Motherly advice is heart-healthy
Now that February is over, I am rethinking “Heart Month.” I typically celebrate February by giving Valentines to unsuspecting acquaintances and painting hearts for my friends and loved ones. I have tried not to get sucked in to the heart health movement that seems to make “Heart Month” a clinical Debbie downer.
But this year they got me. I went to one too many eye-opening talks. I met women younger than me who had suffered strokes, husbands who had lost wives, and children who had lost moms to heart disease, the number one killer of women. It occurred to me this past month as I attended events designed to raise awareness about heart health, that there is no better way to care for our sisters, moms and girlfriends than to harp on the right things.
In my good-bye letter-turned-book, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening, I doled out 270 pieces of advice. Most all of them are designed to lead to good hygiene and happiness, which I believe are the foundations of heart health.
But sprinkled sparingly throughout the book is lite and healthy physical advice we should all be following and sharing with our girlfriends:
12. Use LESS SALT and MORE PEPPER.
64. Hold babies whenever you get a chance. It’s good for both of you.
72. Get enough sleep.
81. When something is bothering you, take it for a walk.
There is something about walking that clears the mind and brightens the outlook. Maybe it is the endorphins or the dopamine or getting oxygen to the brain … or maybe it is the step-by-step reminder that just by simply putting one foot in front of the other, we can make the scenery change.
85. Little habits can cost you big.
Let’s say, just hypothetically, that you are in the grips of an expensive, unhealthy beverage addiction. You line up, day after day, to pay for a pricey coffee, rather than skipping it or serving yourself for pennies at home.
The $4 a day you spend on fancy coffee adds up to $1,460 a year, which would be enough to put you in a decent used car. But you won’t buy it. The car, that is. Because you bought the coffee. So, think hard before you start smoking or hoarding cats.
93. Don’t jog in a park after dark.
94. But DO jog in the park.
133. Find a healthy food you like that does not need refrigeration.
Nuts, fruit, a light protein bar; keep some in your purse or car at all times. It will save you from hitting the vending machine in a weak moment.
134. Eat your vegetables.
135. Be a vegan, if you want to. But don’t make everyone else suffer for it.
249. Nature nurtures. Scientific studies show that a potted plant in the room makes you happier, more productive, and even lowers blood pressure. So learn how to keep a plant alive. (No, artificial plants aren’t as good as the real thing.)
160. Move your body. Exercise makes everything better.
161. Still your mind. Meditation makes everything better.
162. Fasten your seat belt. Being alive makes everything better.
Heart month may be over, but let’s make sure the motherly harping on heart health is just beginning.