February. The shortest month of the year, and the month of the Valentine (or not).
It's cold, it's wet, it's almost always dark; Summer sunshine seems like an eternity away. You'd be forgiven for feeling, well.... rubbish.
We've got your back. In the absence of warmth and sunshine, we've got 6 top tips to help you give you a little boost and to feel good everyday.
You knew this was coming so we thought we'd get it out of the way first. We all know the importance of regular exercise in keeping us physically fit. Now "studies show that everything from cognition to the lymphatic system improves if we are more consistently active throughout the day" according to David Agus, MD, professor or medicine and engineering at the University of Sourthern California. So try taking the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a stop early and walk and see if you feel the difference.
"Smiling can jumpstart the process of happiness," says Jeff Brown, author and Harvard psychologist. "When you smile, you trigger a psychological and neurological alignment with positive emotions, and that can lead to heathier living." Turn that frown upside down!
Take a little time out for yourself - whether it's having a bath or reading a book; do something that relaxes you. Our lives can be hectic; we're forever spinning plates whether it's work, family or friends. If you're stressed, burnt out and anxious you're no good to anyone. So relax, have some you time and always make sure you get a good night's sleep.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
What did we do before the age of social media? We managed to survive! All too often we forget that what we see on Facebook and Instagram isn't all as it seems. It's a filtered and airbrushed version of reality. Try to have a little perspective, take a step back, even try limiting your social media usage - Sandra's holiday pictures will still be there tomorrow.
Be At One With Nature
It's cold, it's Winter, we know you want to stay indoors. We're not asking you to go walking naked in woodland, but try spending some time in the great outdoors. It's more than just exercise; loads of research shows that spending time in parks, woodlands or forests can improve cognitive function. In fact, one Japanese study showed an improvement in immune function and a decrease in concentrations of adrenaline and cortisol. Pop your wellies on, wrap up warm and go out and get some fresh air!
You Are What You Eat
You also knew this was coming didn't you. We can't stress this enough; we all know the importance of a balanced diet in leading a healthy lifestyle. What we eat also affects our energy levels, our mood, our well-being. Even if you're not ready for a diet overhaul, at least try to stick to the basics - drink plenty of water and make sure each meal contains a good helping of fruits and/or vegetables.