7 Norfolk expert tips to help you through Blue Monday

by 24britishtvJan. 16, 2023, 9:20 a.m. 15
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1. Focus on bringing positive habits into your life

“It’s that time of year where, having overindulged in some of our less than healthy habits, we spend January self-flagellating and purging ourselves,” says Kerry Dolan of Wombservice.

“So, this year why not focus on bringing positive habits into your life and allow those negative habits to just drift away naturally?

“There are two types of motivation: ‘away from’ (something you don’t want) and ‘towards’ (something you do want.) ‘Away from’ motivation can provide a powerful kick-start but it tends to peter out.

“A person might look in the mirror and, upset by what they see, commit to losing weight, but as the pounds drop off, they look better and motivation wanes. There is no focus on a clear goal.

“If a big spider jumps out at you, which way will you jump? It doesn’t really matter, does it? You jump out of the way! ‘Away from’ motivation is directionless. It’s also quite stressful because it only works when you focus on all the unpleasant stuff.

“‘Towards’ motivation works by focusing on a clear and positive goal and, just like sat nav, no matter how many times you take a wrong turn (as you inevitably will), it will just recalibrate until you’re back on track. What’s more, as you get closer to your goal, you get more excited and more motivated.”

2. Take bitesze ‘wellness snacks’ during the day

“Don’t burn the ocean. I recently heard this phrase and I love it,” says Georgina Huggins of Norfolk Yoga Therapy.

“We all do it, get enthusiastic for a new thing, go in all fires blazing, then fizzle out within a week.

“My antidote to this is ‘wellness snacks’. Little bitesize chunks of exercise, meditation, conscious breathing, or whatever works for you throughout the day.

“It’s far easier to find a few minutes to sit down and focus on your breath than it is to roll out a yoga mat and do an hour-long practice.

“Habits are best formed when it fits with your life, so find markers in your day to remind you to take your snacks. For example, do some sun salutations or a meditation while the kettle boils, take a few mindful slow breaths every time you go to the loo, go up and down an extra time whenever you use the stairs or every time you lift something heavy do a few extra reps.

“Wellness snacks can be anything from physical exercise to mindful breathing or meditation, anything that helps you feel good. Whatever you choose to do take the time to notice how you feel and recognise the difference in yourself. Positively reinforce what’s happening and you’ll want to keep doing more.”

3. Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like

“It's more important and rewarding to be able to run/walk/swim/skip (you name it) when you want to, than it is to have six pack abs," says Tori Sadler of Waveney Flow Yoga.

“If your body can do what you're asking it to do, chances are, it's healthy. When you're able to explore the Broads, move more easily, and feel good in yourself, you're much more likely to continue exercising because the reward is greater.”

Make it fun: “Ever notice how the kitchen magically gets clean when there’s a worse chore to be done? It’s the same with fitness! If you don’t like it, or it feels like work, you probably won’t do it. Find a form of movement you like: dance, walk, do yoga, hula-hoop! Whatever it is – just have fun doing it!"

Find a community: "A community creates supportive relationships that will encourage healthy habits. You’ll gradually find the activity becomes more about the community, and less about exercise. In which case you know you’ve made it - this goal is a habit!

“It's easier to do than you think. Join a local walking club or running group. Find a beginner's cyclist community on Facebook or join us at Pub Yoga each week. It doesn't have to be the gym!"

4. Be kinder to yourself

“Our relationship with food can be a complex one at the best of times, and it’s particularly infused with a lot of guilt and shame at this time of year,” says Amy Woods of SoulShine Enterprise Norfolk.

“I want to tell you that it is possible to create a kinder way of being alive.

“Shifting our experience into one of nourishment and appreciation starts with embracing joyful movement and focusing on how your body feels and what it does for you instead of how it looks.

“For 10 minutes, enjoy any kind of movement (dancing, walking, stretching, etc.) Can you savour how good it feels to oxygenate your muscles? To deepen your breath?

“For another 10 minutes, write down or reflect on what your body has done for you and infuse it with gratitude, for example, ‘thank you feet for holding me and supporting me to dance my heart out!’

“The feeling of dancing around (or fill in the gap here with something you love to do), full of all those yummy feel-good hormones, gifting yourself that from a place of wanting to take care of yourself, with kindness - not punishing yourself for eating chocolate over the holidays - is a life-changing approach."

5. Get out of your comfort zone

“My advice for the new year is to find something that challenges you but is also fun,” says Tom Sutton of Sauna Box.

“We love nothing more than a winter sea swim, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. The important thing is to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy doing it.

“Over the years this has changed for me personally, whether it be running, cold dips, weight training or studying. The key is to be smiling at the end.

“There is a great term used in British mountaineering which is ‘type two fun’. This is when the actual activity itself is less fun (think sideways rain on a mountain peak and you haven't felt your feet for two days), but when you look back at it you think 'that was epic'.

“To handle the stresses of modern living it is critical to build resilience and finding something difficult to overcome is the perfect way to do it."

“Beginning a new year can feel exciting yet overwhelming,” says Shani Ben-Aroya of Shani Bella Coaching.

“The word ‘resolution’ seems so daunting and final. This year, I encourage you to flip the script and call in the feeling you desire in 2023, then create the small steps you are going to take. I like to choose a word and my word for 2023 is ‘expansion’ - which is handy seeing as I am a breathworker!”

Shani shares a simple breathing exercise you can do.

1. Carve out some space for you - no distractions.

2. Create the environment you’d like with candles, an essential oil diffuser, etc.

3. Put on some soothing music or just sit in silence to be able to hear yourself.

4. Take three deep belly breaths, in through the nose and sigh out through the mouth dropping your jaw to fully relax and exhale.

5. Drop into your body and feel its presence - ask yourself how you feel in this moment.

6. Visualise all the things you did in 2022 that made you joyful, proud and full of gratitude.

7. Now call upon the version of yourself that you want to express in 2023. What do they look like, move like, most importantly feel like.

8. Call upon the one word you’d like as your overarching feeling for 2023!

9. Visualise small steps that you can take that fill you with joy and desire that will bring you that feeling.

10. Take three more deep belly breaths, in through the nose and sigh out through the mouth for the exhale.

11. Grab your journal and pen and write/draw/doodle it down.

12. Refer back to that whenever you feel like you are misaligned or straying from your truth.

“The idea of resolutions can feel daunting and prescriptive, leaving little wiggle room and a feeling of failure if we don’t achieve our goals or fall off the wagon,” says Bene Gattarri of Bene Therapies.

“Instead of focusing on specific goals, an intention focuses on our mindset and day to day attitude.

“The Yogic concept of Santosha can be a useful mindset to adopt.

"Santosha is loosely translated to contentment, or satisfaction - a place of acceptance, gratitude, of being and having enough.

“It might feel like a contradiction, but we can be content and at peace with where we are and move forward at the same time.

“When we are grateful and happy with where we are, we are more likely to want to recreate those feelings, acting from a place of wanting good things for ourselves - because we know we can, and we deserve it.

“Positive change comes from a place of self-acceptance, not one of self-loathing. Perhaps, we could start our new year practicing self-compassion.”

Look out for more tips from Feel Good Norfolk coming soon. In the meantime, find more wellbeing tools and techniques at feelgoodnorfolk.co.uk

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