Howard County Holistic Center
Women’s Health Wellness Toolbox
When it comes to women’s health, it takes a pandemic of humongous proportions for each of us to take inventory of our lives. Our new pace of pause, with possibly working from home, allows us to see how we navigate new stressors on many levels. Whether they be familial, financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual, they may rise to the top under pressure. And attention needs to be had.
Ten years ago, it was at this exact juncture I landed in the hospital with a solid case of atrial fibrillation. With all tests and numbers coming back normal, the curious writer in me went on a research hunt for exactly what happened. What follows years later, along with lessons learned, allowed me to create my Wise Heart Women’s Health program. In 1982 I found heart disease is the #1 killer of women, and that we surpassed men of dying of cardiovascular disease. This caused me to empower women as a holistic educator, and massage therapist. Along the way, I had to deal with and address my own stress – which is so funny, as I help my clients lessen stress and maintain health and harmony.
Here is my updated, post-COVID-19 wellness toolbox for women’s health with attention to lifestyle choices that address stress, sleep, and sanity.
Women’s Health Wellness Toolbox T.I.P.S.:
Tangible – begin each day with 3-5-8 breathing (inhale, hold, exhale) to oxygenate your body. Move daily as medicine for the body by walking, running, gardening. Drink water (half body weight in ounces) for heart and brain health. Alcohol can affect the rhythm of the heart. Keep your immune system strong with less sugar, more garlic, vitamin C, spinach, almonds, green tea, cinnamon spice, oregano, and thyme.
Informational – For optimal women’s health, address stress and begin paying attention to signs (headaches, pain, insomnia) from the increase in the cortisol hormone that in turn raises inflammation in the body. Attend to your central nervous system, to calm it down with vagus nerve stimulants like massage, yin yoga, meditation, and prayer, all raising oxytocin levels. Getting sufficient deep sleep of 7-8 hours, with no blue light for 1-2 hours prior, along with applying oils of lavender or cedarwood to the neck, heart, and feet help induce relaxation.
Practical – throughout the day if hyper-focusing on the negative or a situation you can’t change, stop, try 3-5-8 breathing to restore calm. Practice intentional gratitude, coming back to your heart, stating five things you are grateful for, shifting the concern. Turn to prayer and your faith to carry you through rough patches, and check in on family and loved ones. Intentionally relax daily to get out of the sympathetic nervous system loop, of fight or flight.
Smile – doing so engages many facial muscles that in turn sends the happy hormones of dopamine and serotonin to your body, affecting your emotions. Heightened emotions can raise blood pressure and tension. Have a family zoom session, helping to connect and watch funny movies that make you laugh heartily.
These T.I.P.S. can greatly improve women’s health during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.