Ah, February, the month of love. The aisles are filling up with red-coloured everything and sappy cards, reminding us that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday first and foremost, synonymous with roses, chocolates, having a “special someone” and sending messages from the heart. While “Saint Valentine’s Day” has questionable origins (that don’t have anything to do with love or marriage or chocolate) it can still provide an opportunity to explore love and a healthy heart.
At NHC we believe that in order to love and care for others, we must first love and care for ourselves. With that in mind, we encourage you to look at February 14th a little differently this year—a little more whole-istically.
So, what does it mean to care for your heart? Cardio? Yes. Foods low in cholesterol and trans-fat? Yes. Eating your favourite food? Yes. Expressing your feelings? Yes. Getting a hug? Yes. Having supportive friends? Yes. Giving and receiving love? Yes. Finding purpose in your job? Yes! Yes! Yes! Your heart is multifaceted, multi-purpose, and an amazing part of your body/mind/spirit.
But where to start? How to plan? My heart rate is going up just thinking about what my heart rate is and that it probably needs to go down. Maybe I’m actually the Tin Man and need to go to the Emerald City?
Do not despair, friends. Creating a heart-centred routine is easy peasy! First, start with where you are right now (not geographically of course, but just generally in life) and go from there. Perhaps you use a notebook to create an intake form for your heart (hint hint). You could even write your name and date at the top, with three columns for body, mind and spirit and three rows for current health, goals and how to get there. Okay, okay, we may have done this before. But it is really effective (and we love making forms!!).
Step 1: Where you are:
Body: how is your physical heart health right now? Cardio is hardio or getting in 60 minutes everyday? Somewhere in the middle?
Mind: how is your mental and emotional health? Is your heart rate regularly increased due to stress? Do you love yourself?
Spirit: do you have faith? Not in the religious sense of the word, but do you have values and beliefs? Do you have purpose in life?
Step 2: Your Goals:
Yay for your goals!
Step 3: The Journey:
A very personal and unique process for each person. How will you get where you are going? We like using the SMART goal method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timed.
Now, these are very broad strokes when it comes to caring for your heart, and by no means an exhaustive list. It can, however, give you a place to start, or even just bring some things into your field of awareness that were not there before. However you need to care for, and honour your heart, do so with kindness and compassion.
Wishing you a month full of self-discovery, self-love and all of the things that make your heart full and happy.