Coaching after a Stroke

More than 20 years ago, my husband Paul suffered a devastating stroke. Paul was 36, I was 31. My good friend and supporter was in need. Suddenly, in addition to my full-time job and daily responsibilities, I found myself overwhelmed by taking care of my husband’s responsibilities, personal needs and health. I worried a lot and the care giving took its toll. I stopped taking care of myself. I got too little sleep, drank too much coffee and ate too much comfort food. I became dis-organised, tired and unmotivated. I gained weight and my overall self-esteem plummeted. I needed help. My goals were to find a new job and to get my physical and emotional health back on track. Working with several professional coaches, I went about doing just that.


Career Coaching

Knowing that a new job, at a higher level of management, would increase my self-worth and lighten my mood, I hired a career coach. Career coaches specialise in helping people gain clarity, direction and self-confidence while facing the challenges of career and life transitions. I needed direction and that is just what I got. My coach listened to me, then gave me assignments, deadlines, constructive feedback and support. As a result of her coaching and my newfound determination my career took off again.

Dietary Coaching

Frustrated by my ever-increasing weight and cholesterol, I went to my doctor. He asked, “do you want a lecture or a nutritionist?” I chose the nutritionist. My nutritionist helped me understand portion size and the effect of different foods on my health, stamina and mood. She coached me on eating healthy in all circumstances eating at home, eating out and eating while traveling for business or working late. Every time I reached for a cookie, I saw her face and I didn’t want to report that I hadn’t stuck to my goals for the week. That was my secret to losing more than 35 pounds.
Emotional Wellness Coaching

As I am writing this, I am looking at a handwritten note taped to my computer: “Reminder: done is better than perfect.” My friend and licensed mental health counsellor wrote this to help me overcome one of my personal, emotional issues — being a perfectionist. I am very hard on myself and often worry and feel guilty for not doing enough. Many caregivers have to come face to face with their own emotional issues. Find a licensed mental health counsellor in your area


Working with these coaches has changed my life. They helped me make caring for myself a priority. Now I feel good about myself, about my husband and about my life. Instead of being “the caregiver” and “the survivor,” we have returned to being two individuals who simply value each other.
Resources Link to hundreds of free self-coaching articles and tips:

Coaches Orders

8 tips to help caretakers reduce stress and care for themselves:

  • Take breaks throughout the day, close your eyes and visualize something pleasant for a moment.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Add healthy foods and reduce sugar intake.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Laugh more.
  • Participate in a hobby or recreational activity.
  • Write down your feelings in a journal or talk to a trusted friend.

aheadofstroked03ar03ap01zl_icon-washington3a_sml1.jpgA Head of Stroke” is dedicated to those affected by Stroke re-contributing to their community.

We aim to provide impartial educational information on Stroke prevention, awareness, the effects, rehabilitation, re-connection, tips and tricks that can benefit those most affected by Stroke. This is a New Zealand website. Its content is intended for New Zealand resident use.

This website does not provide medical advice. Information provided on this site is not designed or intended to constitute medical advice or to be used for diagnosis. Due to unique individual needs and medical history, please consult your own personal physician who will be able to determine the appropriateness of the information for your specific situation and they will assist you in making any decisions regarding treatment and/or medication.


Crankiness could cause your heart attack.

Careful your tantrum doesn't turn in to a heart attack.<br /><br /><br /><br /> Photo / 123RF
Careful your tantrum doesn’t turn in to a heart attack. 

The risk of having a heart attack shoots up following an outburst of anger, a study among hospital heart patients has found.

The study, published in a European medical journal, found the risk of heart attack was 8.5 times higher in the two hours following an acute episode of anger than during a patient’s baseline levels of anger on a 1 to 7 scale.

Read more: When can you start having sex after a heart attack?

The authors say their findings appear to confirm the indications of earlier research – and experience – that anger can act as a trigger for a heart attack. They advocate considering “strategies to protect individuals most at risk during times of acute anger”.

The researchers studied patients suspected of having a heart attack who were admitted for primary angioplasty treatment at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney between 2006 and 2012.

Anger during the 48 hours preceding symptom onset was self-assessed by the 313 patients’ reporting from on the scale on which 1 was “calm”, and 7 was “enraged, out of control, throwing objects, hurting yourself or others”. The threshold of acute anger in the study was defined as level 5 – “very angry, body tense, maybe fists clenched, ready to burst”.

Seven of the confirmed heart attack patients (2.2 per cent) had reached an anger of at least level 5 within the two-hours before their symptoms began.

Based on the subjects’ usual patterns, the relative risk of onset of heart attack symptoms occurring within two hours of reaching anger level 5 or above was calculated as 8.5 times greater than that associated with normal levels on the anger scale.

The trigger events for the 313 patients included road rage, work stress and family rows.

One of the researchers, Dr Thomas Buckley, said the absolute risk of any one anger episode triggering a heart attack was low, but the study showed the danger was real.

The increased risk of heart attack following intense anger or anxiety probably resulted from increased heart rate and blood pressure, tightening of blood vessels and increased clotting – physiological changes that were all associated with triggering of heart attacks.

By Martin Johnston

New Zealand Herald 24/2/2015.