Yesterday we had a Leap Day, which is a good excuse (in Ireland) for proposing yourself if your man is dragging his heels. Not that I'd ever be brave enough to try it, but it's nice to know Kilkenny's always an option. March is now upon us and I leave for a week in Florida on Friday. March is historically that month that comes on the heels of February which is, in its turn, the month that is usually the saddest of the year. You've usually failed in your "resolutions" and if you're single, the fact is complicated by wondering, if you had continued in last year's resolutions, would you still be single this Valentine's Day? Thank heavens my month was quite pleasant and none of those hideous feelings had much of a chance amid lots of work and traveling. Still, March is a good time for cranking up your routine - whether that's working out, eating well, or getting more sleep. Here are my five favorite tips for feeling great about life in general:
1.) Create Something - art, journaling, cooking, music. Any or all of these things are fantastic stress-relievers. It's hard to feel tense when you're creating. Plus, when you're finished, you have something beautiful. And even if it's not beautiful, you've released tension and calmed your heart and mind. I love painting for this reason - my world funnels into just what's there in front of me on the paper and I get to play with free-spirited colors.
2.) Eat Well & Whole - this should go without saying, but get your fruits and veggies in. This helps with everything from digestion to weight to moods and your complexion. Eat plenty of proteins too, and never skip breakfast. Unless there are specific health reasons, I'm quite anti-diet. I believe that one should eat as much produce as possible, get in plenty of healthy fats and proteins, skip out on an over-load of carbs and sugars, and avoid processed foods. What I do admit into my diet is the occasional ice cream or cupcake. And by occasional, I mean a weekly treat. I drink my tea and coffee unsweetened. I skip desserts I don't absolutely adore. And by avoiding such things that I don't totally love, I open up plenty of fair opportunities to have a treat. I think it's sad when people are always talking about how they can't eat this or that because it'll make them fat. One grilled blueberry muffin at a new coffee house isn't going to kill you. Constantly depriving yourself will, however, make you sad. Drink lots of water and moisturize your face morning and night (my favorite new trick).
3.) Be Active - I am the first to say that I don't enjoy working out, as such. I don't like it when it gets hard, and if it isn't hard, it isn't really working out. But (until my sprain) I incorporated a morning routine of squats, various crunches, leg-lifts, girl-pushups, etc. and I have to admit that it feels good. It feels good to get out for a walk when possible, or to have a dance-party with friends or sisters. It feels good to ride a bike (I miss this) or partially exhaust yourself in some other physical way. I still, however, refuse to take up jogging.
4.) Get Sleep - Bedtime for me used to come at midnight or after, and I would sleep in till nine. Then I became a working woman and all that went down the drain. I'm now in bed by ten-thirty most nights and awake by six-thirty in the morning. I leave two hours for myself before leaving for work in the morning. I realize that's a generous allotment, but along with getting sleep, prepping for the day is one way to minimize exhaustion, for me. I like to have time for a leisurely shower, proper makeup application, fixing breakfast and tea, and having quiet time. I like being able to read a book if I want to, or reply to an email. I like being fully awake by the time I pull into work. Trust me, this works.
5.) Give Hugs - Yeah, some people aren't huggers, but did you know its scientifically proven that humans need eight to ten hugs a day to thrive. There are so many reasons behind this - chemical reasons, so all you downers can just put away your psychology books and trust science. Giving and receiving hugs can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and release social-bonding hormones. Also, everyone knows (or should know) that isolation breeds desolation. We need community and hugs help create that. It's amazing. Plus, I keep a running tab on the best huggers I know. A skinny law-student friend is currently one of the best. A proper hug is intentional without being creepy. You have to commit or it's creepy. Believe me. I publicly identify creepy huggers.
What small things keep you feeling great? Share them below so the rest of us can benefit!
Also, I'm going to be that politically incorrect friend who reminds you to go vote in the presidential primary today! Polling station locations can be found here!