December 21st Is Here! So Just How Are YOU Doing Stress Wise??
Posted on December 21 2017
Shopping, putting together a gift list and trying to make sure you’ve not forgotten anybody. Replying to friends requests for attending various parties, not to mention the office party that seems to crop up at the last minute, and oh yes, what are you bringing to each? Sound familiar, well we all know that the above are just a few of the many things you have to take care of either shopping for, creating special gifts, or baking or cooking some holiday fare that you’re going to be taking along with you to these events, that hopefully will impress your friends and co-workers.
The above are just a few of the many “To Do” items on your holiday “Must Do” list. So are you enjoying the holidays yet?
A lot of us here in the United States are running around this time of year trying to get ready for this long-awaited season that seems to move at lightning speed this time of year. It kind of starts off when Halloween comes around. We start thinking to ourselves that now that Halloween is over, we may be thinking of getting around to taking those decorations down and replacing them with Fall or Thanksgiving ones. Then that holiday appears with all the anxiety about getting everything in order for that family holiday meal and in the back of your mind while your preparing the house and making seating arrangements for your table plating’s, Christmas is looming in the background. You say to yourself that you have lots of time but with the turkey dinner over, there is talk about getting the tree and putting it up and then it hits you that time is not going to be on your side.
Are you starting to feel the pressure yet? The holidays are typically stressful for many people. But putting yourself, and more importantly, your heart, under additional stress is definitely not good for you. Especially when the American Heart Association has proclaimed new guidelines for blood pressure. It’s nothing new that more and more Americans are dealing with high blood pressure now more than ever, and a lot has to do with them also being overweight!
Normally your blood pressure goes up and down during the day. However, if your blood pressure stays high for too long it can damage your heart and cause other health problems. Although high blood pressure has no symptoms and many people don’t know they have it, it increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to measure it. One device that can help you keep track of your pressure is the ADC Automatic Advantage Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
It’s relatively small, easy to use and since it goes over your wrist, you don’t need to worry about wearing long sleeves at this colder time of year. According to the new guidelines, 120/80 is now considered “Elevated” instead of being normal. So if you consider that previously we knew that more Americans already had high blood pressure at the old levels, imagine how many more of us are now at this elevated stage.
So, the holidays are already here, what can we do to keep our blood pressure in line?
First, chill. The holidays are NOT going to stop being a holiday if some of your “Must Do” items don’t get done. The festivities will go on and you and everyone around you will not know you missed one or two of your goals. And know what you will still have a great holiday season in spite of it!
Second. This actually should be first. Make sure you have an annual checkup by your family doctor to make sure your blood pressure levels are in the “Good Zone”. And if you are on medication, make sure you take it regularly. This is nothing to fool around with and working on getting your pressure down to the acceptable levels should be your New Year’s resolution. Think about it, if you don’t have those levels at the proper levels, you may not be in a very good position to celebrate next year. So be aware of your numbers and take steps to a healthier you!
Third. Eat right, that means a breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now we know it’s the holidays and our favorite foods make their appearance this time of year. But you can still have your cake and eat it too if you watch just how much of those holiday favorites you eat. And you can always pass on high sugar or salty foods if you want that piece of pecan pie or helping of stuffing. Just make a choice of which you would rather have today, and maybe have that choice you passed on tomorrow.
Fourth. Be mindful of taking over the counter drugs at this time of year. Many of us reach for our normal cough and cold medicine. But if your blood pressure is higher than your doctor wants it to be you need to be careful about what over the counter medicine you take. One of the key things you need to look out for is decongestants. They are usually our "Go-To" medicine when we have a sinus or cold condition, but they have some harmful side effects. They can raise blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of some prescribed blood pressure medications. It's best to use them for the shortest duration possible and avoid in severe or uncontrolled hypertension. Consider alternative therapies, such as nasal saline, intranasal corticosteroids or antihistamines, as appropriate.
Fifth. Watch your physical activity at this time of year. Hopefully other than your high blood pressure you’re in pretty good shape. But if the most exercise you're currently getting is getting off of the couch and getting a drink or snack out of the fridge…. Well, we need to work on changing that, don’t we? What I really mean along with the holidays, at least in the normally colder parts of the United States, you can usually count on a snowfall this time of year. Shoveling that snow can cause more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event. Everything is relevant so you need to do everything in moderation and take frequent breaks when dealing with a snowfall.
Bottom line is, you can enjoy the holidays, but try and let that stress train just pass you by. Keep everything in perspective, after all, the holidays are meant to be a joyful and happy time amongst your friends and family. If you let your stress levels build up, you may be spending the holidays in a hospital bed, instead of being home with family, watching Ralphie getting his tongue stuck in the movie “A Christmas Story”!