Give Your Valentine Heart-Healthy Stress Relief

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.

Dinner-for-two basket

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

Fun-and-family-night basket

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

Sleepytime-love-you basket

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, 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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