NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Wear Red Day 2021

Practicing Self-Care for a Healthy Heart During the Pandemic and Beyond

Two people practice yoga
Inspirational quote cards for social media remind people to take care of themselves for better heart health.
Collins performs dumbbell thrusters
A quote card featuring the NIH director
A cartoon heart wears a face mask and walks a dog
NHLBI also offered an animation about the value of daily self-care. To view the video, go to
A quote card featuring the words "You can't pour from an empty cup"
Self-care quote card, part of Wear Red Day 2021

A global pandemic may have had much of the NIH staff working from home this year, but they still celebrated American Heart Month…just in a virtual kind of way. And for the annual kickoff—National Wear Red Day, Feb. 5—well, that was like none other.

This year’s theme focused on the importance of self-care as a form of heart-health care. Studies show that devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. 

Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing healthier meals and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart.

To spur this year’s celebration, NHLBI’s The Heart Truth program created inspirational quote cards for social media that reminded people to take care of themselves. Cards featured NIH leaders engaging in various physical activities, including yoga, walking and weightlifting. A few showed heart-healthy meals, such as salads, to emphasize the importance of good nutrition. Of course, people rocked plenty of red; some posted crimson-clad selfies online. 

One of the biggest highlights was a virtual dance. 

Hosted by NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons and NHLBI communications director Dr. Lenora Johnson, in partnership with the Office of Research Services and the R&W Fitness Center, the special event—beamed from Masur Auditorium in the Clinical Center—encouraged work-from-home dancers to get moving. They were treated to a 30-minute medley of popular songs and dances, all led and choreographed by fitness instructor Charissa Mobely. In all, 648 registrants from across the country took part.

If you missed the quote cards and the dance, don’t worry. A compilation of heart-healthy resources is available online year-round,

And remember: Keep moving! It’s never too late to join the growing effort to fight heart disease, the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)