Perhaps one of the hardest things to keep in balance when you are faced with interruptions in your life are your healthy and eating habits. Susan Brown, BeliefNet author, recently went through such a time.
Ms. Brown spent days at the bedside of a relative. Her blog, “What to do when you can’t H.A.L.T.” will help to keep you in that balance.
Most parents of children with disabilities know the rigors of a hospital stay. As their pastor, I’ve spent large amounts of time in hospitals and other waiting events. Therefore, I’ve gathered a great deal of experience in this area. Here are a couple of hints I’ve garnered through my time in waiting.
When you are having to kill time during an emergency event of when a loved one is in the hosptial, it’s may seem like a great time to “treat yourself. However, this is the best time to eliminate sugar. As wonderful as sweets are during these times, they will only add to the stress of the time waiting. You will not be able to eliminate all sugar, of course, because so many things contain fructose and cane sugar. But you can be deliberate about not using this as a time to “treat” yourself to that extra cookie or extra large piece of cake.
Waiting can be stressful when you are in the hospital with a loved one. To help with the stress, substitute nuts for sweets. Every snack shop will have almonds and other nuts that are superb for snacking. They will give you protein and help to relieve the stress. While nuts have gotten a bad rap because of the high fat content, this fat is beneficial to our bodies, especially during times of stress.
Do you feel you need to stay awake to care for sick relative or friend? Here is an easy and healthy trick. Eat crunchy vegetables and fruits. They will keep you awake. I learned this from a professional driver. She told me that there is something about the sound of crunching that helps keep us awake. I tried it and she was correct. During stressful times, we may need to stay awake. If that is true stock up on celery, carrots and other crunchy vegetables that will help you stay away and add to your nutritional needs.
Are you spending hours during an emergency event or caring for the needs of an ailing person you love? Have a good book available to read. Catch up with your Bible reading. I would not bring in a book that involves tragedies, guts and gore, occult or witchcraft. However, mystery novels and other light reading will make those long hours evaporate. This suggestion may not sound appetizing but it is one way to keep your mind off food. Additionally, you can remain alert while this set-apart time is enriching your brain.
Want to stay fit and trim during an extended hospital visit as you spend long hours sitting? Be sure that you aren’t “drinking your calories.” This could be a good opportunity to find the joy of drinks like herbal teas and decaf, flavored coffee that have no calories if you don’t add sugar.
As you wait in a hospital waiting room or at the side of a dear person who is ill, you may feel you need an extra boost of energy. You may try to eliminate caffeine. This stimulant is great for keeping us awake but counterproductive if it becomes a habit. There will be a headache the first day you take away the drug but the surge of energy you will receive after the caffeine has made its way out of your body is worth it.
Treat yourself to a healthy, energy booster that will help void weight gain. Drinking water is great during stressful times. Treat yourself to that bottled water that you may not allow yourself to have because of the high costs. Of course, it tastes exactly like your tap water; but you will feel as though you are having something special.
Meal time at the hospital can add to your stress because of the menu selections offered. Choose a salad along with that high carb and high calorie entree they will be serving at the hospital cafeteria. You won’t eat as much of the main course; and you will be supplementing your diet with the good things you need to have.
Hours of sitting at the bedside of a people you love can be stressful and break up you exercise routine. Therefore, use the stairs instead of the elevator while in the hospital. This added effort will burn the calories that you aren’t using when you are sitting. My sister actually lost weight when her husband was in the hospital because she never used the elevator. She walked the stairs to the 10th floor each time she had to go anywhere.
While waiting for the doctor or merely sitting during those long, quiet afternoons. Try to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family who gather at the hospital. During the months my husband was critically ill, I was able to make many new friends. Acquaintances who came to visit often lingered and we were able to chat about things that we had wanted to know about each other.
Hospital time can be a beneficial time. Relearn to appreciate the small things in your life. When my husband was in the hospital for over a month, for many reason, I could not leave him. If you feel you cannot leave the hospital, find a window and spend time looking outside. Play mind games by making up stories about the people who are entering or leaving the hospital. Sit in the sunshine that pours through a window.
These are only a few things. There are others. What would you suggest?