How to Stay Heart-Healthy this Holiday Season

The holidays are a time of celebration, but for some, it can be very stressful. In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to neglect our own self-care. For those with heart problems, it is an especially sensitive time of year. Research shows that deaths from heart attacks peak during December and January. Possible causes include changes in diet, increased alcohol consumption, cold weather, traveling and family matters.

Don’t let stress get the best of you this holiday season. Keep the following things in mind to stay happy and heart-healthy.

Make a Plan
Manage your time wisely. When the party invites are stacking up, don’t feel pressured to attend all of them. Take a look at your calendar and make plans to attend the events that best fit your schedule. This is also a great time to start mapping out the upcoming new year. Setting realistic, sustainable goals for a few months ahead can get you started on the right track.

Avoid Unrealistic Expectations
Holiday movies and magazines set unrealistic expectations for normal life. Trying to make everything perfect will only cause added stress. Don’t focus on past experiences or how you wish things could be. Instead, focus on the friends and family that you get to spend the holiday season with this year.

Stay Active
As the social calendar fills up, exercise routines often suffer. If your usual exercise time has been occupied by a holiday function, use half of your lunch break to get in some activity. This would also be a great time to ask a friend to join you for an exercise class you’ve been wanting to try, or to go on walks with your family before or after gatherings.

Track Your Food Intake
There’s sure to be plenty of unhealthy foods at your holiday events. Try to stay away from excessive salt, fats and alcohol. Always drink a lot of water and eat a healthy snack before heading out to your event to avoid overindulgence. If you are assigned to bring a dish, cook up a heart-healthy recipe so you’ll know that at least one thing at the party is good for you.

Practice Self-care
Don’t put your personal well-being on the backburner because of your busy schedule. Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night and designate time to relax and do things that you enjoy.