Health Scan: Helen Browne

Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 01:00

Do you have a healthy lifestyle? Generally speaking I do, as I am conscious about my weight and cardiovascular system. I eat well and exercise as much as possible.

How often do you exercise? I walked for an hour twice a day with our dog Zola for 14 years, and when she died I found it difficult to walk alone. Now I walk three times a week with friends and sometimes with my husband, Ger.

Do you get your five fruit and vegetables a day? I’m not a great fruit eater, but I do like bananas and pears, which I eat mid-morning. I always have a salad sandwich at lunchtime and in the evenings I have two or three vegetables with my dinner.

Do you worry? I worry about my family and friends’ health as we have been hit with cancer. I worry about the rollercoaster people go through with fertility issues as I listen to their pain frequently. I get quite anxious coming up to our yearly conferences. It’s important to share worries with those who understand, and I practise deep breathing.

What do you do to relax? This can be a struggle for me as I work 30 hours a week as a nurse and I also work as a volunteer for the National Infertility Support and Information Group. As part of that I’m on call 24/7, receiving at times very stressful calls. I feel good when they mention that they feel better after speaking to me. I light a candle for them after the call and sometimes listen to soft music, which helps me relax. I love going out for a meal with my husband and enjoy good wine. I also love meeting my girlfriends for a good chat.

What, do you consider, is your worst habit? I’m slow to delegate, which means I take on a lot of the burden at work. I’m improving because of the wonderful volunteers who facilitate meetings throughout Ireland and we have a wonderful vice-chair, who is my rock.

Helen Browne is co-founder and chairwoman of the National Infertility Support and Information Group. See

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