While the holidays should be filled with the joy of family and friends, for anyone with heart disease—or who is at an increased risk for heart disease—the holidays instead may be a time of special risk. It’s an important time of year to not only take care of ourselves but remind those around us to slow down and smell the poinsettias. There are many triggers that contribute to over-stimulating our hearts so it’s important to be aware of the risks as we enter the season. Although February is American Heart Month, there’s no time like December to change our ways to get on a heart-healthy track and raise heart health awareness (with promotional products, of course).
Doctors have long known that cold weather is hard on the heart. Blood vessels constrict, which raises blood pressure. Blood also clots more readily. Frigid temperatures increase strain on the heart, and too much physical exertion can worsen the burden and trigger a heart attack. Doctors have treated many patients whose heart attacks followed strenuous snow shoveling. Along with bitter temperatures, Old Man Winter also graces us with viruses, influenza, and pneumonia; all of which weaken our immune systems and cause unexpected stress on our hearts.
Help your body maintain a healthy temperature by bundling up. Keep germs at bay by washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth, and use sanitizers. Looking for the perfect promo gift to keep your clients warm and healthy? Hats, Coats, Sweatshirts, Blankets, Hand Sanitizers, Cold & Flu Kits
Stress & Anxiety
It comes as no surprise that stress is unhealthy to our hearts as we can literally feel our hearts racing with anxiety at times. Although the holidays are supposed to be the hap-happiest time of the year, they’re also the most stressful. The kids are home from school causing daycare issues; there are gifts to be purchased causing time and financial burdens; we’re expected to look our best for holiday parties that we don’t always want to attend, and don’t forget how fun it can be to accommodate extra guests during the holidays! Stress affects behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise.
Just say no if you don’t feel comfortable-not just during the holidays, but all year. Know your limits. Try to stay structured by keeping a routine and making a holiday budget. Volunteer-Giving back feels good and humbles us by reminding us that someone else is less fortunate than we are. Want to keep your clients organized and less stressed with promotional products? Calendars, Planners, Organizers, Stress Balls
Tis the season to eat fruitcake and drink eggnog? We’re all guilty of baking too much, nibbling too much, and drinking a bit too much holiday cheer. It’s all in good fun until you wake up with a stomach ache and headache duo. Too much eating and drinking can lead to “holiday heart syndrome.” Holiday heart syndrome is when overeating and overindulging in alcohol lead to an irregular heartbeat, called atrial ﬁbrillation, which increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
The holidays are no time for dieting, but if you make a conscious effort to enjoy everything in moderation, your heart will thank you for it! Too much of anything is well…just too much! Consider marketing your business on some Healthy Snack Options or Healthy Heart Bookmarks.
Too much to do. Too little time. It’s difficult enough to keep our regular schedules afloat; add shopping for gifts, festivities to enjoy, menorahs to light, advent calendars to open, elves to move off shelves, letters to write, cards to send, winter concerts to attend, and being secret Santas to our to-do lists; and we might run out of time to properly care for ourselves! Have you ever thought to check your pulse during holiday shopping? If your heart could talk, it might tell you to sit down and take a deep breath. Heart palpitations are a direct result of lower levels of the female hormone estrogen, which leads to an overstimulation of the heart. Such a drop in hormone production can be linked to an increase in both heart rate and frequency in palpitations, and non-threatening arrhythmias
With early morning traveling, late-night holiday gathering, after-hours gift wrapping & midnight stocking stuffing, it’s no wonder healthy meals at the table are replaced by slivers of fudge and sugar cookies. Being exhausted can also exaggerate all of the above-mentioned factors. When our bodies are tired, it’s much easier to get stressed and run out of energy to stay healthy. Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. Over time, this can lead to higher blood pressure during the day and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems.
We can’t wait for the turkey’s tryptophan to calm us down! Let the Ho Ho Hos and jingle jangles remind us to slow down so we can convince those we care about to slow down too. The holidays should be about opening our hearts by giving gifts that are for the heart, from the heart! Perhaps the greatest gift of all is the gift of well-being awareness.