February is national heart month and with an abundance of good and important heart topics to discuss, it wasn’t easy to pick one to spotlight. Valentine’s Day is usually surrounded by commercial images of romance and little cherubs with their bow and arrows spreading love. I believe cupid’s real message to us is to take it easy on the bubblies and chocolates as he seems to have overindulged in the spirit of love. Cupid may actually be the first poster child for childhood obesity—but that’s another story.
When our preconceived expectations are fueled by commercials and the views of social norms there are often many of us left feeling a little melancholy. What about those who have recently gone through a divorce or break up with a significant other, or have suffered the loss through death? Maybe you are single by choice and are simply trying to avoid all the cupids out there who are trying to match make you with their other single friends or family. Many times I think those who are in love want the best for their friends who are single and want them to be as happy (or miserable) as they are. My advice for the newly divorced / separated, widowed or single for whatever reason is to pamper yourself and use these four tips to enjoy a great Valentine’s Day.
• Something New: If your finances permit get out of the house take a little shopping spree for a new outfit, or at least a new shirt / blouse, nice cologne or a pair of shoes. Otherwise, dress up and treat yourself to dinner and a movie, or a night at the symphony. Remember getting out of the house doesn’t have to be expensive—use your imagination.
• Lonely Heart’s Party: I use to throw an annual “Lonely Heart’s Party” for myself and my single friends. These parties can be as elaborate or simple as you choose. These parties were such the rave my partnered friends would ask for an invitation. Surrounding yourself with friend’s regardless if in your home or a night on the town you can’t go wrong being with friends.
• Give of Yourself: Take the day off and volunteer at a local homeless shelter / soup kitchen, or nursing home and handout flowers or just give of yourself listening and talking with others.
• Remember a Widow / Widower: Valentine’s Day they have suffered a great loss take time to show them you care by spending time with them or a “Valentine’s Date” getting them out of the house will brighten their spirits and yours.
Valentines is about matters of the heart so, on this day and everyday it is a good idea to take control of diet and nutrition, regular physical activity, and smoking cessation to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and also prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Part of a heart-smart diet includes eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lowering or cutting out added salt or sodium and saturated fats. A source for sound nutritional information is the Harvard School of Public Health www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/.
Single or not enjoy yourself this Valentine’s Day and remember to love one another and most importantly—love yourself!
Howard Baker, RN BSN
For questions, comments, or suggestions on topics you want to read about please email me at: [email protected]