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A LOVE LETTER: The Nurse Perspective



It is morning and I am slowly waking to a new day.  I feel my life’s blood coursing through my veins, I hear my heart beating loudly in my ears and I know I am alive.  Thank you, God, for giving me another day.  A day filled with joy and gratitude for all the wonders, the mysteries yet to unfold, and an opportunity to connect with loved ones near and far. 

Today, the world celebrates heart Day with chocolates, cards, and phone calls, social media events, and zoom time, all proclaiming love and adoration. Giving and receiving these love messages is an age-old tradition that despite the chaos we now call the new normal, not many of us celebrated without some recognition of this day. 

And so, today, the emphasis is on the heart and how to care for your very own heart, let us call it the mind-body-heart connection.  In a recent article in the journal Circulation, of the American Heart Association, the emphasis is on the connection between our mental and physical health. In other words, one is not exclusive of the other.  It further stipulates that mental health is important to overall well-being, in that, if mental health is at risk, so the physical health will also be at risk.  

February is the month we focus more on heart health; however, we should reemphasize good heart health practices every single day our heart beats.  And we become careless, forgetful, and wayward in our approach to heart care.  I know I am guilty because of all the leftover Christmas chocolates I sneak every so often.  But you and I both know it is much more than sneaking that little Hershey bar or a chocolate kiss, Right?   

In recent weeks, I have been very concerned about my blood pressure which has been moving way past the norms as outlined by the American Heart Association.  After teaching others how to care for their heart and about bringing their blood pressure down to acceptable levels, I seem to have fallen prey to the “killer” HBP (high blood pressure).  So, for the past two weeks, I have been intentional about reducing it, examining causes, checking out diet, really concentrating on labels of foods before I purchase them, watching my weight, and discussing it with my health provider.  Yet I must report, there is something I am missing.  Below are some of the things I have applied to my own quest for a healthy heart and I thought you too, would like to have this information. 

First and foremost, reduce stress: 

  1. Relax: set a quiet time, breathe deeply, listen to gentle music. I love walking on the beach but have not been able to for a year.    

  1. Invest in relationships that foster growth in you, rid yourself of toxic people/relationships. 

  1. Exercise – even in the coldest weather, you can do aerobic exercises in your home.  Got a TV? There are several free exercise videos you can use.  Whatever you decide to do, do something.  

  1. Express gratitude and joy – change your response to negativity and focus on positive things in your life, saying thank you to others for their thoughtfulness and or gifts. 

  1. Enjoying the activities, you are involved in - if volunteering in the community, church, or with individuals. 

  1. Better self-management of time, resources, and volunteering.  You do not have to do or be involved in everything.  Granted you do not want to stagnate at home because of COVID restrictions but pick and choose how you want to expend your energy. 

  1. Change what you can – do not try to change the world around you, just change how you react and how much you can emotionally and physically handle.  It is alright to say NO. 

  1. KNOW what triggers anxiety in you, what upsets you, what to avoid, other anxious people, and as previously stated – TOXIC people. 

  1. Make a written plan of action to help you remember and look at it daily or as often during the day that you need to be reminded. 

And lastly: 

  1. Make and maintain a plan for regular meals to include healthy nutritious food, water, and physical activity. 

Thank you, and here’s wishing you a HAPPY HEALTHY HEART ALWAYS 

by Donna J. Manier, MSN/Ed, BSN, RNBC, FCN


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