By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain
Love it or hate it: Valentine’s Day is approaching. Whether you are in a relationship or going solo this year, it can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy and forget about what matters most – you. Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, is important to your overall well-being and can increase the likelihood that you stay well.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a continuous practice. It also requires taking the time to enable good habits and reflect on how you are feeling. Learning how to eat right, exercising regularly, limiting stress, and taking personal time when you need are all part of the foundations of self-care. Being aware of your feelings is a pivotal touchstone that can help you stay healthy and resilient. Here are a few ways to take time for yourself during this season of love.
Opt for healthier sweets: With yet another holiday focused around sugar, seek alternatives like a fruit arrangement when gifting a “sweet for your sweet.” Choices like classic strawberries are always popular, plain or dipped. If choosing dipped, consider dark chocolate. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has about half as much sugar, four times the fiber, and contains iron.
Relax and unwind: Everyone deserves an opportunity to take a break in order to reset. When planning your next date night, take a simpler approach and consider unwinding at home. This can help relieve the stress and pressures of Valentine’s Day, like competing for a dinner reservation. Staying in and preparing a well-balanced meal for your significant other can show you care in more ways than one. Taking the time and effort to not only cook, but selecting options that are heart-healthy like Omega-3-rich fish and vegetables can showcase your best interests for your partner and their health. Should you include wine in your meal, consider red over white. Red wine is made by fermenting grapes with their skin and stems, so it contains more tannins and resveratrol which may reduce inflammation and help lower blood pressure.
Make it your day: No matter your views on Valentine’s Day, most can agree that there’s nothing better than having a good friend by your side. According to a recent study by Cigna, social media was found to be a primary cause for the high rates of loneliness. Consider putting your phone down and hanging out in real-life with people who bring you joy. Whether it’s one-on-one or hosting a Galentine’s Day or Guy’s Night, you can share in the celebration. If you are feeling especially lonely on a regular basis, you may want to consider seeking professional help. Primary care physicians are an excellent resource for finding someone that can help you address your specific concerns.
In any case, the best Valentine you can give is taking care of yourself! For more tips on personal self-care, please consult with your family medicine provider.
Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.