I do hope you found last month’s spring focus helpful? I’m delighted to say that Lucy Thompson our well being expert here at Love French Style Blog is back again, taking us into May with some fantastic advice on reconnecting with ourselves and our surroundings.
While we may still be limited in movements with some restrictions still being in place at the time of writing – outside your windows and in our gardens there’s a whole lot of activity going on in nature at the moment, take the time to appreciate how amazing your surroundings are…when was the last time you stopped and appreciated how nice the smell of freshly cut grass is or how the spring bulbs are such fresh pastel colours, so hopeful and new for this season. Over to you Lucy for some thoughts for this month…..
While we have been restricted in so much of our normal lives, nature has been quietly carrying on doing her thing beautifully. At this time, perhaps we should be looking to nature for inspiration? Shedding our winter skins and getting out there!
“Nourishment is always at the heart of any self-care, it’s so important to take care of your body as it is such a clever organism.”
Being mindful can be practical too, it isn’t just about quiet meditation but a general self awareness and realisation of our own thoughts and actions and how we are connected to each other and to the planet. It’s quite a thoughtful time with a sense of burgeoning energy and excitement for things to come – let’s make sure they are the right things…..
So May is nearly here and we can almost taste summer – but we also on the cusp of coming out of our various kinds of confinements – here in France – we are pinning many of our hopes and dreams on some kind of ‘normal’ summer again, where we can travel, go to the beach, share suppers with friends, and a drink at a bar! An actual bar! I make this point – not to look back over last winter, which was challenging for us all in so many different ways – but to remind us all that the time for living small has come to an end. Is it now time to wake up and smell the roses?
No more small talk – we’re going large!
So what is living small – well we can start by consciously bringing some attention to how many of us have gotten stuck in our ways – we’ve been forced to adapt to our smaller, very local lives, our restricted circumstances; we’ve spent more time in doors, very little time socialising and well – not being able to venture much further than our local supermarket. How has your world shrunk – what do you miss the most – what are you aching to do as soon as you can – that you will never take for granted again? Turning the negatives/ the restrictions from this past year into positives to understand what we want more of in our lives going forward is a good way of framing the past – taking the positives with us as we adapt and grow.
The key now is that once life begins to open up again – we are able to comfortably and safety start living a little larger again! Not returning to normal – but shaping a better future for ourselves – ditching things that no longer serve us and developing better more productive habits that will bring us more joy. Who doesn’t want more joy in their life?
If the last year has taught us anything surely it’s to seize the day, take opportunities and windows when they are available and also to make our own opportunities for fun and connection, in line with who we truly are? And making sure we are in our best health to really enjoy life.
Be more you – a better you
I recently ran a workshop on being a more authentic self – looking at what masks we wear and roles we play in our lives and in society, how we present ourselves. And how by living out these roles, whether that be carer, mum, business person, provider or conversely dependent, whatever it is – we don’t often show our true selves or share our true natures, innate talents or wants and needs – there is nearly always a part of our trues selves hidden away. Often they are hidden as we don’t feel we have permission from those whose lives we share – to change the norm, to upset the applecart or we simply just feel we will never be approved of by family, friends or culture.
When we are young we often feel we are fully in charge of our destinies but for many people this child-like openness/ adaptability to the future becomes channeled in roles we play, parent, partner, provider etc. Another reason in which we feel unable to step into largeness is by holding on to the past, especially a limiting past which we’ve all just experienced, and allowing old wounds and circumstances to dominate our present and future. So now on the edge of summer – let’s make a promise to ditch the past and move into living large – we don’t need permission to live with inner authority, awareness and boldness.
Over winter I have been going through my own transformation – thinking about who I am and what I offer, practicing what I preach, and the time has come to be bold and to show up for myself, more of that next month.
The take-home message is that you have to do the work yourself – I cannot determine for you what brings you joy and what you’d like more of in your life, recognising redundant roles you have played in the past, but I can tell you about how good movement is and how it can really help you connect with a whole you – and pertinently, how it can really help to shift you out of a winter funk – lifting mind body and spirit – shifting your own energies for a better year ahead:-
Firstly we know that spending hour after hour sitting down isn’t good for us, but just how much exercise is needed to counteract the negative health impact of a day at a desk? A new study suggests about 30-40 minutes per day of building up a sweat should do it. Think about it – are you doing anywhere near that amount? Probably not – but you are not alone…..so have a think about how you can up your game!
When we exercise, even for a few minutes, hundreds of molecules related to our metabolic health rise and fall in our bloodstreams. Research continues into a better understanding of exercise’omics’ but it’s awesome to think that with just 10 minutes of exhaustive exercise a day there’s a positive shake-up going on in the body! So get off that butt and get moving!
Here are the links:
How can physical activity help my mental health?
There are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health. For example, it can help with:
Better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
Happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and
give you more energy
Managing stress and anxiety intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
Better self esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
Reducing the risk of depression studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
Connecting with people – doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people, and make new friends.
A final word
Baby steps and little rewards along the way – goes a long way to creating success – you don’t need to go hell for leather – start small – start simple and adjust along your journey and you’ll be good to go.
Over summer – I hope to be running more workshops in some form or another on ‘finding your authentic self’ – again more of this next month so stay tuned. And in the meantime if you have any questions/ queries/ comments please do get in touch:-
Thank you once again Lucy, amazing advice as always and so much to think about. I hope you enjoyed reading and do share your thoughts with us below. X