Updated: Apr 3
It's Spring! Even if it doesn't feel much like it. I love February, it's my birthday month, but one of my friends really struggles with February. She is fed up of being cold. The excitement of Christmas and New Year is over, and warmer days feel like a long way off.
So I thought I would write up five simple wellbeing wins to keep us going through February. What's more they will boost our wellbeing hormones and help us have a spring in our step and sunshine in our soul.
1. Look for signs of spring.
Go on a nature walk. I know it sounds childish, but sometimes it is good to be childish, and see the world through a child’s eyes. To slow down and look in wonder. Slowing down and noticing are two of the key aspects of forest bathing, aka Shinrin Yoku, a mindful walk. Forest bathing is all the benefits of being in nature, plus the benefits of mindfulness will leave you feeling good, with lower blood pressure and heart rate. Being in nature releases serotonin, the mood stabilising hormone. The signs of Spring will be popping up throughout February. Snowdrops, buds on trees, new leaves and shoots starting to open. It will give us hope and excitement. Today I saw some yellow catkins.
2. Wet day outside? Dance in the kitchen.
Dancing boosts your endorphins, natures natural high, and releases serotonin, a mood stabiliser. Pump up the volume and dance. Dance with your children, or on your own.
3. Give and receive hugs.
It’s the love month. So share some love. Oxytocin is the love hormone. Hugging releases oxytocin, so does kissing, massage, eye contact, socialising and petting animals (as well as a few other things, nudge, nudge). Oxytocin makes us feel safe and loved. Hugging yourself also counts.
4. Hygge rest.
Winter may be gone, but it is still cold and dark. Layer up your rest times. Get cosy. Put your feet up fully. Add a blanket or duvet, even if it is just for five minutes. Get the max out of your rest times. Or have a nap. Sleep releases dopamine, another happiness hormone. Yoga Nidra is a sleep based relaxation technique which only takes 10-20 minutes, and can feel you feeling rested and restored. Pop a yoga nidra track on Spotify and zone out.
5. Show yourself some love.
It is the heart of wellbeing: to love and value yourself. I know it can be hard. As women, as mums, we push our needs down, to care for others. Our children need us to do that, for some of the time. And motherhood is a self-esteem knocker. We make mistakes every day. We question ourselves. We measure ourselves against impossible ideals (from our internal unwritten rules, or those of our family, or from social media). We can feel conflicted about loving ourselves. Start with being kind to yourself. Give yourself some attention, and affection. Forgive yourself. Treat yourself. (Oh, and if you thought I was going to talk about another type of 'self-love', that’s great too, masses of oxytocin and endorphins with that!)
Which one will you try first?
I'd love to know how you get on.
I've some more wellbeing news coming up very soon, to add to your feelgood February, so watch this space!