February isn’t just the host of Valentine’s Day — it’s also Heart Health Month. With all of these heart-related festivities, it’s a great time to remember to show yourself some love too. Here are some of our favorite tips for taking care of your body and mind.
Just dance: If Beyonce’s Super Bowl extravaganza taught us anything, it’s that getting your heart pumping should be FUN. Working up a sweat doesn’t need to be a drag — and it shouldn’t be, since it’s something you want to do daily. If you aren’t already in the habit of breaking a sweat for at least 30 minutes every day, start today by turning up your favorite songs and dancing around the house. Or, try a new dance studio in your area by scoring a deal on Groupon or Living Social. We guarantee you’ll break a sweat, and have some fun doing it.
Power down before bed: Unplug from your electronic devices (cell phone, TV, computers, tablets, etc.) 60 minutes before hitting the hay. The type of light that the screens of electronic devices produce mimic daylight and that can make your brain feel wound up instead of in the mood to wind down. Also, watching TV and reading e-articles is stimulating — which you don’t want when you’re trying to get your body into sleep-mode.
Enforce the plate rule: Eating veggies helps ensure you’re getting adequate nutrients in your diet. It also helps boost your fiber intake and can decrease your overall calorie intake (veggies are filling). Women should aim for around 2.5 cups of veggies per day and men should shoot for 3. An easy way to ensure you meet the mark on a daily basis? Fill half your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner. Fill the other half with equal parts high-fiber carbs (beans, whole grains, starchy veggies) and lean protein.
Talk to yourself…nicely: What would you tell a friend who was working hard to lose weight or be healthier? What would you tell a family member who wanted to make better food choices but had steered off the healthy eating path a bit over the last few weeks? Chances are, you’d be kind, supportive, and encouraging. Well, now be the same person to YOU. You deserve to be supported and encouraged and it starts with you.
Just breathe: We’re big fans of the 4-7-8 breath. It’s a way to relax your mind and body wherever you are. And that comes in really handy while sitting in a meeting, standing in a long grocery store line, or making dinner at the end of a stressful day. Here’s how: Exhale fully. Now take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts, and exhale for 8 counts. That is one 4-7-8 breath cycle. Do 3 or 4 cycles to calm your mind and your body.
What healthy choices will you make for yourself this month?