‘Invest in yourself, you can afford it’- Rashon Carraway
So Christmas is behind us, but here in the UK there are still at least a couple of months before spring comes along. If, like me, you’re getting fed up with the cold, wet weather and the long, dark evenings, here are a few tiny tweaks (in addition to eating well and getting enough sleep) we can all make to boost our self-esteem and bring out the best in us. We may be struggling with rising energy costs but investing time and effort in ourselves always pays off!
Have a bath – much more tempting in winter, when the thought of a long soak in a hot bath, feels comforting. Reading about the benefits of having a bath though, I was surprised to learn that two baths each week can improve our mood more than aerobic exercise! It’s thought that the rise in body temperature and the relaxing process of the bath, followed by wrapping ourselves in a cosy towel beats depressive symptoms more than exercise does. A bath before bed also helps us to fall asleep faster, especially if we read or meditate whilst soaking.
Try a new spice – winter is the time for chilli con carne, cottage pie, lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, risotto, curry, fish and chips – all those things that we might not fancy in the heat of the summer months. These warm dishes help boost our mood and feel comforting on a cold day. But how about trying a new spice next time you are cooking? Saffron, for example, has been proven to boost our brains serotonin receptors, and including a range of spices, such as turmeric, oregano and cinnamon, on a daily basis can reduce blood pressure.
Move more – physical activity releases chemicals into our bodies which help us to feel more positive. These chemicals also have anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects. Going for a short walk outside early in the day can really boost endorphin levels, making us feel more enthusiastic about the day ahead. If we really can’t get outside then try marching on the spot whilst looking out of the window! All exercise is good exercise, boosting physical and mental health. It can also be as sociable as you’d like it to be!
Take a break – the long winter evenings encourage us to spend more time indoors, watching TV or spending hours online. Not only is sitting still bad for our health, but listening or reading about external events, can really dampen our spirits. Of course, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on, but sometimes it’s best to set a limit of only checking the news once or twice a day. If social media is your thing, how about setting a timer so that unnecessary hours aren’t wasted? Use your break for something that will boost your spirits or how about ticking something off your to-do list to give yourself a mental pat on the back?
Take up a new hobby – So, what can we do with the time that we might have watched TV or scrolled through social media? Can we do something that is not only productive, but that also boosts our mood? Absolutely! A new hobby can really boost our spirits – we enjoy it and we see an end product, increasing our sense of purpose and fulfilment. Any exercise is good for our physical and mental health; creative pastimes such as painting or knitting reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol; whilst scientists have established that woodwork stimulates the body’s relaxation response simply by touching the wood.
Try a hug (or a blanket) – it’s long been known that a hug from a loved one boosts the happy hormone serotonin, as does touch, skin on skin contact and massage. But did you know that a weighted blanket can do this too? Designed to replicate the feel of a hug, they give the same benefits without the human contact! With heating bills so expensive, maybe now is the time for a heavy blanket?
What are your tips to get through the long winter days, boosting your physical, mental or emotional well-being at the same time? There are plenty of options and plenty of tiny tweaks to choose from! I’d love to hear what you’ve chosen!
Until next time xx
Great post what if you don’t have a bath tub 🤔
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