Stress. Holiday stress.

Holiday stress hits most of us, and while stress alone may raise your blood pressure for a short time, it isn’t a direct cause of high blood pressure. However, how most people respond to the holiday stress is linked to high blood pressure.

Responses including excessive drinking, smoking, diminished quality of sleep and indulging on sugary, fatty, salty junk foods can raise your blood pressure on a long-term basis if you’re regularly responding to stress in any of these ways.

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And stress seems to pile up during the holidays whether it’s from unrealistic expectations, financial pressures and too many commitments or so many other factors.

Learn More About the Benefits of L-arginine Plus for Your Heart

That additional stress contributes to the rise in heart problems during this time of the year as people try to deal with their holiday stress in all the wrong ways. But you can take preventative action to maintain your heart health and improve your heart health.

Check out these tips for keeping your heart as healthy as possible this holiday season and into the new year.

1. Make a Plan – By making a plan for how you’ll eat, how often you’ll exercise and how you’ll deal with your stress when it does come, you’ll be able to better stick to activities that keep your heart healthy rather than falling back to responses that contribute to causing harm to your heart’s health. It might also be helpful to plan your budget, your time and any other activities to help reduce your stress over the course of the holidays.

2. Beware of Pitfalls – Parties, family gatherings and all kinds of holiday events can be killers for your effort to eat right. At parties, you’ll be served all kinds of high-fat foods that can harm your heart’s health. To help withstand the temptation, eat before you go and be mindful of how much you eat at the event. If you’re hosting, be sure to have heart-healthy snacks and foods on the menu.

3. Stay Active – It’s easy to feel worn down and tired during the holidays, but don’t skimp on your exercise during this time of year. The combination of decreased activity and increased calorie consumption adds pounds and can impact the health of your heart negatively.

4. Know When Enough is Enough – From what you’re eating during the holidays to expectations and invites, be mindful of your stress levels and the impact your schedule and diet have on you. If you’re feeling worn down, it’s fine to turn down invites. Set realistic expectations for yourself and for others to avoid unnecessary stress and watch what you’re eating whether you feel stressed or not.

5. Plan Beyond the Holidays – As stressful as the holidays are, don’t add more stress by planning on changing everything during the month of December. Lay out a plan that will help you take steps in the right direction that starts this month and also extend that plan into January, February and March or beyond. Set realistic steps now and make a plan to make additional changes or to take additional steps that will help keep your heart as healthy as possible.

6. Don’t Forget Your L-arginine Plus – Taking L-arginine Plus can help you get the support you need for the health of your heart. If your response to stress is to reach for L-arginine Plus rather than the plate of Christmas cookies, you’re heart will absolutely thank you.