take into account what you can afford. Even one’s food budget is enough to send your blood pressure through the roof.
If you have never paid attention to circulars within your local newspaper for what is on sale week-to-week at your local food market, get into the habit. That and clipping coupons is your best plan of action.
Again, if you are like me and coffee is your favorite drink, limit the amount that you are drinking since it can add to your stress levels. Many teas have an equal or greater amount of caffeine in them. If you must have your coffee, try and switch to decaf. To be honest, I do not like decaf coffee, so I limit the amount of cups of coffee per-day.
In drinking coffee, it can interfere with the sleep that you do need. Most cardiologists will tell you no coffee after dinner. I know easier said than done, but this directly ties into one’s sleep habits. If you find you are not getting the proper rest, try going without that after-dinner coffee.
We have all heard of drinking warm milk before bed-time and one of the ingredients within milk is tryptophan.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Dairy foods are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to melatonin and serotonin — both of which are thought to induce sleep." If milk is not your thing, other foods can help induce sleep such as, yogurt with granola sprinkled on top or a sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheese.