Tuesday, December 4, 2018


The effort it takes to reduce stress is stressing me out. My blood pressure has been running a little high lately and I'm trying to avoid taking medication for it. For alternatives, I found this list (from 13 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure - ABC News):

  1. Power walks [Already doing it.]
  2. Breathe deeply *
  3. Potassium [Had it tested. No deficiency.]
  4. Reduce sodium [Also tested fine.]
  5. Dark chocolate [Every day, baby!]
  6. Coenzyme Q10 [Started taking it as of today.]
  7. Drink (a little) alcohol [I'm an overachiever here (and not in the "little" department).]
  8. Switch to decaf coffee [In your dreams but I'll do it if nothing else works.]
  9. Hibiscus tea [On my shopping list.]
  10. Work less [I'm in front of the computer most of the day whether I'm working or not.]
  11. Relax with music *
  12. See help for snoring [For me or my partner?]
  13. Replace refined carbs with foods high in soy or milk protein [I'm not sure how one can replace the other but reducing one and increasing the other makes sense. I have a soy latte, generally, every day.]
     * This is where I get stressed out.

I'm doing well in most of these areas but there are a couple bad habits I probably should fix. Deep breathing and relaxing music? Who has time for that?

I've tried to close my eyes and focus on my breathing and found myself getting antsy almost immediately. Today, I tried while listening to the most relaxing music ever and set a timer for one minute and was, frankly, surprised at how quickly the time passed. I'll work on increasing that time but just thinking about it is like: "Great, just another chore I've got to do." (If I all I did was worry about my "gottas" I'd never get to any of my "wannas.")

As if that wasn't stressful enough, I looked up how to properly take my own blood pressure. The instructions from Mayo Clinic include (and I quote although the emphasis is all mine):
  • Measure your blood pressure twice daily. The first measurement should be in the morning before eating or taking any medications, and the second in the evening. Each time you measure, take two or three readings to make sure your results are accurate. Your doctor might recommend taking your blood pressure at the same times each day.
  • Don't measure your blood pressure right after you wake up. You can prepare for the day, but don't eat breakfast or take medications before measuring your blood pressure. If you exercise after waking, take your blood pressure before exercising.
  • Avoid food, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement. Also, go to the toilet first. A full bladder can increase blood pressure slightly.
  • Sit quietly before and during monitoring. When you're ready to take your blood pressure, sit for five minutes in a comfortable position with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported against a chair. Try to be calm and not think about stressful things. Don't talk while taking your blood pressure.
My morning routine includes coffee first thing so there's no period between "right after you wake up" and coffee. Certainly not 30 minutes. If I take my bp before exercise, that's less than 30 minutes after I had coffee. And twice daily taken multiple times? Sitting still for five minutes? It's all getting to be too much!

Ugh! It seems that medication is the easy way out - pop a pill and go about my day. But, if I want to avoid that, I need to quit whining and figure out how to relax a little. 

Maybe I need a cat. [I typed "stress and cats" into my search engine and found articles about stressed cats. That's the last thing I need!]

No comments: