• Lauren Anderson

5 Ideas for Embracing (a Heart-Healthy) Valentine's Day

Sure, Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, and if you’re are not coupled up, it may be a holiday you’d rather forget about. But perhaps V-day deserves some love after all—It can be the perfect excuse to focus on what’s important and, if you adopt some new traditions, it can be great for your health as well!

Here are some ideas for how to celebrate this year!

  1. Pamper yourself!

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, loving yourself ought to be your top priority. Without self-love, your reserves for others will quickly be depleted. Why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to show yourself that you care?

How about enjoying an Epsom salt bath, with some calming essential oils added in? The magnesium will help relax your muscles and your mind, and it’s great for overstimulated adrenals. Or why not do some yoga? Your residual zen will make you better equipped to handle stress, which will make your loved ones happy.

2. Eat something decadent

Decadent doesn’t have to mean terrible for you and 4000 calories. Look at Valentine’s Day as an excuse to give your body exactly what it craves mixed with what your heart needs (in both the metaphorical and literal sense).

Why not try this amazingly easy and healthy dessert by FitFoodieFinds: Salted Dark Chocolate Mousse. It’s packed with healthy fats, antioxidant rich cocoa, and just a bit of maple syrup for sweetness. Your sweetie will never be able to guess that you made it with Avocado and coconut cream. It is just divine.

3. Practice gratitude to feel the love

Spend time thinking about those you love, and experience the sensation of love in your entire body. If “love” is a word that intimidates you, think about all of the people and things you are grateful for instead. Hold them in your thoughts as you take a few long, slow deep breaths and think about why you appreciate them.

And remember, a gratitude practice is just like a muscle, it’s hard to work if it’s atrophied, but you can still start small. Don’t forget about your pets, the nice gas station attendant who is always so friendly, and the abundance of food and other forms of sustenance the earth gives us. As with any practice, take time to notice how it makes you feel after. Pretty soon, you'll be finding love (and feeling gratitude) wherever you go!

4. Spread the love to others

Most of us are familiar with the marketing messages we get about Valentine’s Day—you don’t love your partner enough unless you get them roses and chocolates and take them for a fancy dinner, right? There’s nothing wrong with it if that’s what you choose to do, but Valentine’s Day should be more about expressing your appreciation and love than any feeling of obligation to follow the status quo.

If you are in a relationship, maybe you write a heartfelt card, cook their favorite meal, or clean the junk drawer you’ve both been avoiding. Or, maybe you spread your good fortune by doing community service, buying a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, or by stopping to let someone go ahead of you in traffic. There are myriad ways you can start a wave of love and let it ripple outwards.

5. Get your heart pounding

Ballroom dancing anyone? Aerobic exercise is great for your heart and circulatory system, and for your mood. Whether alone or with a loved one, pay attention to your ticker (it does so much for you on a daily basis!) and start getting active! We'll leave the how up to you ;)

Wishing you a love-filled Valentine's Day!

#gratitude #dessert #paleo