Taking care of your physical and mental health are both important to maintain heart health. Exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet, checking your blood pressure and cholesterol, and sticking with prescribed heart medications are all extremely vital. So is engaging in ways to manage stress. Unmanaged, chronic stress can increase anxiety and depression and contribute to heart disease. In recognition of heart health month, here are some helpful suggestions.
Move your body. Physical activity, especially heart-pumping activities like brisk walking, lifts your mood and promotes better sleep while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, too!
Regularly connect with family and friends. Tap into your support system to talk through issues or simply enjoy light-hearted conversations.
Talk kindly to yourself. Say,“I’m doing enough and don’t have to be perfect.” Or, “Having a setback is not a sign of weakness.”
Do something creative. Whether it’s doodling, crafting, or making a dance video, almost any creative activity will help take your mind off upsetting events or thoughts and help counter the surge of stress hormones.
Be prepared and manage your time effectively. Some examples:Leave your home early enough to get to your destination on time. Manage your time effectively so you can meet deadlines.
Don’t let stress build up. Tackle an upsetting situation head-on.Negotiate with others, problem-solve, and brainstorm ideas to make the situation better.
Do something nice for yourself. Stream a concert, watch a favorite movie, order a new menu item from a restaurant—just do whatever small thing makes you happy!
Reminder! If you have high blood pressure or another underlying condition, it’s especially important to follow COVID-19 safety recommendations and your doctor’s medical advice.
SOS for unbearable stress. Losing a loved one, a job or your health can be devastating. Avoid relying on alcohol or other unhealthy behaviors to get through a vulnerable time. Turn to your health practitioner or a licensed counselor for help.