February is Heart-Health Month and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. What a perfect time to show ourselves some L-O-V-E! One way to do so is by eating heart-healthy foods like cayenne pepper and fresh basil which help regulate blood pressure and circulation.
Stress management is another important factor in maintaining good heart health. I’m sure your holiday beach-vacation was blissful and last weeks deep-tissue massage was heavenly. But those activities are infrequent and often reactive to stress. Ready to get proactive with your heart health?
Here are 5 simple, everyday habits for a healthier and happier heart!
1. QUALITY SLEEP – Brain cell regeneration and other vital activities occur during sleep. Deprivation can lead to emotional distress, exhaustion and poor eating habits. For a better night’s rest: turn off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed, eat no more than 2 hours prior to sleep and make sure your bedroom is completely dark. Chamomile tea is great for getting you into the sleepy-time mood!
2. YOGA OR STRETCHING – Yoga and deep stretching are great for relieving tension in the body, mind and spirit. Attend a local yoga class for guided instruction or simply stretch at home. Stretch each muscle group starting from your neck down to your toes. Hold each position for at least 10 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply. Stretching can be done anytime during the day and is very beneficial upon waking and before bed.
3. DECLUTTER – Cluttered spaces can unknowingly cause tension and stress. If it’s difficult to locate items and function in the space, it may be time to tidy up. Focus on organizing rooms you spend the most time in such as bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Important activities such as sleep, food preparation and bathing will be more pleasant in clutter-free environments.
4. NATURE – Spending time in nature increases endorphin levels and relaxes the mind. Head outside and go for a walk, bike ride, lay in the grass, sit on a park bench, play in the sand, swim in the river, or simply open a window to get fresh air. Be mindful during your time in nature. Observe the colors, smells and sounds. You can spend all afternoon outdoors, or just 5 minutes for your lunch break. Every moment counts.
5. JOURNAL – Writing down your thoughts, ideas and feelings is therapeutic. It allows you to express yourself freely – without critique. You can journal affirmations, goals, fears and dreams. Dedicate a notebook solely for journaling to keep a record of all your writings. Start off by writing 5 minutes a day before bed, answering 3 questions: How do I feel today? What am I worried about? What am I excited about?
We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know, what are your favorite ways to de-stress?