Summer is here, which should mean a break from all the chaos, but with the longer, lighter nights and fine weather, it’s tempting to jam-pack your weeks with activity. Juggling childcare, work and holiday planning can mean running yourselves ragged and feeling the strain.
Whilst there’s no evidence that stress directly causes heart disease, we know that, when stressed, we are more likely to smoke, drink too much alcohol, and eat junk food - all of which have a negative impact on heart health.
Keep an eye on your stress levels and those associated harmful behaviours to stamp out the stress on your heart this summer.
Get organised with a list of jobs to tackle each day; keep it realistic by not including anything unachievable or unnecessary, and do the hardest tasks first. Asking the kids to help around the house can take a weight off your mind, keep them occupied and teach them valuable life skills for the future.
Be assertive and let people know if they are asking too much of you; covering your colleagues’ workload while they’re away isn’t always manageable, so delegate and communicate. People will often extend deadlines or make alternative arrangements if asked. Being honest about the causes of your stress will help to keep it in perspective, and as the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.
Daily exercise will help to release endorphins, the body’s natural ‘happy hormones’, to beat the blues and combat stress. Try something different and fun like belly dancing, Nordic walking, water polo or simply power-walk the cares of the day away.
Make some ‘me time’ - taking an hour each day to do something you enjoy will help you unwind and keep stress levels down. Bury yourself in a good book, soak in a hot bath or try some simple yoga poses to hone your inner haven.
A good night’s sleep will keep you refreshed and ready to go each morning; follow a routine every evening to train your body and mind to switch off. Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking and late night TV, and make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary that’s free from clutter, phones and gadgets.
Sometimes stress is inevitable and can’t be immediately solved, but choosing to manage it wisely can help protect your heart and your health while you make the most of your summ
For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email email@example.com