About a week and a half ago we experienced Hurricane/tropical storm Irene in the Northeast. By the end of last week most of the people I know had power back and were able to return to a life more familiar to them than being a “pioneer” within their own homes. What are some of the lessons we can take away from our experience with the hurricane?
1) Heed the warning – For many it was unimaginable that a storm would leave them without electricity for days at a time. We all knew it was a possibility, but somehow it seemed remote, like it would happen to someone else or in another area. Those who prepared, for example – removed loose items from decks and yards, stocked up on water and batteries seemed to do better in adjusting to the clean-up and when the power went out. So it goes with heart disease, we anticipate it will happen to someone else. However, if you have been told that you are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, pay attention. A healthy lifestyle is not a guarantee, but when you are already active, eating right, managing your blood pressure and other risks, the changes you will need to make in case of an emergency will be fewer and less stressful.
2) Take advantage of the challenge or crisis as an opportunity – Prior to Irene my husband and I had been talking about cleaning out the basement; we had flooding occasionally in the past and again this time. We knew what our options were, this time we chose the one we had been putting off, ripping up the carpet, cleaning and organizing. When you are faced with a scare, challenge or alarm regarding your health, it may be something you had contemplated before, even had tacit plans for how to deal with. Now is the time to take action; it can be making a commitment which requires you to post reminders around your home, cleaning your pantry out of unhealthy foods, getting more information about your situation or whatever you know you need to do to come out of the challenge ahead of where you were.
3) Utilize Resources – Irene reminded us of the resources in our community; many exist year round. Resources are available year round to support people with heart disease – family and friends who encourage you, cardiologists and cardiac rehab programs at local hospitals, even gyms in your area which can help you devise a fitness program that works for you, and coaches, like me, to guide you on your journey to well being. Find out what is available.
You don’t have to wait for a near crisis to benefit from warnings, take advantage of opportunities, or utilize resources.
What are some of the lessons you learned from Hurricane Irene? How have you benefitted? Please share.