With all the talk of love and connection, it seems appropriate that February is American Heart Month. Self-care is an important part of not just recovery, but any healthy lifestyle.
We don’t often appreciate just how much our hearts do for us. The average heart will beat about 4800 times an hour. That is 115,200 times per day. Over the course of a year, it will beat over 48 million times. If that heart lives to be 80 years old, it will have beat over 3.3 BILLION times! Our heart does so much for us, and is constantly working so that we are happy and healthy, and yet heart disease is still the #1 killer in our country. By looking at the relationship we have with our hearts in much the same way we view our relationships with other people, we can learn how to take care of the most important muscle in our body. When we neglect self-care in the physical arena, it can be just as damaging as it is when we do so emotionally.
1) Empowerment: Love yourself enough to want to take care of your heart. Taking esteemable actions and practicing a purpose driven life is one powerful way to build self-esteem and empowerment.
2) Communicate Effectively: Get to know your heart by learning your risk and your family history. Talk to relatives and take heed of the type of risk factors associated. Listen to your body and when something doesn’t seem right, don’t ignore it!
3) Create Date Nights: Treat your heart to fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fish. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a punishment – you can have delicious, heart-healthy meals that are also great for your body!
4) Share Fun Activities: Get your heart pumping with activities to build endurance, foster bonding, and practice teamwork. This is also a way to practice self-care by connecting with others and building community.
5) Be Vulnerable: Listen to your heart and make seeking medical care for symptoms a priority. Get regular physicals and don’t neglect going to the doctor just for a check-up.
6) Show Commitment: Prioritize your heart by monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. This is an especially important part of self-care if you have risk factors or pre-existing issues you are working to heal!
7) Protect: Keep your heart safe by taking prescribed medications and avoiding tobacco. Tobacco and other drugs are one of the worst things you can do for your heart in terms of keeping it healthy!
8) Radiate Positivity: Train your mind to speak kindly to your heart, de-stress and express gratitude. One of the best ways to do this is through living in gratitude by giving back.
In conclusion, often we can forget how important our relationship with our heart is. February isn’t only the month of love and connection but it’s important to stop, pause, and evaluate how you’re treating your heart – and yourself! These 8 simple tasks are sure to lay the groundwork towards a healthier heart.