Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Going Red: 8 Ways to Relieve Stress

This month we're partnering with the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women campaign to raise funds and awareness on the prevalence of heart disease. Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in women?  More women in the United States die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined.

Although that is a somber fact, there is much we can do to improve our health and prevent heart disease. Throughout this month I plan to bring you information, tips, and more to help all of us maintain our happy, healthy hearts!

Wife, Mom, Professional, Caregiver, Daughter, Sister, Friend. Whatever stage you are at in life, you have stress. When stress is constant, your body stays in high gear on and off for days, weeks, or months at a time. Chronic stress that causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure may damage the artery walls. There are many ways to relieve stress. Many of them are as individual as you. Find what relaxes you and practice it on a regular basis.  Here are 8 ways to relieve stress that I am personally fond of - you may be too!

  1. Go for a walk - It can be a little as 10 minutes or as long as 60. Take what time you can afford, go to a peaceful place such as a nature or forest preserve, and walk. Try not to think about that which stresses you. Just let your mind be at peace and enjoy your surroundings.
  2. Give yourself a plant - Or treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers.  Choose your favorite plant or floral, set it in a prominent place in your home, take in the fragrance, and enjoy.  
  3. Take a warm bath - Give yourself at least 30 minutes to soak in a warm, fragrant bath. Light candles, sip a cup of tea, find a good read, or just close your eyes and relax.
  4. Yoga - Find a yoga class or buy a DVD to do at home.  Commit to yoga at least once a week for 30 minutes.  Yoga is both relaxing and strengthening, and its long-term effects will benefit you both physically and mentally.
  5. Dark chocolate - Indulge in a bit of dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is higher in cacao than milk or white chocolate, so dark is the healthy one.  Cacao is filled with healthy nutrients and for the chocolate lover (like me) the taste is heavenly.  Instant relaxation and longer term healthy benefits!
  6. Laugh - Share a good laugh with a good friend or a good book!
  7. Give yourself a spa treatment - Pedicure, manicure, facial, bath, whether you go to a spa or DIY it at home, give yourself a 30 minute treatment and enjoy.
  8. Make time for your hobbies - It is easy to get caught up in our daily tasks, and we feel there are never enough hours in the day.  But it's important to make time for hobbies. Whether you're a reader, gardener, painter, crafter, athlete, cook, musician, or other; make time to enjoy your hobbies.  You will find relaxation and gratification in taking time to do something you love.

For more information on stress and your health visit Go Red for Women.

Have a happy (and stress-free!) day!

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