February is the month of romance, but between holiday hangovers and short dark days it takes creativity to keep energy levels and spirits up in winter’s coldest month. For romantics focused on Valentine’s, days infused with roses and chocolates might work. For the rest of us, time strapped and already de-motivated by New Year’s resolutions, here are some quick and realistic suggestions for wellness, to re-calibrate and tune up our winter mood in minutes.
Only got 3 minutes to de-stress? Take three deep breaths and totally focus on slowly exhaling, sit up straight and stretch- both will help relax mind and body and ease winter blues.
5 minutes: Enjoy a knee slapper- Tune into U-tube and watch funny dog videos and create beneficial short term physical changes according to Mayo Clinic. A good laugh increases blood flow and releases endorphins which ups our spirits. And according to a Stamford University article, laughter also increases dopamine in our brains which elevates mood. Prefer the 3 Stooges?- fine - as long as you get the giggles in.
30 minutes: Go Forest Bathing – Ok, it may be the trendy, new age term for a walk in the woods but it does have a positive impact on wellness and moods, and there’s actually science behind it. ‘Shinrin-yoku’ or Forest Bathing isn’t a quick jog focused on your fitness tracker- It is a leisurely stroll totally concentrated on your natural surroundings. Started in Japan in the 1990’s as stress reduction therapy, two studies credited inhaling tree compounds such as cedar and contact with nature with blood pressure and stress hormone reductions for a feeling of well being. So try a stroll through Robinson Woods, or around Great Pond this winter and recalibrate!
60 minutes: Walk in, Float out: Turn off your phone and unplug both mentally and physically with wellness SPA therapies from holistic facials to full body massage with a friend- or book a service designed just for you. Detox, destress and exfoliate to look and feel your best mid winter.
An indulgent couple’s therapeutic massage and soak at SPA at Inn by the Sea is both relaxing and romantic and sure to rid you of winter’s chill. If on your own, treat yourself to an hour of complete tranquility, customize an aromatic Zents treatment and create your own signature experience. Leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and all around terrific.
Cut the carbs! Craving carbs? Just say no and go for healthy alternatives that won’t leave you in the doldrums or feeling tired. Warming vegetable soups, fruit, salads and simple proteins are best…but a bit of chocolate also warms your disposition!
Get out! Holidays are fun but even the healthiest people suffer from seasonal excesses and then retreat into hibernation mode mid winter. Go for a walk on Crescent Beach or Fort Williams Park with a pal, or take Fido along for company. Exercise, fresh air and sunlight are the best and surest way to boost energy and elevate your frame of mind.
Bobbie Arsenault is SPA Director at Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth. The public is welcome 7 days a week all year. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 207.799.3134.