February is American Heart Month.
Did you know the leading cause of death for a woman of any race in the US age 45-84 is heart disease?
I am focusing on heart health this month. You might remember I don’t like the month of February. (see my blog of last year) Instead of dwelling on the difficult memories of February’s of the past I have been mindful of staying active and keeping healthy. Not an easy thing to do with kids coughing and sneezing on you at work!
Exercise has been my go to for the month. It keeps me motivated and helps me fight off the winter blues. And it gets my heart pumping. I got a Myzone heart monitor and it has been great. Now I can track my heart rate during workout activities. It motivates me to exercise strong and not quit early. But I do notice something on those days where I have a wave of grief…my broken heart does not work as well.
Yes – I do have a heart that is forever broken. I will never be the same.
People with significant loss say they are forever changed. So true. My broken heart won’t ever be the way it was, and for this reason I need to take good care of it.
Thankfully I do not have acute broken heart syndrome. That is a temporary condition that is brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. It is also known as stress cardiomyopathy. So yes – you can have life threatening heart disease due to a broken heart.
Chronic and complicated grief is stress, and stress is not good on your heart. I don’t feel my broken heart all the time but I do know that my emotions from grief can be negative on my health.
I am more tired than I used to be. I can work my long hours but I need my rest at night. When I am feeling a big grief wave I cannot take deep breaths when I work out and thus cannot reach my max workout goal heart rate. I don’t push myself on those days. I acknowledge my limitation with the understanding that I need to listen to my body. At least I am moving and trying to feel better. But it makes me aware of how my grief brain is hard on my body.