Happy and Healthy Heart Month!
February is Heart Month in Canada, the UK, and the US. Why not celebrate by taking better care of your heart starting right now! It’s also the ultimate valentine’s gift to those at the heart of your world.
Heart disease remains one of the top killers here in Canada—in fact, nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for stroke or heart disease. The truth is, there are lots of things we can do to improve our heart health. 8 in 10 cases of premature heart disease & stroke are preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Here are some suggestions to get you started on keeping your heart healthy. You don’t have to try everything at once – choose one or two that appeal to you and add a couple more every few weeks until you are naturally living a heart-healthy lifestyle. The idea is to build a self-care habit that all of you, including your heart, will thrive on and love.
Nourishing emotional health and addressing stress is important. The brain and the heart are closely connected. When your emotions adversely affect your mental wellbeing, your heart is impacted as well.
Take a Mindful Approach
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to the experience of what is.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet made up mostly of whole or natural foods is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.
Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. Include simple things every day…take the stairs, go for a brisk walk at lunchtime, opt for a walking meeting, use a sit-stand desk, the possibilities are endless!
Get Your ZZZs
Granted, this can be a tough one with today’s hectic schedules. Research has linked sleep deprivation to blood pressure problems, depression and other factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Sleep is as important as other lifestyle factors in maintaining good overall health and can be improved through a good bedtime routine and habits.
Get involved & take care of your heart:
- Learn more about cardiovascular disease risk factors
- Inform yourself on heart health by visiting our Virtual Health Fair
- Employee and Family Assistance Program – SHR’s EFAP provider, Shepell, can help you understand health issues and concerns in addition to helping you make the changes needed to be well. There are many ways to get help today – all completely confidential. Shepell’s Health Coaches are Registered Nurses and Occupational Health Nurses who offer practical, personalized support for physical health issues which are risk factors of cardiovascular disease:
- Smoking cessation
- Weight management
- Healthy eating – via EFAP Nutrition Support led by Registered Dietitians
- Stress Management
- Shepell’s Stress Coach Connects – an online stress management program
- Check out other stress management resources