by Krista Nadeau
Breathlessness, racing heart, sweaty palms— it was a heart attack, for sure. After a call to 911, the ambulance came. Dean, the EMT, was very calm. I left my house on a stretcher heading for the hospital.
“I think I’m okay now,” I said, halfway to Maine Medical Center.
“We have to proceed to the hospital,” he said. Hours later and after a battery of tests, I was sent home and told to do things to reduce stress in my life. I’d had a panic attack.
One of the causes was something many across the country were dealing with in 2009—the recession. People were losing their jobs and homes. My husband, Larry, was saying goodbye to colleagues regularly; eventually he lost his job, too.
For a stay-at-home mother at the time, the job loss added one more challenge. Living on a single income put looking at how we spent our money at the top of our to-do list. Non-essentials had to go. Cell phones and gym memberships were the first to get axed. All extra spending was halted. For fun we focused on being outside and trying to add something different to our lives, dinners were often eaten by candlelight. Thankfully, after eleven long, life-changing months, a new job in a new line of work was found.
That same year, our youngest son was diagnosed with autism—a diagnosis that was difficult to navigate and one that consumed me as I began to learn more about it. Often, through slits in my eyes into wee morning hours, I researched how to cure autism. At some point, I learned that curing would mean a shift in life as we knew it because there was no cure. Anxiety was high, needless to say. I understand anxiety—fast forward to today, it seems like a universal language at this point.
Anxiety and panic, usually caused by stress, can strike at any age. Statistics show just how many people are impacted by stress and that number grows daily. I began to research ways to combat this emotion—no, I certainly haven’t mastered it, but I have techniques that seem to help when applied during a stressful situation.
Understandably, pandemic fatigue is setting in. I saw a post recently that said, “Today marks five years we’ve been in 2020.” It sure feels that way! Don’t let your guard down. Continue to protect yourselves and others by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and avoiding closed spaces for more than 15 minutes. But there are other steps that can be taken to protect ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.
In this edition of the Beacon you will find stories focused on body, mind, and soul. It turns out, in case there were any doubts, that getting back to Nature is good for one’s health. “Maine is for Lovers (of Nature)” and “Forest Bathing” highlight the health benefits of being outdoors. If you’re looking for something fun, how about trying geocaching? And for the spiritually minded, read about the uses and benefits of health crystals.
This year has given us all a reason-and for many, an opportunity-to look further into ourselves. So why not do something to make yourself healthier? In a few months, we will close the chapter on one of the most unprecedented years most have faced, let it be a year that you agree was difficult, but also one that made you stronger, better, and more resilient.