Self – Relationship and Taking Care of our Health

Welcome to a brand new year! I thought I’d kick off the year with a post to remind us all to take care of ourselves to maintain good health. No time like the present to keep ourselves in check for a healthy new year.

The most important relationship we have first and foremost should be with ourselves. If our health isn’t in great shape it can hinder much of what we do. Did you know that emotional health can affect our physical health? It’s a fact. In relation to that statement, I’m sure many of you have heard the term – ‘stress kills’. Well, it can potentially be very harmful. Just ask me, one who has gone the gamut of doctors and tests for much of the fall of 2022.

It’s easy to overlook ourselves, especially when times are tense. I’m a living testament to what self-neglect can do.  So yes, self compassion and self care is essential to live and thrive, not just to survive.

When my husband took ill, my complete focus was everything for him. Out with the old routine and scheduled self-care. While I was living on auto-pilot, I didn’t take the same care of myself I always previously did. Starting with poor diet and often, not eating. Not eating much led me to not taking my vitamins and supplements as I’d been doing for decades. My mind was solely focused on taking care of my husband. And when I’m living in stress, I’m one of those people who cannot look at food when in this mode – quite contrary to many who eat for comfort when they are stressed. Not living on a set schedule led me to random bites here and there, and often, food is required to take vitamins along with for absorbtion. Nothing to absorb left me forgetting to, and eventually, not even caring to take my supplements. So my body was becoming mal-nutritioned. Oh sure, I know better. But fear and anticipatory grief left me otherwise not caring. And there was certainly a price to pay in the fallout. So I can tell you from this experience that there is also no quick fix, but once getting back to a routine, it took many months to bring back my healthful levels in my lab tests. And still, it didn’t end there.

After losing my husband in spring of 2021, I wasn’t only an emotional wreck, but I was in poor physical health. Yes, even this good health advocate was caught in the spiral. And by summer’s end in 2021 I finally booked my overdue physical with my doctor. After she read back my labs to me, I was mortified at the results and all the changes my being had gone through. I lost a lot of hair for one. Many of my levels were red flagged. I was severely deficient in vitamin levels, especially Vitamin D. That was the biggee for me, as Vitamin D is so essential to our bodily functions, and fighting off cancers, where deficiency leaves us as an open target for cancer cells to develop. I also began experiencing ‘weird’ sensations in my heart. I often had palpitations and moments where I felt I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I’d spontaneously cough. So I was sent to a cardiologist in the fall of 2021. I was put through a battery of tests and scans, and thankfully, nothing was diagnosed except stress causing my symptoms. The cardiologist asked me to follow up this past fall, and I did.

This time I was put through more and different tests, having me go back there and to the lab several times September until just weeks ago this past December. I was quite concerned, especially since a year had passed and my vitamin levels were brought back up by my good behavior, yet the heart symptoms were still lingering. And after the circuit of tests, I finally got a follow-up consult with the cardiologist. Thank goodness I was told there was nothing more serious going on, but I learned that there is indeed something called Broken Heart Syndrome. And though it is said that will eventually subside, it very much has the potential kill with a fatal heart attack.

There is a Japanese word for this syndrome – Takotsubo. This is a temporary form of cardiomyopathy. It can last weeks or months. Although this syndrome isn’t always fatal, it presents such symptoms of feeling tightness in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness in the heart muscle caused by sudden shock or acute anxiety. The body releases stress hormones which temporarily curb the heart’s ability to pump properly. Experts say that the coronary arteries that feed oxygen to the heart muscle, go into temporary spasms. Pyschological stress is a usual precursor to these symptoms. People in critical states are put on several heart medications for a temporary trial period of three months. I am grateful that I didn’t have to be prescribed such pills.

Stress kills, is a real thing. Stress comes in all shapes in forms and wreaks havoc in both our mental and physical health. We must never forget to take care of ourselves and our health, yet it’s so easy to do when life bombards us with unpleasant events, overwhelming things, and overly achieving schedules we put upon ourselves. Life is always throwing us curve balls in some aspect, so we must learn new ways to combat the overwhelming things in life. It isn’t always easy or preferred, or even thought about when we’re in the midst of a living crisis, because even when we forget about ourselves, our bodies do not forget the sins we’ve committed to them.

So what can you do to keep your healthy engines running? First and foremost, make it a point to have an annual check-up to get a scope of how well your bodies are functioning. When symptoms appear, don’t fluff them off until the “I’ll get to it eventually.” Pay attention to the signs that your bodies are sending you. Nothing happens because of nothing. There’s a reason for everything your body is telling you to pay attention to, not disregard until something escalates and potentially may become too late to repair.

In my case, it was (and is) ongoing ‘tragic’ grief that sent my body into a tailspin of symptoms. I was isolated in the depths of Covid and alone contending with my husband’s demise, and then, ultimately, the unraveling of living in that grief without him. We’ve often heard of someone losing a spouse and then not too long after, the other one dies. Grief is a stronghold that wraps around our hearts and suffocates. If it is not dealt with, it will cause a spiral of other symptoms, especially when self-neglect sets in. People who are left to wallow alone in their brokenness will ultimately pay a price somewhere with their own health. A good doctor will be so beneficial in this circumstance. The strong survive because they take action in searching for avenues that help them get through the difficult days. For me, my doctor gave me Valium for the short term to help numb the overwhelmingness I lived in. After my wake-up call with bad labs, it took about five months until my levels were back to normal again. I use meditations to take me out of myself when I feel the need. After a year, I joined a gym for both some physical goodness, and for social interaction. And of course, writing, writing is a great therapy for me, and it can be for many. You don’t need to be an author to be able to write in a journal to expel emotions, even if nobody else ever gets to read them. Words and thoughts that circle our brains sometimes need a push out of our heads onto paper. This can be quite gratifying and freeing to the soul.

It was a certainly a year of learning to get myself back into reasonable good health. The palpitations and shortness of breath moments have been lessening, but they aren’t gone yet. I take my vitamins religiously again. I also had an overdue colonoscopy a few weeks ago, and although nothing specific was found, the surgeon requested me to have more bloodwork done, and she informed me she took a few precautionary biopsies. Fingers crossed for that final result that should be back to me in a week or so. And so I shall continue on my journey of health, as I hope all of you will do the same for yourselves. 🧡

Happy New Year

©DGKaye2023

I told my doctor, now I understand how it could really happen, that someone could die from a broken heart. She said she couldn’t disagree. – Japanese word for broken heart

93 thoughts on “Self – Relationship and Taking Care of our Health

  1. Broken Heart Syndrome is real and I’ve seen it happen a couple of times. Thanks for the warning and the reminder to look after ourselves even during stressful times. Sending Happy New Years’ hugs. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A great reminder to look after ourselves, Debby, even when things around us are going into a tailspin. My mother suffered a heart attack a few months after my father died, and she hadn’t even taken any medication for any heart problems, so I know well what you mean. She is better now, but she had neglected herself through my Dad’s illness, and she had to pay the price for it. Fingers crossed all the tests come back normal for you, and I am sure your upcoming break in the sun will do you a lot of good. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your personal history with all.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Olga. Thanks for your kind wishes. And I do remember when you told me about you looking after your mom. It wouldn’t surprise me if she too had the Broken Heart Syndrome. I’m so glad to hear she is doing better now. Amazing how so many parts of us are affected by grief. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Strangely enough I found that too much Vitamin D supplements can give palpitations. I find this out a few years back every time I tried to take a Vitamin D supplement. I don’t bother now, and get out in the sunshine as much as I can. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Stevie. Actually, too much of anything isn’t good, especially Vitamin D, you have to take the right dosage. Typically, 1000 units a day is the dose, with some taking 2000 a day which is still safe. But not knowing how much one is taking can be consequential. I was put on 5000 a day for 4 months after my levels had sunk so low. Yes, sunshine is our friend for Vitamin D, and as you know, we have a serious lack of it in my neck of the woods for almost 3/4 of the year. When in Mexico, I don’t take my Vitamin D because the daily sun provides what I need. 🙂 xx

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The rheumatologist gave me an increased dose about 5 years ago. The palpitations started, and I stopped taking Vit D supplements. The only over-the-counter tablets I have taken for years is Glucosamine Sulphate for the joints. x

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      2. You also eat a very healthy diet which gives you the needed nutrients. Supplements are for those not getting enough from diet. Quite possibly you don’t need them. 🙂 x

        Liked by 3 people

    1. HI Jacqui. I didn’t know about it either. And believe me, it isn’t hard to fall out of anything routine when tragedy strikes. But if we want to come out of it physically well, we must remember to take some simple steps while we’re taking care of someone else. So if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone who lets everything go. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  4. An excellent reminder Debby and none of us are getting any younger… the stress is not always of our making and even the continuous onslaught of negative headlines eats away at our health. Great tips and so pleased that all your results to date have been positive as I am sure the ones outstanding will be. You have put a lot of work in this year to get back your strength. ♥♥

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Sal. Thanks bunches. Oh yes, many aren’t aware how watching too much heart wrenching and terrible news too much can affect us too. As you know, many aspects of life are stressful and if we want to live in good health we have to stay on top of it. Stress is a silent killer that sneaks up on us so staying on top of our health is prudent. Hugs ❤ xx

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Heartfelt belated condolences, D. You’ve been through the mill. Our emotions are the deepest seat of our health in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So yes, our physical health is a manifestation of our inner condition. You might look into energy medicine with its gentle, powerful movements that strengthen our energy field (which triggers neurochemical responses). I am also dipping my toe in DDP Yoga. You’ll pull up an inspirational video if you Youtube “72-year-old DDP Yoga.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi again Diana. Thanks for your kind words and offerings my old friend. I absolutely am familiar with physical health manifesting conditions, just as grief had taken my own breath away. Funny you mention Yoga, as I’m on my way to a class in a few minutes. But I will definitely check out DDP Yoga, thanks for the tip! Hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post, Debby – and so important to take care of yourself. I take 500IU of Vit D every day – there is no way you can get enough naturally, and it’s so important to so many systems. I’m glad you’ve had all those tests. I’m trying to take good care of myself after being diagnosed with osteoporosis and glaucoma last year. Hugs, Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Toni. You are correct. Unless we are exposed to sunshine daily, with half hour or so without sunscreen to block rays, we don’t get enough Vitamin D. I’m glad you are being proactive and I’m sorry about your health issues. I had laser eye surgery 15 years ago for glaucoma issues, so I know how scary that can be. Be well my friend. Hugs ❤

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  7. Thanks for this reminder, Debby. When my husband was dying, like you, I, too, focused solely on him, barely eating, hardly sleeping, and minimal self-care. It took over a year for me to find myself again and get back on track. I wish you the very best in the year ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jan. Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your own pain here. It’s confirming that grief takes its toll on us and it takes time to get ourselves back into some semblance of better health, and back into the human race. I wish you too a beautiful new year too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great post for the beginning of a new year, Debby. I find that having a regular routine (to some extent) helps me to stay healthy. For example, I often listen to a YouTube morning Meditation when I awake. That is then followed by another YouTube video on positive affirmations and then anywhere between 10-30 minutes of exercise.
    After that I’m ready to start my day, which means taking my dog outside for a walk. Or rather my dog takes me outside for my walk.
    As I walk my dog I plan the rest of my day, which includes working on my writing and other activities and tasks, like house work and cooking.
    You are so right about self-care and I wish you a 2023 filled with great health, friendships and lots of success with your writing. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Carol. And thanks for sharing your positive morning routine. Mine is similar. Coffee and an inspirational video and exercise (most days 🙂 )
      Thanks for the beautiful wishes, I couldn’t ask for more than that. I wish you all the same my lovely friend. ❤ xx

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  9. You tell us to take better care of ourselves and you speak from experience. Thank you for always giving back as you do, based on what you learn, dear Debby. Sending much love as we start a New Year. May 2023 bring you continued healing and self-love 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christie. Thanks so much for your love and support. You know, I like to share my experiences so people can take something from it themselves. It’s so important not to forget ourselves when going through difficult times. I appreciate your well wishes and wish you happiness and all things good for 2023. Hugs ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I am pleased you are working to get yourself back into a healthy balance, Debby. You’ve certainly been through some painful months. I know they will continue, but you’ll manage better when you feel healthy. I do hope the biopsies come back clear and those stresses will be relieved too.
    I particularly enjoyed this line: ‘Grief is a stronghold that wraps around our hearts and suffocates.’ It’s very expressive and spot on.
    I hope 2023 is kind to you, Debby, and brings unexpected moments of joy. 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Such a great post and I’m so glad to hear you’re back on track with your health. I can see how easy it would be to stop doing all your normal things when facing such challenges. I tend to do the same thing at times, and I have to be careful or I do have issues with low vitamin D levels. Hugs to you on your journey of recovery. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks so much for your kudos. Sometimes we learn the hard way. I am happy to share my experience so others understand how important it is not to let our health slide. May we both continue taking proper care of ourselves. And thanks again. Hugs to you. ❤

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    1. Thanks so much Liesbet. Seems life has been throwing out curves balls left and right for the past couple years. Let 2023 be a better year for all of us. Mexico is the prescription – Vitamin Sea. 🙂 xx

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  12. My heart goes out to you, Debby, and I hope its beat sends you loving care. You’re getting healthier, and congrats to you for doing so, despite a grief that can wear us down to poor health. Yes, I totally understand how grief can send us to early deaths. I’m glad you’ve decided to live on, write on, and love on. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pam. Thank you for your kind and beautiful words. Grief is just something that can’t be explained to anyone who hasn’t lived it to its depths. Yes, I’m choosing life, just learning to walk with a heavier load. Thank you. ❤ xx

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  13. One thing you must admit Deb – you are surrounded by a wonderful support group who care for you very much. But it’s a dark road you must take alone to get through this dense forest of grief. Throughout, remember you are loved! ❤

    Your testimony here indeed rings true that it's a physiological process. This experience does encompass your entire mental, physiological, and spiritual relationship with health. People have died of a broken heart. Sometimes they feel there is no hope and no future. You have a future – there's still so much you long to do. Little by little, I am convinced, you will take small steps along this pathway to find your way back to a new comfortable self. You're already more than halfway there! Blessings back,

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    1. Oh Ellie, thank you so much for your kind and beautiful words. I feel compelled to share my journey through grief because there are so many like me on this path, and many don’t know from their grief. And yes, grief affects us on all levels. Each grief is individual and corresponds to the relationship we had with our lost loved one. Grief is just love with nowhere to go, so we carry it with us wherever we go. The learning is how to live with this new baggage, not just exist. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You have so much wisdom to share, Debby. You’ve been to hell and back and I’m so glad your heart symptoms are improving bit by bit. You’re an inspiring example of how one can live with grief while continuing to show love and kindness and vulnerability and strength to your community of friends, readers, and fellow writers. Thank you for that lesson. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Amy. Thank you so much for your most kind words. I am truly humbled my friend. I truly hope somewhere down this road that my painful experience will lead me to helping others. Hugs ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe you’re helping people with every post. It’s not something that’s going to take place down the road (although it will happen then, too)–it’s happening in the present. ❤

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    1. HI Michael. Thanks so much for your good cheer. There are mountains we all have to climb, but if we can get a heads up from others who’ve already done, it helps. I always hope my stories will help others. Hugs xx

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you for this. Very timely for me. I am working on self care so that I will be emotionally and physically able to truly be a help to my daughter during her time of need while she has to go away to care for one of my grandchildren. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Ruth. I am so happy to know that by sharing some of myself it’s a nudge for others. I wish you all the best on your journey of self-care. Good health is so important, and so taken for granted, often not realized until we suffer the consequences. I hope you and your family will be well. 🙂

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  16. Happy New Year, Deb! Life lessons are often difficult to navigate. Yet it isn’t what we do, but rather how we do it that matters. The reward is always greater than the ordeal. Patience is a primary factor – a lesson I share with you. Although I’m not always successful, I try to remember that time is an illusion. Past, present, and future co-exist. When I reach enlightenment on this principle, you’ll be the first with whom I share it! I know you’ll do me the same honor. Hugs, sister ❤️

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  17. So sorry to hear how your grief has manifested itself in other ways, Debby. The ‘Broken Heart’ syndrome is one that doctor’s take seriously now but I’m so sorry to hear about what must have been frightening symptoms and I hope that the rest of your tests confirm that you’re on the right track now regarding your physical health. Look afteryourself, now, and soak up the sun’s healing rays when you manage to get away. (But use sunscreen!) xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Trish. I’m behaving now. It’s been a climb. This grief business can be real taxing for sure. Yes, the sun is my happy place. And always with sunscreen. 🙂 ❤ xx

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  18. Hi Debby, I can relate completely to what you have described and I am also a person who doesn’t eat when I am stressed. I hardly ate for three days last week. I have four dependents though, my two sons and my parents, and they all take their behavioural queue lines from me so I had to pull myself towards myself very fast. I am making myself eat now and doing okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robbie. I know you’ve had a trying week. Thank you for sharing some of yourself here. Please take heed from my post. Take some deep breaths, think about your kids and stick some food in your mouth. A few days of bad most likely won’t affect you, but if you were to carry on like that as I did, there would be consequences. I’m so glad you realize you must pull together for your family, but don’t forget yourself. Hugs ❤

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  19. Some things that I’ve learned in the past year: 1. Take care of myself physically and emotionally by following a set routine and eating a balanced diet. 2. Get regular check-ups and exams to make sure that my body is still in excellent condition. 3. Talk to a professional about Broken Heart Syndrome to learn more about the condition and how to manage it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Get up and walk around every day. This simple act will help to release endorphins, which are feel good hormones. Practice self-care techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Keep a positive outlook and remember that good health is not a one time event. It’s something that we work on every day.

    Great content, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

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