“You, yourself, as much as anyone in the Universe, deserve your love and affection." - Sharon Salzberg
Yes, I know that the February observance is focused on keeping your heart healthy – and I’ll talk about that shortly – however, I’m advocating for self-care,which is about self-love which is NOT self-ish but is self-responsibility. For if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t be of much use in helping others.
Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in women. And our symptoms are not the same as men’s. We may experience fatigue, back pain, shortness of breath, even flu-like symptoms, but are not likely to experience the sudden onset of severe chest pain, pain radiating down the arm, that men experience.
I’d like to share a story about a woman I’ll call Patty – at 64 years old, she appeared to be a fountain of energy. On the outside, she seemed to have it all – a lovely home plus a second home at the beach. Lots of friends to socialize with, travel opportunities, three great kids and a successful businessman as her husband. Yet, underneath it all there was an undercurrent of unrelenting stress (I suspect it was at least in part caused by what I observed as her need to control in every situation). And I never saw that she gave attention to her own self-care. Not to mention three back surgeries in the course of five years to relieve unrelenting back pain.
Her first heart attack happened suddenly and without warning. She was rushed to the hospital and doctors implanted a stint in her arteries in order to help with blood flow to the heart and brain. She left the hospital assuring everyone she was fine and then continued to jump back into her go-go-go lifestyle.
Shortly thereafter, I invited her to lunch and she declined stating she was feeling like she had the flu. Three weeks later, while talking on the phone to a friend, she stated she suddenly “felt woozy” and then suffered a massive heart attack which claimed her life.
"Health care without self-care is nothing more than sick care"
~ Roshi Joan Halifax
Why do I share this story? I’m guessing you already know about heart-healthy diet, the need to exercise, get plenty of rest, drink enough water, etc. So I’m not going to waste your time offering those tips – there is a plethora of them on the internet. Rather, I want to encourage self-love and self-nurturing as an antidote to stress.
Sue Perisi is a Reiki Master and Medical Intuitive and certified as a Yoga Instructor, Holistic Health Coach and Urban Zen Integrative Therapist .
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