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  • Volume Eight, Number Seven: October 2003

    Your Health

    A Story With A Happy Ending

     Dr. Diane Forbes

    Sometimes life keeps us just plain busy. You know what I mean, those times when work requirements build up. Everybody needs something from you today, while their need from yesterday still remains unfinished. In order to get everything caught up you go in early, possibly even stay late at work for however long it takes. And sometimes it can take a longer time than expected, stretching from days to weeks and beyond.

    So if you are like me, you have to drop something. Time for your regular exercise is an easy one to get rid of. But boy is it hard to find that time again later. Somehow after you close up your exercise time with another activity, like work, it’s darn hard to open it again. Particularly after too much hard work, it is nice to do nothing in your exercise time.

    If the situation is really bad you give up eating well. It is so much easier to grab a quick bite here and there. Skip a meal, grab some fast food …and forget about shopping. By this time there are virtually no fruits and vegetables in your diet, just a lot of processed foodstuffs.

    When it really goes on to long then your spouse lets you know. Not only have you distorted your own routine, but now you are upsetting the routines of those around you. Usually it has not gone on so long that it causes irreparable damage to your relationship, but it is not so hard to think of someone you know who’s family has broken down for this exact reason.

    Finally, it can get so bad that mentally you can’t take it any longer. Regular mental functioning goes by the way side resulting in possible mental illness, self destructive substance abuse problems and possible disability from work. Sounds pretty far-fetched on one hand, but it happens to some people, and that some person could be you or me.

    A sad story truly, but think about it as a parable. When we really get too busy, so many of our body systems become taxed. Our sleep patterns change and we don’t feel rested, our dietary needs go unmet and our digestive systems speed up and/or slow down. Our mental functioning drops off, causing us to forget important details, or causing us to feel mentally restless. Muscles get tight, cardiovascular capabilities drop and our weight changes (up or down, too far in either direction is no good).

    Mostly I want you to realize that these are only the changes that we notice. The ones we can easily measure because they are gross changes from where we were before the hard work came on. Now think about all of the little, but precise functions that we don’t have awareness of. Hormone production, immune function, tissue repair, etc. are in the finest balance, and are also put under strain from a state of over work. Keeping our health in balance is a difficult process, and we have to adjust this balance every day under circumstances that often are out of our control.

    Sure, it is an up and down pattern of challenge that we face in keeping healthy, just as the demands of work are higher and lower at times, but we need keep an eye on the whole level of demand to our general good health. If it gets too far out of balance, our well being really is affected. And you know your body won’t ask for a divorce, it will just make your life miserable.

    So in the end, take care, and the time to keep your health at its best. This story should always have the happiest ending possible, and the best part is, you always get to contribute to how it turns out.

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