February is National Heart Health Awareness Month. Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States? That’s the bad news.
The good news is, there are things you can do to change that for yourself. Among those things are eating healthy, getting adequate physical exercise, and getting enough zzzz’s.
I have found that healthy foods do not have to taste less appealing than junk food. In fact, exactly the opposite. And making healthy food doesn’t have to be as inconvenient or time-consuming as you may think. Again, exactly the opposite. The closer you can get to eating food as it comes from nature, without all of the additives–and, yes, without the sugar–the better. Simple = healthier.
Physical exercise, too, can be easy. When are you supposed to fit one more thing into your day, you may ask? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get in a few extra steps by parking further away from where you’re going instead of circling for a closer spot. Walk for your 15 minute break instead of scrolling social media. Keep a set of weights by your desk and get in some curls when you have a couple of minutes to spare–or even if you’re on the phone. It only takes one hand to hold the phone. Zero if you’re using a headset. Instead of sending Fido outside, standing by the door and watching to be sure he does his “thing,” take him for a walk around the block. It won’t take any additional time and you’ll both be happier and healthier.
As for sleep–as an adult I used to dream of getting sent to my room for a timeout so I could nap without feeling guilty! Now I’ve dumped the guilt and take that nap if I need it and get to bed at a reasonable hour. And I’m all the more productive for it.
So turn off your computer–yes, stop reading this blog now–and get in some steps. While you’re at it, have a snack–a healthy one–and, heck, maybe just 30 minutes of rest. You’ll be happy you did. And your heart will thank you.
February is the month of hearts and love. Anyone living on this planet is aware of Valentine’s Day, whether we’re fond of it or not. The card, flower, and chocolate industry can attest to how popular Valentine’s Day is. We celebrate and honor our “true love.” I also celebrate my kids, adults now, but that has never made me stop, as well as my grandchildren. I love them every moment of every day and try to show them as often as possible, but I cannot resist the lure of Valentine’s Day.
This year, however, my focus has been on the entire month rather than one day. February is American Heart Month. As I mentioned in a previous post, health issues have been my companion the past several months. When the cardiologist told me a pacemaker was necessary, I felt the earth crumble beneath me. I wasn’t nearly old enough for a pacemaker! And I was in perfect shape! I exercised regularly, I ate super healthy, I was filled with gratitude and joy. How can this happen?!? It was explained to me that my heart muscle was very strong (thanks in part to working out and eating a healthy diet), but the electrical component wasn’t working. In essence, I needed an electrician for my heart. That electrician came in the form of a pacemaker on January 17th.
I have never felt better. Approximately 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That’s an average of 1 death every 38 seconds.
Instead of allowing myself to wallow in the yuck of self-pity and disbelief, I’m so immensely grateful. I’m grateful that medical technology has given me new life. I’m grateful that it was caught in time before I became a statistic. I’m grateful that even though I thought my life was amazing before, that it’s gotten even better. I’m grateful for the medical professionals who have been so remarkable. And I’m grateful there’s an entire month dedicated to the heart instead of just one day. Typically my wardrobe consists of a lot of black and green. This month I proudly sport a lot of red.
My suggestion to you is:
Follow your heart, listen to your heart, protect your heart, and love with your whole heart. That is the essence of life.
Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Happy Valentine’s Day!