Last week, I had to have my yearly blood work and check up for our health insurance provider. This is something I never look forward to, but truly, who does?
For more than a week, my boys had to hear the same refrain:
"No, we can't eat that. I have to lose five pounds by Friday."
I was only kidding. Sorta.
My numbers came back, and it looks like I've passed four out of five criteria for optimal health!
Low cholesterol? Check!
Low body mass index? Check!
Low glucose levels? Check!
Triglyceride levels? Check!
Blood pressure? Hmm. Better check that.
It appears that I have pre-hypertension, which could lead to high blood pressure.
Am I surprised? Not really. After all, I'm the espresso-loving , crazy-life living stress queen that you all know if you spend even five minutes perusing my blog.
"You worry too much," my husband said smugly. Just wait until your numbers come back, mister, and then we'll see who the smug one is! HA!
"Really, what do you have to stress about?" he asked in his oh so flippant way, as if there's a secret formula of no corporate job = no stress.
I'm still in the process of my FOURTH CORPORATE RELOCATION in under TEN YEARS!
But hey! No worries!
I admit it. If left to my own devices, I can live inside of my own head too much, and that's a scary place where all worries and frets and dark thoughts reside. Worries about my children. Worries about my family. Worries about health. Worries about finances. Worries about the economy, and the state of world affairs, and our declining culture, and the church, and....
You see what I mean?
Time to practice the Lamaze breathing again.
So I've been examining my life to see areas where I may improve on this facet of my health. Doing a little research online (because if it's on the interwebs, it has to be true! Duh!) to find ways to lower blood pressure naturally.
Did you know that squeezing a ball for two minutes, fifteen minutes a day can significantly decrease blood pressure? This was from a study by the American Heart Association. Hmmm. Squeeze a ball? I can do that!
Did you also know that dog owners can have significantly lower blood pressure than those without dogs?
I want one SO BAD! Would you look at that face? Who wouldn't want to kiss that sweet puppy face all day? My blood pressure is lowering just looking at him!
Of course, following the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is probably a good idea. I've read through the food recommendations, and I already follow this diet nearly 100 percent of the time. Oatmeal, skim milk, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding restaurants and processed foods and salty foods and sugary sweets.
But there's this one little area where I may have a hard time.
I love my coffee bar! I even found this sweet little cafe curtain last week to make it look extra cute! (Better Homes and Gardens from Walmart!)
I can't give up my coffee! If I did, then what reason would I have to get up in the morning?
Maybe I can switch to decaff...for the afternoon cuppa. But give up coffee completely?
Back to my Lamaze breathing now.
Maybe a better approach to stress would be to remind myself about what Jesus had to say about this topic. And then keep reminding myself...every...single...day.
I think I may need to re-read some of my favorite books on the subject in the near future.
Tell me, what's your favorite stress reliever?