It’s no mistake that when the Federal Government (Yes!) created Heart Health Month to bring attention to heart disease, they chose February, the month of our biggest heart holiday: Valentine’s Day. So this month as you ponder those you love, be sure to include lots of self-love into the mix, and review these ways to stay heart-healthy:
Heart Health Basics:
- Take care of our physical Health:
- Most of us know how important it is for our heart to eat a balanced, whole food diet, get plenty of exercise, maintain a healthy weight and to not smoke cigarettes. Some of these things are much easier said than done.
- Heart Health TIP: The American Heart Association has some great tools to help support these actions, including newsletters, recipes, and exercise suggestions.
- Take care of your Mental/Emotional Health:
- Stress and Anxiety are big stressors on the heart, and impact our health in many ways. When we are stressed, our nervous system produces hormones meant to help us “fight or flee” from a dangerous situation. Our bodies don’t know if we are just freaking out cause we’re late and stuck in a traffic jam, or if we are being chased by a tiger! The same chemicals speed up our system, increase our blood pressure and heart rate, and wreak havoc on our immune system
- Heart Health TIP: Make a commitment to yourself to add some stress relieving self-care into your life.
- How about trying a Yoga Class or a Meditation Class!
- Or book yourself a Massage. Even 30 minutes can help you feel like you’ve been on vacation from your cares and concerns!
- You can also check out these tips from Harvard Medical School
- Take care of your Spiritual Health:
- Choosing Love, Compassion and Joy (for OURSELVES and for others) over anger, judgement and hatred. This is a tough one, because it means changing our patterns of thinking. But shifting to feelings of love, compassion and joy are really important for our heart health because they help Endorphins flow in our body. And Endorphins (the feel good horomone) are GOOD for the health of our Heart!
- Heart Health TIP: Next time you start to feel angry or critical about someone, or even more importantly, about yourself, try this:
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let it out slowly.
- Now place your hand on your heart, and take a second deep breath in. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart. Feel your “energetic” heart soften, expand, and open to feelings of compassion and kindness.
- Take 10 breaths like this, and consider saying these words to your self with each breath: I Love You.
No matter what Valentine’s day is for you, remember that you are always worthy of love and self-care!