Balanced Lifestyle

This week, we’ve got one more person to add to your list of valentines: you! With Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month both happening in February, it’s the perfect reminder to honor your heart and yourself. That’s why we’re proposing you take time to show yourself some love!
With all of the everyday obligations, tasks, and others to care for, it can be so easy to put self-care on the back burner. Commit to giving yourself as much love as you need to live a long, balanced life. Little changes can go a long way toward permanent and lasting routines of self-care, so here are three simple ways to practice self-love.

Walnut Heart

Have a Mindful Morning

If you’re like most of us, the first thing you do when you wake up is reach for your phone to check notifications, alerts and news feeds. Instead of getting overwhelmed immediately with your to-do lists and responsibilities, practice a self-care routine from the moment you get out of bed.
This routine can be different for everyone but might include gentle yoga, a short meditation or some positive visualization. Taking just five minutes for centered reflection can help set the tone for the day. By doing this, you allow yourself to begin from a place of love and gratitude instead of feeling swamped by everything you need to accomplish from the moment you awake.

Part of morning mindfulness is slowing down to nourish your body. And it doesn’t have to be an elaborate or time-consuming meal! Try prepping one of these overnight oats recipes the night before so you can grab a bowl and take a moment to savor it before you rush out the door. These Banana Bread Overnight Oats are even certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy option.

Take a Midday Break

Rushing from one task to the next can quickly burn you out and empty your mental fuel tank. When you’re busy, taking a real break can feel like a luxury, but it’s about so much more than satisfying your hunger pangs. Skipping lunch can take a toll on our productivity and even our wellbeing, so honor your brain and all it does for you throughout the day by taking a midday pause.
Use your midday break to nourish both your body and your mind! Enjoy a wholesome lunch or smoothie and reflect on the positive things that have happened in your day so far. This mental reset can help you recharge your brain and set you up for success during the second half of your day.

Wind Down Well

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to catch up on your favorite shows in the evening or recap what happened on social media, but challenge yourself to some screen-free fun for a few hours! Consider doing something that puts you in the present moment, like playing with a pet, doing a puzzle, taking a bath, or journaling. As you relax and unwind, try to use positive self-talk and uplifting language in your mental dialogue. Even if you didn’t complete your to-do list for the day, give yourself credit for what you did achieve!
Finally, no matter how you spend the evening, prepare for a good night of sleep by putting all screens away at least one hour before bed. This will help signal your brain that it’s time to start winding down and will help you mentally review your day. A restful night of sleep might be the ultimate act of love for your body!

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-care is just as important as caring for everyone else. Starting this month, make time for yourself. Patterns and routines take time to develop, so be kind and gentle as you learn to let go for a few minutes a day! One place to start is by caring for your heart by eating 3 handfuls of walnuts per week.

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