February is all about the HEART. Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and in the US it also happens to be Heart Awareness month. (Remember to wear red on Friday, Feb. 7th!)
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and in many other countries around the world, including Australia and major parts of Europe
Here’s another stat that’s super shocking. According to the American Heart Association, about 80% of all cardiovascular disease can be prevented.
That’s amazing, right? EIGHTY PERCENT!!!!
That’s why this assessment is SO IMPORTANT.
If you’re like a lot of people, you’re cruising along in some areas of your self-care, but maybe need a little improvement in others.
I’ve got a really neat mini-quiz to give yourself a check-up on how well you’re really doing with self-care ... and your answers may surprise you!
This quiz isn’t about being perfect … it’s just about taking great care of yourself because you and your heart deserve it!
Ready for the quiz?
Grab a pen and paper and write down your answers to these questions….
#1 How are you doing in the diet department? Are you eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes mostly unprocessed foods?
Do you cut back on foods that are high in sugar, and instead eat a mostly plant-based diet with healthy fats and proteins?
Take a second to think about what you have eaten over the past week, all the meals plus any snacks you’ve eaten.
What grade would you give yourself on this, on a scale of 1-5? Are there some things you can easily change to boost your grade?
Here’s how to keep score:
Remember, this isn’t about being perfect, it’s just about seeing what you’re ACTUALLY doing on a daily basis.
Write down your score, or at least remember it, because you’re going to need it later.
#2 How are you doing with exercise and daily movement. Nearly every health organization recommends you get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week for heart health.
You can rack up your minutes over the course of a day, or you can get it done all at once.
This could be walking, doing a workout, dancing, gardening, or anything else that keeps you moving.
Here’s how to score your activity:
(Let’s count 20 minutes or more of INTENTIONAL exercise (a brisk walk counts!) as activity for the purposes of this quiz!)
Now, give yourself a score on a scale of 1-5.
#3 How is your sleep? Studies show that getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis is linked with all kinds of ailments that are tied to heart disease, like stress, inflammation, high blood pressure, and weight gain.
Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re not, is there anything you can do to make it happen? Do you need to go to bed earlier, or create a nighttime routine, or take some other action?
It’s amazing how much better you feel when you get a great night’s sleep!
To give yourself a score, for each day in the last 7 days that you’ve gotten 7 or MORE hours of sleep, give yourself a point! (up to 5 points total)
Got your number!?
How are you doing?! Still with me here? Give me a “like” if you are!
#4 How are you doing in Meditation / Prayer / Gratitude/ Spiritual Practice? Studies show these practices can actually help your heart health.
Do you spend at least a couple minutes a day focused on reducing stress and feeling grateful?
This can take a lot of forms. It can be simply sitting and breathing, praying, taking a walk in nature, or journaling.
To give yourself a score, for each day in the last 7 days where you’ve done some form of prayer, meditation, or gratitude practice ... give yourself a point! (up to 5 points total).
#5 Do you knowing your numbers?
When was the last time you had your blood pressure and cholesterol checked?
This is good to know for everyone, but it’s especially important if you’re over 40. It’s definitely worth asking your doctor about!
To give yourself a score,
Give yourself a 1 if you have NO idea what your numbers are
Give yourself a 3 if you’ve had your #’s checked within the last 3 months
Give yourself a 5 if you’ve had your #’s checked in the last 30 days.
And last but not least … smoking! I’m not going to lecture you, because you already know the deal. If you do smoke, I highly encourage you to ask your doctor about help with quitting!
There are so many avenues available nowadays to make it a little less challenging and the payoff is definitely worth it.
Scoring: No gray area on this one- if you’ve smoked anything … even a single cigarette in the past 7 days, give yourself a zero. If you haven’t, give yourself a 5.
OK … so the areas we went over are nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress-reduction, as well as knowing your most recent health stats.
Add up all your scores. The highest possible score is 30. What number did you get? How did you do?!
If you scored over 25, that’s amazing! Good for you!
If you gave yourself a score below 25, chances are you’ve got an area or two you want to work on to bring your overall number up.
Remember, it’s actually not about passing a quiz, but about feeling healthier, more energized, and getting the most out of your days!
Maybe you’re doing amazing with sleep and exercise, but you want to improve in the areas of nutrition or the stress-relief. Or vice versa.
It’s time to come up with an action plan! As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t about being perfect, but coming up with strategies to make self-care an enjoyable part of your lifestyle … and taking great care of your heart!
If you’re looking for a sounding board or coaching, I’m here for you! I can help you come up with strategies that work for YOUR lifestyle. Learn more about fitness and nutrition coaching with me here>