From the fattening egg nog and endless piles of treats to stressful family gatherings and strenuous outdoor chores — there are plenty of reasons why the holiday season can be tough on your ticker.
How can you be kind to your heart this holiday season? Here are a few tips to live by:
1. Relax. Holiday stress can certainly put a strain on your heart. Your schedule is filling up quickly, but don’t forget to set aside some time for relaxation. Whether you prefer reading a book by the fireplace or unwinding with a hot bubble bath, find an activity to help get your mind off the stress of the holiday season.
2. Eat right. Cookies, candy, cake, cocktails – unhealthy temptations seem to be lurking around every corner, don’t they? But now is not the time to give up on your health, especially when it comes to what you eat. Our holiday party guide can help you stay healthy and steer clear of foods and habits that are bad for your heart.
3. Enjoy family time. Aunt Edna may drive you crazy, but try to take family-related stress in stride. Focus on positive moments and memories instead – and don’t instigate or encourage arguments and bad behavior from your relatives.
4. Give. Stave off stress and sadness this holiday season by opening your heart to others. Volunteer for a special cause, donate toys and food or offer monetary assistance to a charity or someone in need.
5. Get moving. The weather outside may be frightful, but even just a little bit of exercise can do wonders for your heart! Pick up a handy pedometer to help track your steps (you’ll want to aim for 10,000 per day). If it’s too cold outside, try walking 10 laps around the mall – or get a head start on your New Year’s resolution by joining the local gym.
6. Don’t overdo it. This bit of advice is true for many different aspects of the holiday season. Whether you’re planning a 50-person feast or tackling the 5-foot pile of snow in the driveway, it’s important to know your limits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – or to flat out say no to a task or favor. It’s better than ending up in a hospital bed!