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May 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to my monthly Newsletter ‘dotting the i’s’.

On the full moon each month, you will receive information on a Manitoba made product worth highlighting; be it an individual, industry, institution, or item. At the end of the Newsletter I will tie in how and why these particular i’s have a synergistic impact on overall health.

The Individual.
Meet Lia Anderson

A 54-year-old mother of three and nurse. She is one of 9 children, born and raised in Manitoba.

Luella: Describe a typical day for you as an operating room nurse?

Lia: We would meet as a team, then head to our assigned room, review each slated case and just plan the day from there – it takes a lot of team effort in the OR room. The challenge is being aware of what your role is and making sure you carry out that role. It requires a lot of communication regarding equipment needed, patient care plan, and follow-through. We always want to be ready.

Luella: What gets you out of bed in the morning when the alarm rings at 5:30am?

Lia: I guess the same thing that made me choose this profession at 18 years of age – caring for the vulnerable and curiosity of the human body.

Luella: What was one of the most memorable days in the 36 years of your career as a nurse?

Lia: It would have to be the day where I rushed a full-term mother to the OR due to blood pressure shooting straight up. An emergency C-section was necessary, but mother passed due to cerebral hemorrhage.

I will never forget that image of the new father walking away down the hallway with his 2-year-old son and newborn daughter in the NICU. Life is so precious. Take nothing for granted and try not to sweat the small stuff.

Luella: What is one ritual that you try to incorporate daily in order to ‘keep it together’?

Lia: I really only started doing this in the last 6 years, but it would be to step away from whatever I was doing, and just go for a walk. I would clear my head and reset. It would be the only way I could then get through the rest of my day and make good/better choices. I realized that I needed to take care of myself to take care of others.

Luella: Name a Manitoban that you most admire.

Lia: It would have to be my boss, Dawn Affleck.

She has the same base skills as I, but she pursued further education. She was once an OR nurse, then due to an unfortunate accident became a patient, and used that experience as a patient to pursue her career, to take on lead roles in OR nursing, both in management and related Associations.

Luella: What is a title of a book you recently read or are currently reading?

Lia: Carry on Warrior by Glennon Doyle.

Luella: What is a naughty/secret indulgence/habit that you take part in almost daily.

Lia: Having a glass of wine.

Luella: Of the following five modifiable lifestyle factors, which one have you made a priority in recent years: Stress, Movement, Nutrition, Sleep, and Relationships/Community.

Lia: Sleep. It is so underrated, but so necessary.

The importance of sleep goes way beyond what most of us know. Sleep facilitates the clearance of toxic metabolites accumulated in our brain over the course of the day. Who doesn’t want to clear out toxins?

For anyone working in the healthcare field, this is even more important when you think of the phthalates, BPAs, and disinfecting agents that these workers are readily in contact with.

However, don’t lose sleep over not getting enough sleep; there is another way we can mitigate sleep deprivation. We can modify another lifestyle factor, Nutrition.

The Item - Tea
Green tea to be specific

There are many plant varieties that can be harvested in Manitoba and used as medicinal teas. Green tea is worth noting as it contains a special polyphenol called EGCG.

Green tea provides the benefit of caffeine, while still having an overall calming effect on the body for those who didn’t get their precious 7-9 hours of sleep. But this is just one of so many more benefits!

Green tea contains a number of catechins, which are plant compounds, well known for their antioxidant (positive) health effects on the body. I did the clinical research, so you don’t have to.

    Here are more facts

    • Green tea contains 25% more catechins than black tea
    • Caffeinated green tea contains more catechins than decaffeinated
    • Very assistive with lowering high liver enzymes (AST and ALT) which are commonly elevated in blood work (just means that the liver is trying to rid the toxic burden)
    • Studies have shown green tea to have anti-carcinogenic properties
    • As little as 1 cup a day has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5%
    • 1 cup a day is also shown to decrease all-cause mortality by 4%

    If green tea is ‘just not your cup of tea’, no worries, head over to your local supplement store and pick up ECGC in capsule form. The supplement comes in both caffeinated and decaffeinated forms, in a handy dose of 500 mg (which equates to 4-5 cups of tea).

    In this newsletter, you saw how Lia made conscious choices regarding her lifestyle and how small changes make a big difference in terms of overall health and happiness. We don’t need to get an A+ in all five, but if we make small changes for the better in some or all of these 5 areas, the effects will be noticeable.

    For a pilot, a small degree of change on the heading indicator may take him to a foreign land. This is no different. We need to be intentional. Change takes awareness, effort and engagement.

    Can you name the lifestyle factors that this nurse modified in order to obtain spiritual, emotional, and cognitive health?

    Let’s review.

    Stress Management: Walks, sleep, self-compassion, daily glass of wine (note: 1 glass of wine!)

    Sleep: Early bed routine, making sleep a priority

    Relationships: Life long friendships, strong family ties, family pet

    Nutrition: Drinking calming teas (specifically green tea), home cooked meals, planting vegetable gardens (renting community garden space)

    Movement: Daily walks in nature, yoga

    Note: You may have noticed some additional comments in the lifestyle review. This is anecdotal information gathered from Lia, who happens to be my sister.

    In summary, happiness and peace of mind doesn’t just happen. But with a bit of awareness and effort, we can make it happen. Life is stressful for all of us, but I think we unifiedly agree that the healthcare workers have gone over and beyond for us.

    The good news is that you can have your cake (wine) and eat it too! Just balance it off with proper doses of medical foods, such as green tea.

    So make sure to glance out at the moon, and you may be inclined to even add some movement ? Then - get to bed early.

    PS: And while busting a move in the light of the moon, let’s cheer out loud - for all those healthcare workers that have provided us safety and continue to do so throughout their careers.

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    Luella Jonk Counselling

    305 Kingston Crescent, Winnipeg
    Manitoba R2M 0T5 Canada

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