It’s not all tidings of comfort and joy when it comes to the holidays. It’s also a time of great stress for a lot of people. That stress leads to an unfortunate increase in heart issues around the holiday season.
Medical professionals say, because our routines are disrupted, it’s important we listen not just to the sounds of the season but to our bodies, as well.
December is peak time for cardiovascular issues. Scientific research over time shows more people die from heart attacks between Christmas and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year.
The holidays are a busy, often stressful, time for most of us. The American Heart Association says it’s also a time when routines are disrupted. This can lead to people not listening to their bodies or not paying attention to warning signs.
Here are some things to be mindful of during the holiday season:
First, know the symptoms and take action — these include chest discomfort, shortness of breath or lightheadedness. Signs may vary in men and women, and it’s important to catch them early and call 911 for help.
Celebrate in moderation. Look for small, healthy changes and swaps you can make during the holidays. And don’t forget to watch the sodium.
Make time for yourself. Taking time away from family interactions and hectic schedules can help reduce stress.
Keep moving. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This number tends to drop for some people during the holidays, so remember to go for a walk.
Finally, Stick to your meds. Busy holidays can lead to skipping medications, forgetting them when you are away from home or not getting refills — which could impact your health. Try creating a medication chart to help stay on top of it.