How to keep your heart healthy in a recession

February 19, 2009 by  

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Recession then depression. It can really break your heart. It has happened before and it’s happening again. People are down and depressed and some are even committing suicide. But recession and depression can also have some long-term effects on our health that may persist long after the financial markets have recovered. Our cardiovascular health is especially at stake as we encounter stress, mental as well as physical everyday. But in tough times like this, we should really take care of ourselves and keep in mind that real wealth is good health. Here are some tips on how to take care of your heart and health in times of recession.

Eat properly. Make your health and nutrition your number one priority. Cut down on expenses, if you must, but don’t cut down on the right food. You can make some adjustments though. You might go for the cheaper run-of-the-mill vegetables rather than the more expensive organic ones. You might opt for the locally produced fruit over the exotic imported types you used to prefer.

Take your medications. Medication is another of the things that we cannot do without even during recessions. I am not referring to vitamins and dietary supplements but the medications needed to manage chronic conditions such as insulin, statins, or beta-blockers.

Keep the stress low. With bad news coming from all sides, it is difficult not to get stressed. And stressors play a major role in cardiovascular health. Don’t take is personally. It’s only money. There are many stress management strategies that you can do and some are on this list (exercise, going out). Ask your health care provider for stress management advice.

Do exercise. The economy maybe standing still but doesn’t mean that you should. You can cut down on fitness center and golf club membership fees but not on exercise. And don’t say that they all go together in one package because they don’t. There are cheap forms of exercise such as cycling, running, or simply walking to work, to shop, etc. And hey, in the process, you reduce stress, improve your cardiovascular health, lower your CO2 emission and help curb air pollution that is bad for your heart.

Avoid alcohol. Burying your sorrows in alcoholic drinks is not the best strategy in these hard times. Alcohol is high in calories and if taken in large quantities, can damage the heart and the liver. Drinking should only be done in moderation with meals and only when you are feeling relaxed. Drinking when feeling depressed is simply asking for trouble.

Go out. Don’t mope inside the house. Go out for a walk, if only around the block and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. The combination of recession plus cold winter weather can result in a disaster that can drive us crazy. Go out with your friends and family once in awhile. You might have to downgrade to a cheaper restaurant but who cares? Good company counts.

Smell the flowers. Maybe this is your chance to slow down and check your priorities in life. Maybe this is your chance to pause and smell the flowers.

Here are some other survival tips you might want to check out:


Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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