On Self Preservation
It was exactly a year ago last night that my life as I knew it changed forever- dramatic- perhaps- but it's my story and I tend to be a bit dramatic. Halloween 2012 I was sitting at my cousin's table happily- if a little tiredly- eating pizza and drinking a glass of wine- my neck started swelling- yes swelling- to about the size of a tennis ball. My tongue was numb and my neck hurt- so much- I thought I was having a stroke. So fast forward to the ER- turns out my neck was no big deal- I had a clogged saliva duct- the swelling was an excess build up of saliva- the life shattering moment came when two doctors and a nurse each expressed concern about my blood pressure.
My blood pressure was high- like well above average for a 36 year old woman. I was not too concerned- high blood pressure- at least I was not having a stroke. It wasn't until I got home and started researching high blood pressure in women that I became concerned- more than half of all adults have hypertension and half of those are women- high blood pressure is not just a men's health issue. My emotions are complex surrounding this time- they fluctuated between freaking out and depression. This was something I wanted to nip in the bud- but how?
Working closely with my family doctor we worked out a plan- lots of blood testing, and ultra sounds to ensure my kidney's were functioning properly- finally we settled on a plan of medications and diet- and exercise. My family doctor is fantastic- he is a straight shooter and tells it like it is- he laid it out for me- if I wanted to get well I had to loose weight.
As a Mum it is not unusual that everyone else comes before me- I worked so we could have vacations, I cooked healthy- homemade meals but ate mine standing by the sink, I always had other priorities that came before exercising. Pretty common right? I knew things had to change- I need my health- to be physically strong and well for my family- this is how I can best serve them- by being strong and well. So what does this have to do with Simple Family Friday you might be asking? My tip for today for Mums everywhere is to be kind to yourself- practice self preservation- take care of yourself FIRST!
I am a year out on my journey to health- it hasn't been easy- I love food and hate exercising- but I returned to my yoga practice which I have grown to love even more than before- I walk a lot and occasionally run- which turns out I also really like. I learned how carbohydrates work and what the best food for my body is- I can tell when I am not eating optimally for my body. I have lost 37 pounds and am still consciously making good choices- it is a struggle- every- single- day.
As a busy Mum I acknowledge it is tricky to carve out space in my day that is just for me- but it is so necessary for my peace of mind. Mediation and yoga play a big roll in quieting my mind from worry and centering me for the day- meditation is shown to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation- not to mention induce calmness which helps reduce stress. Taking time to do what you enjoy is so important to leading a happy life- reading, drawing, knitting, painting- whatever it is just go and do it! Another important factor- I cleaned closet with what was not working for me in my life- saying no to negativity and only allowing the positive things I chose to let in has been a game changer!
So Mommas- ignore the laundry piling up, forget the dishes, order take out and relax- do something for you! A healthy Momma is the backbone of a healthy family. One trick I like to do is when I am laying in bed after a busy day- just relaxing and drifting off to sleep- I like to check in with my body and mind- see how everything is feeling- if something isn't working for me I make sure to change it the next day. For me this past year has been a real wake up call- I think it was the first time I have not felt immortal- goodbye youth and hello reality!
It is Friday today! Yay the weekend! I encourage you all to go down to a pharmacy and get your blood pressure tested- heart disease is a silent killer for women- get tested regularly, tune into your body and be kind to yourself! Much love Mommas- Happy Friday!