By: Ashley Roy, Esq.
The month of February is commonly known as the month of love because we celebrate Valentine’s Day. February and those red hearts also have another meaning that’s very important, American Heart Month. As lawyers and individuals, we love a lot of things. We love our jobs (sometimes), we love our spouses, kids, favorite football team and more.
I encourage you to take moment this month and show love to yourself. It’s important that as lawyers’ we keep our hearts and minds healthy. We deal with stress, depression, and a degree of hostility. Being a part of this profession makes us all susceptible to stress-related illnesses, including heart disease.
As you’re considering all the ways to show love to those around you during the month of love, also consider taking time to focus on your cardiovascular health.
The Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is shining a light on hypertension (high blood pressure), a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
If you have high blood pressure, you are not alone. Nearly 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 44 have high blood pressure. About 1 in 3 adults with high blood pressure aren’t even aware they have it and are not being treated to control their blood pressure.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) is too common and dangerous. It puts people at risk for heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, vision loss, peripheral artery disease, sexual dysfunction, pregnancy complications, and cognitive decline.
Some ways to manage your blood pressure include:
- Speak with your doctor about ways to measure your blood pressure.
- Considerations for food and drinks and physical activities that help keep a healthy blood pressure.
- If your blood pressure needs to be controlled, taking medicines and being aware of the possible side effects.
Here are some ways you can also show love to yourself and others:
- Spend Time with Loved Ones. Connecting with your loved ones can be a wonderful way to manage stress. Try unplugging your devices and spend the evening watching a movie or catching up on a Netflix series.
- Sweat it Out. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strictly done in a gym. Take a stroll through one of Birmingham’s many parks or even find a TikTok challenge to join in on.
- Spread the word about heart disease. The more we talk about heart disease and share, the more people will learn about it. Social media campaigns and sponsored luncheons are great opportunities to spread awareness about American Heart Month and heart disease.
- Strategize to Keep Stress in Check. Knowing how to handle stress and having strategies to smooth the peaks is key. Practicing mindfulness and setting goals can be a powerful way to leverage focus for reduced stress.