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COVID-19 AND THE EPIDEMIC OF BROKEN HEARTS

Larissa Chapman

Larissa Chapman

COVID-19 AND THE EPIDEMIC OF BROKEN HEARTS

Turns out the stress and anxiety caused by the virus has had a big impact on our hearts, but don’t worry, we’ve got the fix…

So it seems there’s a new phenomenon doing the rounds at the moment, courtesy of our friend, Covid-19 – who, by the way, has very much overstayed its welcome!
Whether it’s the stress of lockdown, the panic buying and not seeing loved ones for months on end, the genuine fear of catching or spreading the virus, or maybe your worries extend a little further, to thoughts of how the world might look once we come out of this.
Whatever your concerns, it seems medical experts are seeing a spike in cases of what’s been dubbed “Broken Heart Syndrome”.

Broken Heart Syndrome occurs when your heart experiences intense emotional or physical stress, which temporarily impacts its function. This is often experienced after a period of grief, such as the breakup of a relationship. However, this broken heart will require more than a tub of ice cream and a cheesy movie (though that might help!).

But don’t worry, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with you, it’s purely a temporary condition caused by stress. However, it’s important to bring things under control for the sake of your health as having a compromised heart and immune system can put you at greater threat when it comes to the virus itself.

The symptoms

Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome include a tight chest and shortness of breath and, in more serious cases, chest pains. Think something akin to a panic attack.

If you believe you might be suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome, it’s important not to ignore the signs and to get checked out by your physician.

In more serious cases, your doctor may advise a scan and can prescribe medication to help with anxiety.

However, there are also some simple home remedies you can try, which should help you relax and ease symptoms.

Simple steps to a healthy heart

Mindful meditation I haven’t always been a fan of meditation myself, having tried – and failed – to get into it on numerous occasions in the past. However, the lockdown of 2020 was pretty exceptional and it seemed like the perfect time to give it a whirl.

I embarked on Deepak Chopra’s 21-day abundance meditation challenge, which just so happened to go viral (seems the world had the same idea). It’s designed to help you develop a mindset of prosperity and abundance in your daily life by working through a series of short daily meditations. There’s a different mantra for each one and sessions only take about 10 minutes – perfect for the time poor. I didn’t always manage a full 10 minutes of uninterrupted bliss (there’s always some errant thought creeping around my mind) but I must admit, the deep breathing and moments of focus really helped me to unwind after a long day. I enjoyed Deepak’s challenge so much, I’ve continued with evening meditations ever since and I’m pretty sure they help me sleep better, too, which leads me onto my next little miracle…

Good quality sleepThere’s nothing better for your state of mind (and therefore the health of your heart) than catching forty winks.  Sleep is vital in a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. Sleep also plays a vital role in removing toxins that build up within the brain throughout the day and in filing and sorting the day’s events and making sense of them. In a world where we are being bombarded with lots of new and, at times, conflicting information, sleep is essential for keeping us sane.

I’ve decided not to get too het up about quantity and hitting the magic eight hours a night, choosing to focus more on quality and ensuring I get a good amount of rest and dream time, which is invaluable.

Powerful Zinc Next up, I’ve been making sure I get plenty of Zinc. This potent mineral powerhouse has soooo many roles to play within our body, I don’t have the space to go into detail here, but one of its strengths is boosting immunity and lifting mood. Nuts and seeds, eggs and dark chocolate are all good sources of zinc, so as well as a multi-vitamin supplement, I’ve been munching on plenty of these. The dark chocolate is a real chore, but I’m getting through it ;-)!

Mood-boosting exerciseFinally, I’ve been exercising my way to health and happiness. Never underestimate the power of working up a sweat; it’s not just your body getting a workout, but your mind, too. It floods your body with stress-busting endorphins, which work to counteract and stamp out any lingering stress hormones and lift your mood, while also keeping your heart healthy. Couple this with newfound body confidence thanks to the physical impacts of fitness and your mood and self-esteem should be sky high!

Whatever relaxes you and keeps you calm right now, be it exercise, cooking, reading or any other kind of hobby, there’s never been a better time to embrace it, after all, your heart depends on it!

To your health my friends!

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