Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feel Better - Passion for Life

Yolanda Smith is a refugee. What she's managed to escape is the drill-sergeant grind of her work-obsessed self. Reading these words here may surprise you. After all, we're the I-Heart-My-Job people. But truth be told, we're also the Keep It Real people. The Sustainable Success people. And if there's one thing you need to sustain yourself over the long haul in any form of success worth having, it's the ability to take care of yourself minute by minute.

Consider the statistics: one in nine women between the ages of 45-64 has some form of heart disease or stroke; this ratio soars to one in three at age 65 and beyond. One in six men aged 45-64 has some form of heart or blood vessel disease; in men 65 and older the ratio decreases to one in eight. Whether you're in this age bracket or not, the reality looms large. Yolanda had to learn it the hard way. After 6 years of 15 hours a day, Yolanda collapsed while presenting in a room full of hundreds of professional nurses. A nurse herself, she explained "if you had asked me if I was happy, fulfilled or stressed, the answer would have been yes, yes, NO!"

Work is a drug. It offers some really great highs we all get hooked on - pumping up our adrenaline, our egos and our wallets. But with all that pumping - you've got to take a look at what your ultimate pump - your heart - needs and be loyal to giving it that care on a regular basis. Give a little bit to your heart this month by taking a moment for the following this month:

- Get a physical. Dammit. Really. When is the last time you had someone measure your cardiovascular efficiency or look at how well you are functioning? Do it. Call now.

- Skip the cig. If you are a dabbler, you know what I'm talking about. Have the glass of wine (preferably a good red you will really enjoy) and leave smoking to the smouldering look in your eyes.

- Take a little walk. It takes as few as 15 minutes to ease cardiovascular stress with a little movement. Gotta get to the post office? Walk. Gotta go to the mall? Park further from the entrance. Give your strides a sense of purpose and your heart will like it even more.

- Try a new relaxation technique. The web is full of free downloads of meditations, descriptions of visualizations, and medical sites referencing countless mindfulness techniques. Youtube or google "relaxation techniques" or spring for .99 at iTunes and try one today.

Like Yolanda quoted from her days as a cardiac nurse, "minutes are muscle". So true in the emergency room and so true in life. The sooner you learn to take care of that muscle, the more beautiful minutes you'll get.

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