I could not have been happier for the Spring equinox. The end of dark nights and beginning of brighter, warmer days, sunshine and spending more time outdoors without freezing. It always makes me feel happier! Ok, ok, so maybe I'm a bit premature on the weather....I did see hail this afternoon! But don't you think that the brighter evenings makes you feel brighter yourself? I feel like I'm emerging from hibernation. I feel ready to dust off my winter blues and show myself a little love.
It's this time of year that I get a little energy boost and start to think about warm summer days. If you struggle with winter blues, have had a stressful start to the year or even just because you deserve it, now is a great time to use that extra energy to nurture yourself into the spring and summer.
Here is my list of 10 simple ways to show yourself a little care:
1. Have a glass of water
The benefits of hydration are always talked about and for good reason. Over half of your body weight is made up of water, so it stands to reason that hydration is vital for both body and mind. Dehydration can cause sleepiness, headaches, earache, muscle cramps and dizziness. So, keeping well hydrated can help to prevent all of these things. When you're well hydrated, you feel more alert and energised.
Don't like plain old delicious water? Why not help give your immune system a boost too and add some effervescent vitamin C - it tastes yummy. Or try adding fresh lemon mint or cumber to your glass to make it taste lovely. Go on.....get a glass of water now!
2. Take a hot bath or shower
Heat has been shown to ease muscular aches and reduce pain and I know that stepping into a hot bath or shower really soothes my mind too. Try making an event of it - light candles, add a drop or two of essential oil to your bath and listen to your favourite music. Focus on how the soothing warmth makes you feel, allow the heat to melt away any negativity. If you're in the shower, listen to the pitter patter of the water on your head and imagine the drops washing any worries or stress down the plughole.
3. Make a list of your achievements
We all have something to celebrate in our lives. Making a list of the things you've achieved that make you happy or proud can really give your mood a boost. Achievements are different and personal for each person and there is no wrong right answer. Maybe your achievement is something physical like making or baking something, planting seeds or flowers and watching them grow, decorating, collecting or fixing something or starting to a new sport. Maybe it's something less tangible like being a parent, good friend, brother or sister. Maybe you've helped someone out, learned something new, finished a book or just had a good day. Perhaps you've overcome difficult times. Write down as many as you like - no matter how big or small they seem. Clap yourself for each one!
4. Give yourself a hand massage
Our hands work hard for us. There isn't much we do in daily life that doesn't involve them and often they are taken for granted. Spend just 1 minute giving each hand a little massage. Use a nice oil or hand cream and pay attention to each part. Not sure how to massage your hand? Why not copy my little video - show me!
5. Make yourself a foot soak
Just as our hands work hard, so do our feet. Lots of people tell me they don't like their feet but I think they deserve a little thanks for carrying us through life! If you suffer with tired aching feet or ankles or are prone to poor circulation and cold feet, this is the perfect care for you. Use your bath or a bowl and fill with nice warm water. Add bubbles, bath salts or essential oils and just let your feet soak for 10 minutes. Allow the heat to sink deep into your feet. Listen to some music, watch your favourite programme or just enjoy some quiet. Why not pop a pair of nice fluffy socks on the radiator so that you can wrap those toes up nice and warm when you're finished!
6. Get a nature fix
Spend some time outdoors. Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in the country with an abundance of green spaces and the beautiful peak district right on our doorstep. Find a park, some woods, or a garden or get into the countryside. Spend some time being mindful. Close your eyes an absorb your surroundings. What can you hear? How does it smell? How does your body feel? What thoughts are running through your head? This is a great way to check-in with yourself and notice any areas of your body or mind that need some extra love and attention.
7. Write yourself a poem
Take time to think of kind caring words for yourself. Write something that shows you care, or something silly that makes you laugh. Remind yourself that you're worth spending time thinking about. If you're not sure about writing something yourself, look for something in a book or online, or think of your favourite song lyric. Keep your poem in a place where you'll see it so you'll be reminded that you care.
8. Cook or bake something
Be adventurous! Try making something new. Choose a recipe with a delicious looking picture, or one with ingredients you haven't tried before. Take pride in preparing something for yourself the way you would if you were cooking for someone else. Set yourself a place to eat and spend time really enjoying the flavours you've created. If you're in need of some inspiration look out for next week's blog where I'll be posting a new recipe.
I think stretching is wonderful! It helps to ease muscle tension, keep joints supple, bring energy to your body and help you feel more relaxed. It can be done anywhere and only takes a couple of minutes. Pay attention to your body as you stretch - notice where you're holding any tension, and which stretches feel good. If you're not sure how to stretch hop on over to youtube and follow along some videos.
You can find a link to a few I've tried before here.
10. Make a list of your favourite things about yourself
You can add as few or as many as you like and again, there are no right or wrong answers. Maybe you like your eyes, hair colour or freckles. Maybe you have a great sense of humour, are a loyal friend or caring mother, father, son or daughter. Maybe you're really good at running, cooking or playing an instrument. Perhaps you're not so good but you have the courage to try new things and patience to practice. Maybe you're a good listener or give great hugs. Maybe you have he confidence not to worry what others think of you. If writing a list is difficult for you, try imagining hat friends or family might say about you or ask them to help. Imagine some of your favourite times and think about why they made you happy. Keep your list somewhere safe and come back to it anytime you feel low in energy and need a boost.
Try one, or all of these and see how they make you feel. You're worth the time so give yourself a little love!
Did you find this list helpful? Have you tried any of these things out? Do you have your own self-care routine or tips? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message on my facebook page. I'd love to hear from you.