If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life, it’s to treat your body with love by doing things to keep it happy and by making healthy goals.. Most of the time I do okay, but there’s always room for improvement. My days vary day to day so sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to how much sleep I get or how active I’ve been – especially when life get a little stressful.
Last Thursday after a busy week we headed out to the beach for the night, and the weather was perfect. I logged my walk into my healthy choices program, which is part of the Walgreens app and Balance Rewards Program (with the Rewards Program your earn points when you buy featured items or engage in healthy behavior). It’s a cool feature that lets you set goals, enter your activities and track your progress. We played and relaxed in the sand and enjoyed our evening together. We all fell asleep happy that night.
The next morning though we were awaken with some scary news. Wayne’s mom had fallen and suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. We immediately drove the hour and a half back to be with her. She wasn’t doing well. She has been fighting cancer for several years now and the physician suspected the bleeding was coming from a tumor site. We sat there as he explained to the rest of the family that the brain swelling wouldn’t peak until 2-3 days, and that given her age and health condition we were just going to have a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, but that there was a good chance she would not make it out of the hospital, and if she did if would be on Hospice.
I had done a ton of running back and forth the past couple of days and Friday night it started taking a toll on me. Finally I sat down and felt as if I were melting into the chair. I knew I hadn’t been eating right, drinking enough, or sleeping well. Nor had I even turned on MyFitnessPal app so none of my walking had been recorded or synced to my walking goal on my healthy choices feature. I logged in and added in my mileage for the day. Then I drank a glass of water and went to bed – and I slept for eight hours.
We went to visit Wayne’s mom again last night and she was awake – once again defying all odds. Both her arms and legs moved, she was alert and verbalizing with us. She was cleared to eat some puree food and she not only ate 100%, but she began to feed herself too – and this was all coming from a woman with cancer throughout her body and a large hemorrhage on the right side of her brain.
Today Wayne’s mom has improved so much that she will likely be discharged tomorrow, pending we find the right facility to care for her. This last 72 hours has reminded me how important it is to take care of you and maintain healthy goals even during times of stress. Sometimes as a nurse the hardest thing to do is practice what you preach, but I believe these are some of the most important things you can do for yourself when faced with a stressful situation:
How to Keep Healthy Goals During Times of High Stress:
Obviously if it’s an emergency situation this will be easy to do, but sometimes we get thrown into too many directions that end up causing stress and we have a hard time figuring out where to start and what to do. Take a deep breath, and then make a list. Cut out the unimportant stuff.
I am guilty of not doing this. Do the best you can. Sometimes I’ll close my eyes in the afternoon for ten minutes, just to let my brain relax. What’s the magic number for enough sleep? I don’t know – but I’m pretty sure your body does, and it may also need extra rest when dealing with stress.
Eat real food:
I know the easiest thing to do when you’re busy and stressed is to grab a cheeseburger with some greasy fries and a soda, or to not eat for half of the day only to be starving late at night (once again, guilty here). Instead try and eat a whole grain wrap or a sandwich with some fruit, veggies, and iced tea. I know when I do it really does give me a boost of energy that I need.
Drink that water:
It’s so simple, but something that seems to be forgotten when our minds are elsewhere. Friday was a huge reminder for me after I ended up with a bad headache. I realized that it was because I hadn’t drank anything all day.
Keep track of your activity and health:
I love being able to visually see my progress towards my personal goals, whether it’s from getting enough sleep at night, walking enough miles every week, or seeing my weight loss on a chart – the healthy choices program really helps keep my day-to-day stuff in line, so I have one less thing to worry about.
How do you stay sane in times of stress?
Thanks #BalanceRewards and #CollectiveBias for helping me choose healthy goals!