February is heart health month—a time to bring awareness to all the things we can do to support our cardiovascular systems. As an alternative healthcare provider there many areas that we can focus on to support heart health—moderate exercise, good water intake, breathing!! (notice how you breathe this month and you might be surprised how often you catch yourself holding your breath), high intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber through foods and limiting bad fats and processed carbohydrates.

However, I also want to take this month to talk about the other aspect to heart health that might be just as important as all of the things that I just mentioned because its what makes eating and living a heart-healthy lifestyle– and that’s the support of friends and family.

Lately, I’ve seen many people who are struggling to maintain progress or make the changes that they need in order to see the health improvements that they want. What I tell clients all the time is that this is really, REALLY normal—making changes to your health (especially if they are ones that increase your limitations at first) can feel hard and at times, isolating. There may be times when you feel like you are the only person in the world that could possibly be going through what you are or having to make the changes that you are. But what many of my clients who have made changes and stuck with them have said is that asking for support and help from family and friends has made all the difference.

My hope for all of you for February heart health is that you remember that whatever changes (even if its just drinking 1 more glass of water every day!) you are trying to make don’t be afraid to reach out for support—whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a support group of some kind. Having the support and help of those around you is a big part of heart health too. Maybe you are somebody who has watched a friend or family member struggle to make a change? If so, then even just reaching out and asking “is there anything I can do to make it easier?” or “what if I do it with you for a bit?” can help.

One client of mine was struggling to get in any exercise so finally she broke down to her friend about how she was struggling and now they both walk 5 days a week (come rain or shine) for 3 miles together—it turns out her friend enjoys it just as much as she does! Never forget to build up a village when you can—none of us are meant to do all these things alone and the more help and support we get from a variety of sources the easier and easier our challenges become.

Dr. Katie