Mindful Monday – Healthy Living: Stress & Your Heart

Welcome to Mindful Monday – Healthy Living! Each week I try to examine new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming healthier. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I attempt to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.

…to all of you who have left comments and cheered me on and are interested in accompanying me on this journey to healthy living! Together, we can offer support and ideas to make this road to “healthy,” a fun journey! Don’t forget to do a pingback in your post so I can find you! ❤

I hope you will visit the blogs of all who joined me for the journey last week:

Judy, from Edwina’s Episodes

Hebatullah, from Heba vs. Reason

Erika Kind

Bee, from Just Fooling Around with Bee

Vasantha, from My Sweet Nothings

Olga, from Just Olga (Check out the great inside workout video she shared:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4IH12Piuf4

Bee, from a Spirit of Healing

Amy, from Reade & Write

Van, from Van by the River

Carolyn, from Miscellaneous & Recommendations


Judith Barrow Blog

Melissa, from Aran Island Girl (Melissa asked about eggs being omitted from the Mediterranean Diet – here is more info on that: http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/health-topics/healthy-lifestyle/documents/Mediterranean.pdf)

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Brew & Spew

My Journey with Hijab

From World’s Kitchen

A Momma’s View

Michelle, from Book Chat

Seasoned Sistah2

Helen, from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time

I feel so energized and inspired when I read all of your comments and suggestions each week. If you don’t feel like you are getting healthier you should, at least, feel inspired by our wonderful community! Together it seems like we encourage each other to attain our goals.

February is American HEART month!

Image credit:
Eastern Arizona Courier.com

Since the month of February is dedicated to heart health, I thought we should talk about stress and stress management. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests women are more susceptible to stress than men. I feel like that has a lot to do with our lifestyles and the demands women feel in the world today. Even though I am now retired, I too, feel stress. Most of my stress is self-made, though… SOUND familiar?

Women are trying to juggle the wearing of many hats in their lives today compared to women in the 1960’s. The worst part is they feel inferior if they cannot accomplish all the tasks on any given day in a spectacular manner! Social media has fueled this controversy as women hurry to post images and posts about their successes online reminding other women that they too should be as perfect as them. Talk about stress! Phew!

Take a look at what stress does to your ❤ and body:

Image Credit: heartmath.com

All of this stress contributes to a rise in heart disease in women. Add in weight gain, lack of exercise, and the lack of trained professionals who can recognize a heart attack in women (vs. men – there are HUGE differences) and we are left with managing our own heart health.

Image credit: Shine265 Marshfield Clinic.org

Technically, being responsible for your heart health is not a bad thing. I figure we are responsible for our bodies so we need to take some steps to ensure we are doing all that we can. Remember, these are only my views and opinions. I am NOT a physician and urge all of you to talk to your doctors about your own heart health journeys. YOUR life might depend on it!!

Here are some HEART DISEASE facts to think about:

Image credit: Scripps.org

Stress is a scary thing. This past week, I pushed myself hard – too hard. I have set some lofty goals about getting my book finished and published by my birthday in April. I may have bit off more than I can chew. This is my first book and I don’t really have a clue about self-publishing. Wait… I do have help. I am not alone. I have a mentor that is available to help me whenever I ask.

Actually, I have tons of mentors who will help me… if I ask! That being said, I worked diligently all week pounding away at the keyboard, anyway.

Here’s what I found out about myself:

  1. I visualize my characters and the situations in my mind as I write. I experience it like I am living the actual scenes. I believe I am a visual and intuitive writer. Cool, huh? Well, yes and no. I also write while I am sleeping which interrupts my sleep. That means that I wear myself out quickly. My thinking becomes slow and I have to take a step back. In other words, I stress myself out too much if all I do is write for 6+ hours a day/night.
  2. I have to take breaks from my intense writing. Because of the 16 inches of snow we received this week, my exercise pattern was disrupted. I should have turned to a YouTube video for exercise. I did not do that.
  3. I hate breaking promises to people. If I say I am going to review a book on a certain day, I do that. My Type A personality kicks in and I strive for perfection. Even though it causes me stress.


Now, here is what I should have done last week to stop the stressors I let rule me:

I should HAVE: done some yoga or meditation!

Try: 30 Days of Yoga Start here!

I should HAVE: bundled up and gone outside and played in the snow!

I should HAVE: taken a nap!

Bottom line, I needed to give myself a break. I had to realize the world is not going to end if I don’t finish that review this week… (actually, I didn’t finish the review and we are are all still here). If my book takes longer to write and publish, so be it. I must stop putting undue stress in my life when there is no reason for it.

How did I overcome my self-induced stress attack? I took two days off from writing, blogging, and social media. I kept everything at a minimum. We left the house and I got some fresh air. I went shopping and I took a walk. I started to crochet a mini blanket for my grand daughter’s Guinea pigs, something I had promised her I would do.

I took a fabulous free writing course from AutumnWriting.com. The change of scenery made me feel energized and ready to write again!

How did I do on my healthy goals last week?

Because I made poor choices, my weight loss stalled – again. The weight I lost the week before came right back. When this happens, it is a signal that your body has found a set point and you are on a plateau.


A plateau happens when you have lost weight and your metabolism declines. Now you are burning fewer calories than you did when you were heavier. This slower metabolism s l o w s down your weight loss efforts, even if you are eating the same amount of calories you ate that helped you lose the weight in the first place. The equation is simple:

A plateau happens when the calories you are burning equal the same amount of the calories you eat. There is only one remedy: decrease your caloric intake or increase your physical activity! The Mayo Clinic has a great article on plateaus here.

My goal for this week:

I am going to decrease my food intake this week. I need to really watch my intake of sweets. Yes, I know. Cold weather makes me hungry. That is a fact. I am sure this is a survival instinct from ancient man that still rears its ugly head, especially if you are a woman. We had a blizzard, I made a cake! Now there is nothing wrong with this if I can get out and walk or exercise it off. You all know the rest of this story!

(I hope the Broncos WON!)

So, I need to really watch what I am eating this week. For Superbowl Sunday, we skipped all the rest of the chips, dips, etc. I made a small batch of brownies. That was it. I can have two brownies 2 inches by 2 inches this week. That is it!

My mantra for the week is: I must be good to my heart, by being good to me. ❤

My plan is to step away from the computer and to take some additional time walking this week. The snow is melting and the temperatures are going to be in the high 50’s all week.

I am going to continue taking some time out for crafts. Working with my hands keeps my brain in a focused and relaxing place.

I am going to restructure my thoughts so I do NOT catastrophize. I will step back and ask myself why I am pushing myself so hard. There is no race to the finish line.

HungryGirl ROCKS: Here’re some great links for you to read:

18 Calorie Burning Tricks for Exercise Haters

Healthy Recipes With Large Portion Sizes

5 Ingredient Meals for 350 Calories or Less

Slow Cooker Veggie Soup 0 SmartPoints

Healthy Pasta SWAP recipes

How about you? What are your healthy living goals for the week?

Have a wonderful week! If you would like to join me in your own healthy living journey, please do. Use whatever program works for you. You do not even have to follow a program if you don’t want to. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can become healthier and fit. This includes going gluten-free, fat-free, lactose-free, starting an exercise program, or even a new way of eating such as becoming a vegetarian. If it has to do with becoming healthy, write about it!

Link to my post with a ping back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of healthy living supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday Healthy Living posts. Together we can become healthier!


Remember, this is not a challenge.  Each of us has different goals that we wish to attain. This is an offering of support and a place where my online community can come to participate in attaining a healthy lifestyle.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday – Healthy Living goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary.  My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of my journey to healthy living.

Thanks for being part of my fabulous journey to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget to share your journey. ❤ No matter what your goals are in becoming more healthy, together we can do it!


52 thoughts on “Mindful Monday – Healthy Living: Stress & Your Heart

  1. Wow, another packed week Colleen! I know exactly how you feel with setting yourself unrealistic goals and then struggling to achieve them. You are definitely being way to hard on yourself, but at least you realised that and did something about it.
    It is disheartening when the weight goes back on again, but then life is like that! Ups and downs, as we are not perfect, and do slip up at times. I ate two packets of crisps on Friday night one after the other after being deprived of them for two weeks. They did taste good but I was not happy with my lack of control!
    However, this week another 3lb off, meaning a total loss of half a stone! (7lbs). I am thrilled with it but wished it showed! I still look and feel the same. I will keep up with it though as I still need to lose another 2 1/2 stone which is about 35 lbs I think!
    So, it is a fresh start for us both this week, we CAN do it!
    Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it funny how the weather affects us? Every time I feel deprived I end up eating sweets. The true goal here is to get all of these wants managed so that we don’t feel these intense desires. You are doing so well, Judy. You WILL look different soon. Next week I will show a before picture of me when I started out. After I lost 50+ pounds it was an amazing transformation! WE can do it and I will be better this week. I just have to learn to balance it all! Thanks for being there. It means so much to me! Now kick @#$ this week! LOL! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HI Colleen, do you think that having unrealistic goals is a women’s thing? I do that all the time and it is just lately that I have learned to let that go and just roll with the flow. Of course, that doesn’t always work. But you know: You are aware of the situation and you are a strong woman so you will get back on track. Do you know that poster with that WW2 woman saying “We can do it!” That is what I think of when I need to get some changes sorted 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Can_Do_It! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I do agree with you Bee. As women we try to do too much! I want it all and I have to realize that I can’t do it all. The lesson always comes down to moderation in everything… food, exercise, etc. Have a wonderful week and yes, TOGETHER we can do it!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that was a great post, Colleen! That one spoke a lot to me. I have a tendency to high blood pressure. Stress (also mental stress) is one of the most common reasons for both heart attacks and hypertension. But so is the food or let’s say, we can direct a lot again with the food…. Drinking a lot is very important and can already bring relief (of course water and not soda pops or alcohol… lol) Btw. I don’t know what my high blood pressure causes because I eliminated stress almost completely for years and my blood results are fantastic…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Erika, I am so glad that your blood pressure is under control. Our stress is self imposed, I think. We want it all and want to do it all. When we can’t we think we are failing when in reality, we are not. Bee said something profound… she wondered if this was a “woman-thing?” I have to agree with her. As women we strive for perfection. All I know is that I have to come up with a plan that allows me to write a couple hours each day on my book. There is no race. That way I will feel like I am achieving my goal. When I quit working a few years ago, my stress went away. This stress is different. I just have to practice moderation in everything! LOL! Thanks for being there. I feel you strength flowing to me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is right, what you say about women always striving to prove themselves. But I think men are also endangered because of their competition in the business world.
        I think the profound stress relief is to understand that there really is no race (as you said). It is all home made.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that sweet? My granddaughter has two of them: Winter (all white) and Pippin (brown and white). It is just my way of supporting her in her “pet” adventure. It is always good to have someone or something to love and care for. It teaches true compassion. I will have to photo the little afgan when it is done. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a funny week last week. I felt quite unwell some days, and I’m not totally sure what it was about. I kept trying to keep active but I took it a bit slower. I published a new book and realised I’d been doing a lot of things and perhaps I needed a bit of rest. Feeling quite cold I’ve been going for soups and did try and spend some time with friends. I agree about stress… Do take care and your plans sound good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Olga, isn’t it funny how we push ourselves until we can’t any more? I do the same thing. I know my answer is all about “moderation.” That is what always proves to me that I can do it as long as I pace myself. I hope you feel better this week. The weather certainly plays a part in our feelings and moods. It will be sunny all week and the temperatures are rising. The snow will melt and I will get on with it. I need that mental health walk each day. Wow! What a difference. I love writing but can’t sit here for hours on end. Just another learning curve! 😀 Have a fabulous week and I need to see what your new book is about! ❤


  5. More useful info here, Colleen.☺ Thanks for that. I’m glad that there has been recent attention to the difference in heart attack symptoms for men and women. It’s important to understand and not miss the early signs. 💕 💞 💓 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Van! Yes, I was really surprised at the differences between men and women and how mixed the signals are for us. Hope your week is wonderful. We are warming up into the sixties this week so it should be wonderful with all the snow melting! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh no! We are predicted to have sunny skies all week. I am ready. I hope your storm is not too bad! I am actually a Packers fan (of course, LOL!) but since I live in Colorado you must support the home team also… unless they play the Packers! LOL! I am pretty happy they won! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! What a great post to start out the week. Informative, upbeat and fun. I am good at keeping my weight stabilized, however, one or two pounds can make a big difference. Talk about stress – and I do it to myself! This article really helped as now I know I am not the only one that brings on my own stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An incredible post. The graphics were a great addition and stopped me in my tracks. What you’re doing with your posts is inspirational and a wonderful reminder to me that slowing down is okay…and not only is it okay, it’s absolutely necessary! I can’t help others if my tank is empty. Thanks again. Looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, thank you so much for your encouraging words. Here I was judging myself on all the authors who can write 5 books in a year and publish them! I can’t do that. I really needed to hear that there are those of us who have to slow down and savor the moment. I am a better person and writer when I take my time! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That is really a nice post Colleen, Stress is something that wears us down, I too had it last two weeks but now I am relaxed enjoying my healthy food (not overindulging) .I think comparing yourself with others and putting a pressure on ourselves builds stress, we have our own limitations, if we know them and work according to them it keeps off the stress. I am happy you had those brownies and did some stitching, sometimes we need a break from what we are doing to get back the momentum. Dont worry about the book, the readers can wait a month more , Your health is more important 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sure you will publish your book in good time Colleen. I think we need to take time out to play a little. I find that painting and knitting helps me with my writing. Also, these days I don’t drive myself as hard as I used to. I think I’m starting to feel the benefit of it.
    I love reading your blog as always and I think you should be proud of how far you have come with it. Good for you. Go for it girl. x

    Liked by 1 person

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