What triggered your two heart attacks, and what improvements did you make in your health?
It was a culmination of several factors over time such as family history, poor eating habits, being overweight, and stress. These factors were not made a personal priority.Â They were last on my list and everything else took precedence.Â Since surviving two heart attacks, my family has agreed to make dietary changes, get more rest, and carve time out of our busy schedules to get more exercise. My husband and I have structured our day to day activities to support balance and reduce stress. You have to make very deliberate choices to change a lifestyle, but you’d be surprised that small changes makeÂ a big difference.Â The more consistent you are with the small adjustment, they develop into larger lifestyle changes.
How did you discover that being an American Heart Association spokesperson was a part of your purpose?
The dots began to connect.Â Sometimes doors shut to pivot you into a new direction.Â We have to learn to embrace new seasons.Â As I began sharing my story, I saw tears in many eyes and saw that something resonated with them.Â So many have opened up to me about their similar lifestyle experiences.Â People are stretching themselves to the limit and ignoring their well-being.Â We need balance and healthier lifestyles to support living in our purpose.
My story is a wake up call to action.Â It’s fulfilling to challenge and empower others to take an honest look at their lives and put themselves first, especially busy career women.Â I’m pleased to share my story so that others can be liberated by using it as a resource for preventative health.Â If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be our best to take care of others.
You started a campaign called “Take Care of Your Beautiful Self.â€ Tell us about its mission.
The mission is to empower everyone to see their life worthy of a healthy investment.Â Women are nurturers by nature and need to put themselves in that equation. Give yourself permission to treat you well—without the guilt. Career Moms, if your house isn’t perfect or you miss one out of 10 kid events, it’s really okay. We have one body and a beautiful privilege to be good stewards over it so that purpose can be fulfilled.
What can women who are juggling career and family do to reduce stress and put their wellness first?
As obvious as it may seem, take the journey to discover whether you love and value yourself.Â Our choices are simply a reflection of that.Â Affirm your greatness by making a decision to treat your mind, body and soul well.
Plan. Think through how you’re going to execute and make your demanding lifestyle a healthy one. Work your busyness around the core priority of health, not the opposite.
Make deliberate quality time alone. Figure out what you enjoy that helps you relax, defuse, focus and release tension. Don’t stress the small stuff and quickly let go of things that don’t matter in the end.
Don’t skip the regular check ups. Be in tuned with your body.Â Don’t put off tests and screenings, and follow through on the advice given.