So far, so good. If you’ve been reading Afrobella.com then you know already, I’m doing the OMRON 90 Day program to be more intentional about monitoring my blood pressure. I’ve got a few good things to report, and some personal revelations to share.
On paper, the 90-day challenge seems easy enough. Get a device, take your blood pressure, and then do what you need to do in order to get your blood pressure to a healthy level. But as the 90 days began, I found myself reluctant to begin. I kept putting off my first day to actually use the OMRON HeartGuide wearable blood pressure monitor. It’s super easy to find an excuse not to do something you know you’re supposed to do, at least it is for me. Day after day, I kept making excuses. I had to really get clear and ask myself why. So much of the reluctance was rooted in fear. Fear of what I might discover. Fear of having to drastically change my life. Fear of hereditary chickens coming home to roost.
Instead of beginning the way I was supposed to, I wound up doing something else I’ve been meaning to do but putting off – I got more active in the last month than I’ve been all pandemic long. We had a long overdue family reunion around the 4th of July and your girl was out, about, and walking for long distances in a way I simply hadn’t been within the last year or so. I put in a few 5+ mile days and 10,000 step counts that I didn’t even notice at the time because we were on the go so much.
Becoming more active led me to face that fear a little bit more. I know that activity is part of the work that awaits me. Finally, I downloaded the OMRON Connect app to my phone and faced up to my numbers. And guess what? It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
The HeartGuide wearable blood pressure monitor feels much less intimidating and like much less of a production than putting on a whole old-school blood pressure gauge. I find that having the smartwatch makes me more inclined to want to monitor my blood pressure on a day-to-day basis. The Connect app that goes with it makes it even better. The info is incredibly detailed, in terms of breaking down blood pressure, activity, sleep and weight data. I find using the app to be incredibly helpful, just as a visual guide to see my blood pressure, track my systolic and diastolic numbers as well as my pulse. OMRON Connect helps you keep track in terms of your actual blood pressure readings, but also the time of when you take your blood pressure. That’s helpful information too, and another thing I’m trying to be more consistent about, just carving out a chunk of my day to dedicate to monitoring my health. It’s challenging for me to do that in the morning, but it turns out later in the afternoon I can do what needs to be done. That in itself led to a personal revelation.
Part of this 90-day challenge is also psychological for me. I’m realizing the ways in which I have not been putting myself first. Just taking the time to actually sit still and measure my blood pressure on a consistent basis, is an exercise in intentional self-care that I had never regularly attempted before. I struggle with that. It feels weird, taking that time for myself when there are a million other things to do. I have to try to silence the voice inside me that says I have all of these deadlines, all this work, all these things to do around the house and instead to sit quietly, do some deep breathing, then measure my blood pressure.
Here’s my little routine: in the mid to late afternoon, I sit on the side of my bed and make sure my feet are firmly planted on the ground, not crossed. Then I put on my OMRON HeartGuide and elevate my wrist to my heart. I do some 4-5-6- breathing, and then I press the blue button to begin the process. After that, it’s so easy and quick.
Right now, my blood pressure readings are letting me know that I need to keep track of my bottom number in particular. The CDC breaks it down like this — your top number is the systolic, and it refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic, and that measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats. My diastolic number has measured higher than 80 on recent checks, so that puts me in range of being hypertensive (stage 1). That means I’ve gotta continue this shift in lifestyle to keep my numbers where I’d like them to be.
For more on OMRON’s devices and the 90-Day challenge, check
out all the details on the HeartGuide product
page. I’ll keep you updated on my continued progress, and if you want
to join me in the 90-day challenge for yourself let me know in the comments
below! We’re monitoring our numbers for greater awareness of our health.