by Sharon Quercioli
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Most of us make one or two resolutions that we don’t always keep during the next year. I believe that the secret to fulfilling a resolution is to pick one that you feel passionate about, which can be a little flexible to your schedule and lifestyle.
May I suggest that you dedicate 2018 to keeping your heart healthy and happy. A healthy happy heart will ensure that you’ll live longer and feel better. Who doesn’t want to feel better? Not only that, heart health is a general resolution which is flexible enough that you can implement different techniques and changes throughout the year, depending upon what’s going on in your life.
There are many different things that you can do to improve your heart health. Let’s go through a few changes you can implement, one at a time. Mix and match to see which fit your lifestyle best or which are easier to maintain.
Drink more water. Water is a great way to cleanse your system and make your heart happy. Drinking water is always easier said than done. Sometimes you just don’t feel thirsty. Other times, you want something with a little more flavor. There are simple ways to incorporate more water into your life. My favorite tips are:
◦ Keep a glass or a water bottle full of water at your desk. Whenever you notice it or see it out of the corner of your eye, take a drink. It’s surprising how much water you will drink each day, just using this simple trick.
◦ Try fruit infused water if you don’t like the lack of flavor in regular water.
◦ Try adding Young Living Essential Oil Lemon or Grapefruit to you water. This is one of my favorites.
◦ Replace one sugary or caffeinated drink each day with a glass of water instead.
◦ Start carrying around a water bottle with you everywhere.
Stop smoking and limit the amount of alcohol that you drink. If you’re already a social drinker, try to limit it to two fingers worth of red wine a night. The studies that have been done on red wine are inconclusive, so if you’re not already a drinker (of any sort), you shouldn’t pick up drinking. A minimal amount of red wine can be healthy. Excessive drinking is dangerous for your heart, however. Do you know when the best time to stop smoking is? Right now. Smoking adds to your risk of heart disease and cancer. If you’re having trouble, join a support group. Try creating a quit plan, which you can turn to whenever you are having trouble. If you use cigarettes to relieve stress, there are better (healthier) ways to de-stress. Speaking of which…
Find good ways to relieve stress. There are plenty of heart healthy stress relief techniques including:
◦ Working on hobbies or other activities that you enjoy
◦ Writing in a journal
◦ Storytelling (via books, podcast, or movies)
◦ Art (observing it or creating it)
◦ Doing a random act of kindness
◦ Showing gratitude
◦ Exercise and eat well (which will help you think clearly and can calm you down when you are stressed)
Aim to lose around 10 pounds. About 70% of the population in America are considered overweight. That’s a depressing number. Not to mention, this increases your chances of having or developing stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. As a general rule, losing 10 pounds can help with lowering blood pressure, risk of diabetes, and your risk of heart disease.
Get a good night’s sleep as often as you can. Sleep is one of the many things that most people lack each day. When you get a good night’s sleep, you’re letting your heart rest and you’re giving your body a much-needed break. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you are putting your body under even more stress each day. Be kind to your body and let it rest.
Make sure you get your teeth checked. There is a correlation between periodontal disease and heart health. So, make sure that you get your teeth checked on a regular basis. Brush your teeth every day, twice a day at least. You’ll make your mother proud and your heart happy. It also helps to bring a little pouch of plastic flossers with you. Take it with you in your purse or keep a baggie in your pocket. You can use them at lunch, or when you’re out to dinner.
Cut back on the caffeine. I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and rarely but sometimes have a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. Caffeine is known to aggravate your blood pressure and add to your stress level. Both can put a bad strain on your heart. To cut back, your best bet is to cut back slowly. Replace a couple of your caffeinated drinks (like coffee, tea, and soda) with caffeine-free options (water, herbal tea, etc.). Try drinking different flavors of tea to switch it up a bit and keep things interesting.