February is a month of love, and taking care of yourself is the best way to show love for yourself and the people who care about you. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your heart healthy and happy.
Eat a Balanced Diet
- Include foods that are good for your heart in every meal, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil.
- Avoid over-eating foods that are bad for your heart, such as fried foods, processed meats, cheese, butter, salt, and sugar.
- Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can walk, bike, swim, dance, or do any activity that you enjoy.
- Consider including 10 minutes of activity 3 times a day. For example, go for a walk in the morning, dance to get over the mid-day slump, and follow an at-home exercise video at night.
- Find ways to make exercise fun, such as joining a class, finding a buddy, or saving your favorite music for your workouts.
Quit Smoking and Avoid Secondhand Smoke
- Stop smoking as soon as possible. Smoking harms your heart and your lungs and increases your risk of many diseases.
- It’s okay to ask for help. At Henry J. Austin Health Center, we have Tobacco Cessation Counselors who are committed to developing your quit plan.
- Visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for 24/7 assistance.
- You can also use nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges to ease your cravings.
- If you do smoke, prevent loved ones from being affected by secondhand smoke, which can damage their heart and health.
- Remove your outer layer of clothing before entering the house where others live.
- Do not smoke in a vehicle that others will be in.
- Bathe before making any skin-to-skin contact.
Manage Your Stress
- Relaxing your mind and body every day can have countless benefits for your wellbeing. Try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, massage, aromatherapy, or listening to soothing music.
- Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, a family member, or one of our counselors at Henry J. Austin Health Center, if you feel stressed or overwhelmed. To make an appointment with a behavioral health counselor, call 609-278-5900.
- Avoid things that make you stressed, such as negative news, toxic people, or unrealistic expectations.
Show Some Love
- Express your love to yourself and others, by giving hugs, compliments, homemade gifts, or acts of service, like cooking their favorite meal or crossing something off their to-do list.
- Plan some peaceful or fun activities with your loved ones, such as watching a movie, cooking a meal, playing a game, or going on a trip.
- Spend some quality time with your friends, family, or pets, and let them know how much you appreciate them.
Have a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day. Remember, your heart is the most important Valentine you have, so treat it well and enjoy the benefits of a longer and happier life. Need help managing your heart health? Henry J. Austin Health Center is just a phone call away. Call 609-278-5900 to schedule an appointment.