Devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing abstinent meals, and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart.
And that’s a good thing, because heart disease is very common in individuals struggling with untreated food addiction. The good news is that we have found that when a food addict is following the treatment plan for food addiction recovery their heart health often vastly improves. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men and many people with untreated food addiction remain at a high risk of getting it. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., NHLBI’s director of cardiovascular sciences.
It may be easier than you think to “put your heart” into your daily routine. Each Sunday, look at your week’s schedule and carve out 30 minutes daily for heart-healthy practices. Take an online yoga class, prepare a heart-healthy abstinent recipe, schedule your bedtime to get at least seven hours of sleep, or make a medication checklist. Then seek out support from others, even if it’s online or via a phone call, to help you stick to your goals.
Here are few self-care tips to try every day to make your heart a priority:
Find a moment of serenity every Sunday. Spend some quality time on yourself.
Be mindful about your health and regularly monitor your blood pressure or blood sugar if needed. Being aware of your health status is a key to making positive change.
Try one of many tasty recipes included in our Abstinent Cookbook
Don’t waffle on your wellness. Move more, eat a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried, make a plan to quit smoking or vaping, or learn the signs of a heart attack or stroke. You could be having a heart attack if you have chest and upper body pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness. You might be having a stroke if you have numbness in the face, arm, or leg; confusion; trouble talking or seeing; dizziness; or a severe headache.
Treat Yourself Thursday
Stretch your imagination beyond food. Treat yourself to some quality time, take a few minutes to sit still and meditate, go for a long walk, or watch a funny show. Laughter is healthy. Whatever you do, find a way to spend some quality time on yourself.
Follow inspiring people and pages on social media, or text a friend to help you stick to your self-care goals. Remember to take care of your mental health, too. Two of the main hurdles to self-care are depression and a lack of confidence, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. If your mental health gets between you and your fabulous self, take action to show your heart some love. Reach out to family and friends for support, or talk to a qualified mental health provider. You can also join our 3x weekly SHiFT Strong Calls.
Inspire others to take care of their own hearts. Talk about your self-care routine with loved ones or share a selfie on your social media platforms. Having social support and personal networks can make it easier to get regular physical activity and staying abstinent.
Learn more about heart health and heart-healthy activities in your community, and see what others are doing for their heart health, at nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts or follow #OurHearts on social media.