Stress is probably the number one killer.
We must keep alert for signs of skin cancer, breast cancer or cervical/testicular cancer. What about menopausal traumas or prostate problems? Headaches, chest pains or pins and needles might not be hangover, indigestion or lying in an awkward position. They could be strokes, heart attacks or hardened arteries.
Beware of BSE, CJD, or allergic reactions to nuts and additives. Organic or not organic? Genetically modified? Are there residues from pesticides, herbicides or air pollution? or superbugs? Are poverty stricken starving Third-worlders making clothes for a pittance? Now that really is something to be stressed about, so feel very, very guilty whenever you look in the mirror.
Don’t think about comfort eating. You’ll get fat. Obesity is a killer – unless you’re anorexic, bulimiac or ill.
Is munching a carrot is really more fun than snacking on a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate?
Don’t sit around indoors watching TV (too depressing). Go out for a nice healthy walk – in the evening to avoid cancer-causing UV, preferably after the rain has cleared away asthma-inducing pollen. Avoid traffic and keep away from the polluting emanations from traffic. But be careful you don’t get and mugged or worse. And make sure you are wearing something bright and preferably fluorescent so that speeding motorists won’t accidentally run over you. Jogging is supposed to be good for you (although if you’ve seen as many puce, sweating, overweight creatures as I have you might dispute that).
You could take up squash or aerobics (safely indoors). Only allow for the length of time you will spend in A & E if you happen to sprain one of your joints, trip up and break a limb, or have a heart attack!
If you’re a working Oldie cycling to work will do wonders for your heart although the exhaust fumes from cars queuing in traffic jams will turn your lungs to leather. And you mustn’t spend the day at work worrying in case your bike is stolen or vandalised. Worry is bad for you. If the worst happens and you can use your credit card to get hold of enough cash to settle the national debt which should just about pay for the train fare back home. (That is if the train actually goes anywhere near your neck of the woods, stops at the nearest station and doesn’t just go whistling through.) It will be probably be delayed by the wrong sort of snow, leaves on the track or cracks in the rails. Of course, they may not even be running at all due to Unforeseen Circumstances.
The weather is also worrying. Global warming, droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes – wettest, driest, hottest, coldest, most unseasonable - and that’s just in this country. Pictures of hundreds of acres of parched farmland or endless expanses of water with the odd tree or house roof sticking out of the flood are almost daily news. Earthquakes are pretty common, too. And did you know that we have more typhoons here than anywhere else. So far most of them are so insignificant that we don’t even notice. But they could get bigger, couldn’t they?
You could go on holiday if you can find somewhere free from incipient civil war, revolution, terrorist attacks, thugs, hi-jackers, muggers, earthquakes ----. And anyhow, actually going on holiday has a pretty high stress rating.
There’s probably a lot more if I stopped to think about it, but what does that old song say? ‘Relax, relax, relax, relaxez vous’. I’m off to take a dose of St. John’s Wort - after I’ve checked that the medication I’m on won’t make that dangerous. I might listen to the radio or watch TV – which will probably feature news about the latest terrorist threat, imminent war, foot and mouth, swine fever, legionnaires disease, asteroids on a collision course with earth, ---.
And they tell me to avoid stress because it’s a killer.
© Copyright Percydale Press 2006