Heart Check

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

February is Heart Month—literally and figuratively. Not only do we celebrate love, but we also remember the organ that beats and pumps blood throughout our body.

The heart is the generator of the body. If the brain is the hard drive and the processor, the heart is the body’s power supply. It is not only an important part of the body, but also one of the most vital organs. If it stops beating, life ends.

It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started. And we can conclude that it has been one of the most difficult challenges humanity has ever faced. We are in a deadly battle with an unseen enemy and it has wounded us so badly in many areas, we are struggling to get up.

This has caused anxiety, worry and fear in our hearts. 

According to researchers, the death rate of heart attack has doubled during the pandemic because many people avoid going to hospitals over the fear of contracting the virus while ignoring symptoms of heart problem.

Aside from this, lifestyle changes and additional stress caused by COVID-19 increases the risk of heart ailments. 

Indeed, the pandemic has caused a detrimental damage to our poor hearts—physically and emotionally. But we can do something about it. We must not allow COVID-19 to defeat us. We must strengthen our hearts and be victorious over this enemy. 

First, we must make sure that our hearts are physically healthy. Despite being locked down or restricted by the measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus, we must not neglect exercising and eating nutritious food. And at the first sign of a heart problem, please do not ignore but instead go to the hospital immediately. 

More importantly, let’s keep our hearts emotionally healthy. It’s undeniable that the many negative things happening around us do have damaging effects to our hearts. It may be difficult to always keep our hearts checked and emotionally healthy, there are ways we can ensure our hearts are well.

Find ways to relieve stress. Take a breath of fresh air. Walk, run, go outside or take a quick drive. You can also watch your favorite TV show. Feel free to cry. Laugh your heart out.

Avoid isolation and find people whom we can share our emotions and feelings with, who are available and willing to listen to our concerns and fears. Find encouragement from other people. Know that we are not alone. We are all in this together. 

There are many moments during this pandemic that fear creeps in my heart. The uncertainty caused by this crisis brings worry and anxiety. It’s suffocating and crippling. There are nights I couldn’t sleep. There are days I cannot do anything. And in these moments, I check my heart and I choose to do the most important thing I can think of… to pray.

I release my fears and anxieties to the God who is in control of all things and I trade them for His peace, His hope, His joy and His grace. Speaking to Him and listening to His Word has kept me sane. Surrendering to Him my thoughts and emotions kept me going. Entrusting my heart to Him who holds it has brought me this far- not just getting by but thriving. Understanding His heart for me enables me to take care of my heart… physically and emotionally.

My dear friends, it’s time to have a heart check. I pray that our hearts be released from fear and worry and instead be filled with love, joy, peace and hope as we continue to navigate life and walk this unpredictable and ever-changing world.

Cheers to a physically and emotionally healthy heart! 

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