Whoa, do I have a good post for you today!😊
I’ve got an excellent mini-quiz to give yourself a check-up on how well you’re doing with self-care and your answers may surprise you!
February is all about the HEART. I mean, Valentine’s Day is just a few days away! Plus, in the United States, it also happens to be Heart Awareness month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and in many other countries around the world, including Australia and major parts of Europe.
Here’s another super shocking stat. According to the American Heart Association, about 80% of all cardiovascular disease can be prevented. That’s amazing, right? EIGHTY PERCENT!!!!
That’s why this assessment is SO IMPORTANT. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re cruising along in some areas of your self-care, but maybe need a little improvement in others. This quiz isn’t about being perfect; it’s just about taking great care of yourself because you and your heart deserve it!
Ready for the quiz?
Grab a pen and paper and write down your answers to these questions….
How are you doing in the eating department? Are you eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes mostly unprocessed foods? Do you cut back on foods that are high in sugar, and instead eat a mostly plant-based diet with healthy fats and proteins? (example - large green salad with grilled chicken and avocado)Take a second to think about what you have eaten over the past week, all the meals plus any snacks you’ve eaten.
What grade would you give yourself on this, on a scale of 1-5? Are there some things you can easily change to boost your grade?
Here’s how to keep score:
If 20% or less of your meals were healthy, give yourself a 1
If about 20-40% of your meals were healthy, give yourself a 2
If about 40-60% of your meals were healthy, give yourself a 3
If about 60-80% of your meals were healthy, give yourself a 4
If 80% or more of your meals were healthy, give yourself a 5
Remember, this isn’t about being perfect, it’s just about seeing what you’re ACTUALLY doing on a daily basis. Write down your score, or at least remember it, because you’re going to need it later.
Exercise and Daily Movement. Nearly every health organization recommends you get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week for heart health. You can rack up your minutes over a day, or you can get it done all at once. This could be walking, doing a workout, dancing, gardening, or anything else that keeps you moving.
Here’s how to score your activity:
Let’s count 20 minutes or more of INTENTIONAL exercise (a brisk walk counts) as an activity for this quiz!
If you’ve only been active 1 day in the last week, give yourself a 1
If you’ve been active for 2 days in the last week, give yourself a 2
If you’ve been active for 3 days in the last week, give yourself a 3
If you’ve been active for 4 days in the last week, give yourself a 4
If you’ve been active for 5 or more days in the last week, give yourself a 5
Now, give yourself a score on a scale of 1-5
Sleep! Studies show that getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night regularly is linked with all kinds of ailments that are tied to heart disease, like stress, inflammation, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re not, is there anything you can do to make it happen? Do you need to go to bed earlier, or create a nighttime routine, or take some other action? It’s amazing how much better you feel when you get a great night’s sleep!
To give yourself a score, for each day in the last 5 days that you’ve gotten 7 or MORE hours of sleep, give yourself a point! (up to 5 points total)
Meditation / Prayer / Gratitude Practice. Studies show these practices can help your heart health. Do you spend at least a couple minutes a day focused on reducing stress and feeling grateful?
This can take a lot of forms. It can be simply sitting and breathing, praying, taking a walk in nature, or journaling. To give yourself a score, for each day in the last 5 days where you’ve done some form of prayer, meditation, or gratitude practice ... give yourself a point! (up to 5 points total).
Know Your Numbers! When was the last time you had your blood pressure and cholesterol checked? This is good to know for everyone, but it’s especially important if you’re over 40. It’s definitely worth asking your doctor about!
To give yourself a score,
Give yourself a 1 if you have NO idea what your numbers are
Give yourself a 3 if you’ve had your #’s checked within the last 3 months
Give yourself a 5 if you’ve had your #’s checked in the last 30 days
And last but not least, smoking! I’m not going to lecture you, because you already know the deal. If you do smoke, I highly encourage you to ask your doctor about help with quitting! There are so many avenues available nowadays to make it a little less challenging and the payoff is definitely worth it.
Scoring: No gray area on this one- if you’ve smoked anything even a single cigarette in the past 7 days, give yourself a zero. If you haven’t, give yourself a 5.
OK … so the areas we went over are nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress-reduction, as well as knowing your most recent health stats.
Add up all your scores. The highest possible score is 30. What number did you get? How did you do?! If you scored over 25, that’s amazing! Good for you!😊
If you gave yourself a score below 25, chances are you’ve got an area or two you want to work on to bring your overall number up.
Remember, it’s not about passing a quiz, but about feeling healthier, more energized and getting the most out of your days!
Maybe you’re doing wondrous with sleep and exercise, but you want to improve in the areas of nutrition or the stress-relief. Or vice versa.
It’s time to come up with an action plan! As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t about being perfect, but coming up with strategies to make self-care an enjoyable part of your lifestyle … and taking great care of your heart!
Jennifer Castro is a Health Educator & Patient Advocate who specializes in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. Coach Jenny is working towards becoming Board Certified while working as an Instructional Team Member for the College of Health Solutions at ASU. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small business & office settings, employee benefits and workplace wellness options