Ah, February, the month of love! A month where we celebrate the healthy relationships in our lives, and one where we are reminded to hug our loved ones a little tighter. I know Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday, but I do love a bouquet of roses, some chocolate and heart-shaped everything. I just can’t help myself! However, I learned long ago that, for me, the focus of the holiday is more on ensuring that I am living my life in a way that makes me feel good. Like Miley said, ”I can buy myself flowers.” But, I can also take time for myself to go for a run, to volunteer for local organizations or to get a little treat from a local boutique.
Conveniently, February is also American Heart Month. We’ve talked before about the importance of this month and the importance of maintaining your heart health. Well, good news, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute agrees that practicing self-care can keep your heart healthy. Whether it’s eating healthy, being active, meditating or taking a moment to relax and reduce stress, self-care is heart care.
Sometimes choosing the healthy food option, or taking the walk on the trail while it’s cold can feel like a drag. But if you change your mindset to note that those are all pieces of self-care, those choices can feel luxurious. Choosing a protein-packed lunch with a side of veggies is just one part of your love affair with yourself. Making the choice to go for a walk or hop into a barre class is a great way to reduce stress and prevent heart disease.
So this month, make sure you’re taking time to live heart healthy. Whatever that means for you, whether it’s a bubble bath before bed or a walk on the trail. Foster that relationship with yourself; it’s the most important one, and it will always last a lifetime.
Jenny Dewar is a transplant to Columbia from the suburbs of Chicago. She is the owner and general manager of Pure Barre Columbia, where she also works as an instructor. In addition to her work in fitness and health, Dewar spent 15 years working in college athletics.