For most of us New Englanders February is a month to bear down and make it through another 28 days of unpredictable weather. This is also a month where we can let our fierceness and resourcefulness shine in the face of unbelievable temperatures! This winter has been particularly brutal as we all have experienced record breaking low temperatures and too many mornings of waking up to negative readings on our thermometers. This month, let’s say ‘Bring it on!’ and decide to focus on other ways to celebrate the month and enjoy living in Vermont.
This February take care of your heart… both literally and figuratively. February is not only the home of the revered, and sometimes lamented, Valentine’s Day but also the home of American Heart Month. This year why not try to treat your heart to loving care, both by taking the time to tell that special someone how much you appreciate them and to also show your own heart that you appreciate it as well! Taking steps to minimize your risk of heart disease, stroke or heart attack is one of the smartest and sweetest things you can do for yourself this February.
We’ve all heard the standard changes we should make to our lifestyles to reduce our risks over and over, i.e. eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking etc. For some, those changes can seem daunting and altogether unrealistic. So why not start with some smaller, more manageable steps instead?
- Be aware of your blood pressure. It’s easy to deny there might be a problem if you are unaware of what your body is telling you. Take advantage of the blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy and check in with your BP at least once a week.
- Make small changes to your diet. It can be difficult to suddenly start making yourself eat spinach salads for lunch, and I’ve heard a lot of people refer to granola and nuts as squirrel food! Instead of immediately adding foods that you may not be excited about, try to cut out some of the worst offenders in your diet, such as: cured meats, pizza (yes, pizza), pasta dishes with heavy cream sauces, and overly salted soups and snacks. Really, our bodies don’t need that much sodium!
- Take a break! Give yourself 10 minutes every day… not to work out or do bills or check your email, but just to simply sit in a quiet, relaxing place and breathe. That’s all, just breathe. Give your mind and body a break. You can do this!
Good luck to us all during this wintry and heart healthy February. And remember, February 20th is Hoodie Hoo Day, so get outside at noon, no matter what the temperature, and wave your arms at the sky and shout “Hoodie Hoo!” to help us all chase away the winter blahs and bring in Spring!