By Terra Wellington
Healthnotes Newswire (February 11, 2010)—Increasing evidence points to a relationship between heart health and stress, according to the American Heart Association. So why not go ahead and help your loved one relax, wind down, and take some “me” time—or rather, “us” time? Here are some easy do-it-yourself ideas to give the gift of stress reduction.
To start, buy a basket or bag and line it with tissue paper—try two layered colors for extra fun—and accent with a coordinating ribbon tied around the handle or a flower tucked in between the goods.
Regular nutritious meals assist in restoring energy, help the brain to function properly, and keep a body in good health—all beneficial to reduce stress and help the heart. Set the mood by presenting your loved one with an invitation to a special homemade meal. Spend a leisurely evening together, leaving time for conversation.
• Sparkling juices—Try apple-cranberry or apple-grape
• Tasty appetizer—Try cheese, crackers, and some olives
• Two drink holders—Find either glass goblets or fancy plastic cups
• Dark chocolate bar—Dress it up with wrapping paper and maybe tie with a ribbon
• Special invitation—Hand write an invitation to your dinner for two
Spending time with family and friends may reduce stress, provide emotional support, and help you forget about your worries. Fun choices for this basket might include:
• Popcorn—Look for low-fat options
• Nuts—Varieties such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans are a source of some heart-healthy oils
• Hot cocoa—Try a low-calorie version
• Mugs—Find the perfect cup for everyone
• DVD movie—Pick a family favorite
• A mini-scrapbook—Fill a small album with your favorite holiday photos
• A card for the occasion—Hand write a special note
Since rest can lower stress levels, try some of the following tricks to help your honey wind down in the evening and fall asleep faster:
• Body lotion and candle sets—Try lavender, mint, or chamomile scents
• Bath oils or salts—Find those labeled as relaxing, and avoid citrus scents, as they tend to energize rather than soothe
• Herbal teas—Look for caffeine-free blends labeled as relaxing and comforting, such as those with chamomile
• A card for the occasion—Include a special hand-written note
A health writer, columnist, and editor, Terra Wellington is well-known for her wellness lifestyle segments on television and radio, including the CBS network's New York This Morning, This Morning, and Early Edition; ABC’s News This Morning, Sonoran Living, AM Northwest, and Good Morning Texas; NBC’s News At Noon, and Fox's Fox News Rising; and the Ask Heloise radio show, among others. She also toured nationally, in-person from coast-to-coast on live TV for the 2004 Athens Olympics. She has also been featured in MSNBC.com, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Women's Health and Fitness, Parenting, The Christian Science Monitor, First For Women, Woman’s Day, and The Vegetarian Times.
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