In February, we take time to raise awareness for heart disease during American Heart Month and National Red Day. However, you don’t need to consider just the health benefits of taking care of your
heart. Self-care is something else you can do too.
Here are some tips for giving your heart some self-care:
Feel your heart rate rise over an anxious event? Try some breathing exercises to slow your beats down. Whether five minutes or one hour, taking some time to breathe can help your mind—and your
heart!—feel less anxious. Try guided meditations through apps like HeadSpace and The Mindfulness App or looking up YouTube videos. You can also take a couple minutes to yourself to count your breaths
to release any tension you’re holding.
Play a favorite song or album that helps you relax. Try to steer clear of any songs that are sad, angry, or make you feel blue as they might make you more stressed or worsen your mood. Songs with happier beats or involve dancing can be a good heart booster as you get exercise but let go of any cares weighing on your heart. Close your eyes while listening to the music, too, letting the sounds take you away to another place for a while.
Not comfortable sharing what’s on your heart with others? Take time to write down your thoughts in a journal, instead. Grab a piece of paper or pen, pull up a Word document, or a writing app on your phone or tablet and write down your feelings. After, consider deleting or ripping up what you wrote. If comfortable, share your writing with a professional such as a therapist or a close friend to gain a better perspective. Writing can be a cathartic experience where you cannot hold your feelings back, but release them in a non-judgmental way.
Talking to Friends
Whether it’d be helpful advice or a listening ear, talking to a close friend or two about your problems can take a heavy weight off your heart. I’ve found that when I share my struggles with friends, a weight lifts off my chest and my breathing returns to normal. My heart also returns to a steady rhythm and I walk away from a conversation feeling much lighter than when I started. If you don’t feel like talking, just asking for advice and another perspective can be just as beneficial. That gesture will help you feel less alone and have your heart feel cared for by someone who cares about you.
Love drinking tea? Brew yourself a cup after a long day of work! Herbal tea, or Tisanes, in particular, have health benefits specific to your needs. Chamomile teas, for example, are good for helping to fall asleep. Another blend, chrysanthemum, can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Mix your favorite blends together to give yourself a calming brew that will make not just your stomach, but your heart happy.
Does your heart burst with happiness seeing cute animals? Volunteer at an animal shelter where you can pet animals. If you have a cat, listening to them purr can release endorphins that make you calm and happy. Also, you can’t go wrong with the funny cat or dog video on the Internet. Pull up a compilation or one of your own home videos to help your heart, and mind, get happy.
Give your heart some gratitude and joy by giving back in your community. Whether volunteering at a local soup kitchen to serve a meal or donating to a fundraiser close to your heart, giving back can help your heart feel like you’re making a difference in others’ lives. Remembering the little things of life and giving compassion can help you feel like you serve a great purpose.
Remember to give your heart some tender loving care not just in February, but all-year round.