Keeping Your Heart Warm

February—Tip of the Month

February is heart month, a good time to take stock of our both our physical and emotional hearts. This month, we are lucky to have two opportunities for celebrating the people who make our hearts beat a little faster: Valentine’s Day and, in some provinces, Family Day.

Valentine’s cards aren’t just for sweethearts—remember, as children, when we gave them to our classmates, friends, parents, and teachers? This year, why not acknowledge all the people who bring some form of love into your life, like you used to when you were small? Something personal is always appreciated, whether it’s a phone call, a card, homemade cookies, or just the time you take to sit with those you love and tell them you appreciate them.

February is a short month, but it can be cold in northern climates, and often we get so wrapped up (pun intended!) in just ‘making it through’ the winter months that we forget to stop and enjoy the meaningful moments in our lives. Spending time with our family and friends is one of the best things we can do for our health and happiness. So this year, why not include friends, family, and other loved ones in your Valentine’s Day or Family Day plans?

Consider taking part in activities that include people of all ages, like the following:

  • Visiting art exhibitions or museums
    Some communities plan special public events, and art galleries and museums may have days when they reduce the price or offer free entry.
  • Watching movies (at the cinema or snuggled up on the couch at home)
    Try a romantic comedy like Valentine’s Day or a family movie like Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.
  • Skating at outdoor ice rinks (or, if it’s really cold, how about an indoor swimming date for the whole family?)
    Some community centres have discounts on holidays so check out their websites or your local newspaper.
  • Playing board games
    In addition to old favourites like Scrabble, Clue, and Monopoly, have a laugh with Cards Against Humanity if you would like a laugh!
  • Making a meal or baking together
    There are many heart healthy (and heart-themed) recipes that are good for you—and good tasting!
  • Taking part in outdoor winter activities like building a snowman or planning a road trip to visit relatives in another province
    Some people use the long Family Day weekend as an opportunity for a short winter break or to travel to visit family members or friends. Don’t forget your travel insurance!
  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or handing out coffee and sandwiches to those who might not have anyone or anything to warm their hearts or stomachs
    Find some other charitable ideas for Valentine’s Day!

Since February is also kissing season, it’s all the more important to think about flu prevention. Don’t forget the basics:

  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue that you will then throw away
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often throughout the day; use soap and water or a hand sanitizer
  • If you are sick or symptomatic, stay home from work or postpone date night to prevent the spread of the flu or other viruses. Flu viruses are spread mainly through the droplets associated with sneezing, coughing, or talking. It’s important to know if you are at risk of complications from the flu, and take the necessary action if you are!

Remember that the flu shots are available all season—just check with your pharmacist, family doctor, or the public health agency.

Wishing you a February filled with family, friends, and fun!

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