Since the pandemic, my stress levels have made me rethink how I want to live the rest of my life and how best can I manage aging in the healthiest way possible. This of course requires making significant behavior changes as well as being more informed about your body and emotional state of mind. I recently caught the BA4 COVID strain and even though I am fully vaccinated and boosted, it was indeed a bad flu experience that I would not wish on anyone. Over the last 6 months, I read several books, magazines and articles on self-care intending to build a wellness plan for me in this post pandemic era. Here is what I have learned …
What Worries Me the Most
Besides the usual aches and pains of aging, I have struggled with a number of stomach issues affected by stress and anxiety caused by the isolation that we all have experienced during the pandemic. The lack of going to the gym, overeating, long hours sitting in front of a monitor and limited social interaction (not to mentioned unable to travel) does take a toll on the quality of your health and mental health.
As soon as vaccinations were available, and life began to slowly resemble the past, I committed to refocus on my overall health and wellness. My first step was scheduling a full physical with my doctor to catch up with all my usual routine checkups but to challenge myself on addressing my stomach anxiety having been diagnosed with something called Dysfunctional Dyspepsia. Frankly, another medical term for something doctors don’t have a clue. Understanding stress and anxiety was essential to finding a more holistic approach that does not rely on prescription drugs.
Dr. Wendy Suzuki’s book, “Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion”, was a first start for me in understanding how stress works and how best to manage it. Clearly, we are all now living in an era of anxiety impacting our moods, our ability to sleep and creating unwelcomed health issues. The first part of the book is a bit technical but essential in understanding how the brain handles both good and bad anxiety (yes, we have both). The second part of the book begins to explain how to use good anxiety to build resiliency when most needed. The third part of the book offers you strategies on how to handle stress, many of them familiar to us, such as the importance of meditation, which I have not been good at and am pushing myself to do more often.
Another book that I also found useful and directly helped me with managing my stomach was Dr. Ameet Aggarwal “Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind: Leaky Gut, Adrenal Fatigue, Liver Detox, Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression, Disease & Trauma. Mindfulness, Holistic Therapies, Diet, Nutrition & Food.”
This book offers a holistic approach to living a healthier life. It integrates a variety of Naturopathic modalities like herbs & homeopathy, with emotional healing techniques including meditation and exercise. What I liked about this book is its commitment to helping you reduce your reliance on prescription drugs, especially on combatting common stomach problems such as acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach spasms.
Developing a Wellness Plan
Best advice I give anyone reading this is the importance of creating a wellness plan that supports both your emotional and physical needs and sticking to it every year. I have prepared a long wellness checklist, beginning with returning to the gym and reconstructing how I eat and control my weight. Staying in tune with your body and keeping up with all healthy checkups is a job (yes a job) that cannot be ignored, especially as you are aging. I want to remain as healthy, strong and active as possible and use prevention as an important tool in hopes of a long life. We all need to live within our limits, yet seek to live a limitless lifestyle.
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