Get yourself prepped for a fabulous spring with our guide to maximising the final
weeks of winter.
As winter lingers on, it’s easy for motivation levels to dip. We’re big fans of some soul-soothing hibernation though, and sometimes holing up with a pile of blankets and your favourite feelgood movie is exactly what you need!
But February is also an ideal time to sow the seeds for a fabulous spring – and we’ve found six fun ways to do exactly that. Mark these activities on your calendar right now…
Hold an Imbolc ceremony
In ancient Celtic and Pagan calendars, February starts with Imbolc. ‘A ritual at this time helps you shake off winter and start moving forwards,’ explains Kirsty Gallagher, whose new book Lunar Living: Working with the Magic of the Moon (£14.99, Yellow Kite), is published on April 2. ‘Imbolc is associated with Brigid, goddess
of fire. It was traditional at Imbolc to light every lamp in the house at sunset.’
‘In the evening, take some time to write down what you’ve learned over winter. What are you most grateful for? What’s been your greatest lesson? Declare your readiness to begin to move into spring. Write a list of the seeds you are planting for the new season; all the things you’d like to see grow in your life,’ says Kirsty.
‘When you are ready, light your candle to welcome the light back in, symbolically feel yourself move out of hibernation and take that first step towards spring.’
Tune in to the moon
Full moon ceremonies have surged in popularity, and Kirsty suggests using the Leo full moon on February 9 to give your spring intentions an extra boost.
‘This is a wonderful follow-on from Imbolc, as the Leo moon also brings in fire to move things along and reawaken your passions and desires,’ says Kirsty.
‘A releasing ritual is a powerful ceremony to hold on a full moon. Write down all that prevents you from fully opening your heart, following your wishes and dreams and living up to your full potential. Write all the doubts, fears and stories that stand in your way, and ask the power of the Leo full moon to help you to release it all.’
‘When you are ready to let it go, burn the paper and feel as though all these doubts and fears are going up in flames and being carried away.’
Show yourself some love!
Whether happily partnered or flying solo, self-love is key. ‘Without self-love, we can’t create the conditions we need to thrive. You are your single most valuable asset, because absolutely everything you want to create in this life starts with you. When you start treating yourself with love, not only do your thoughts, words and actions change but so does how the world responds to you,’ says Alice Carder, a self-evolution coach and EFT practitioner (alicecarder.com).
So this Valentine’s Day, introduce some new self-love habits. Alice recommends weaving in this simple practice – it’s especially useful if you’re feeling out of sorts or have
a decision to make.
‘Place your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself: ‘What do I need in this moment?’ Then wait for the answer. You might be surprised by what comes up and part of you will probably want to ignore it at times, but when you start doing this (and honouring the answer), your relationship with yourself becomes stronger and your world begins to transform around you.’
Brr-ing on the yoga!
Did you know cold yoga is catching on as a new trend? A chilly February morning is the perfect time to give it a go too – just grab your mat and head into the garden or a local park.
‘This will really get you energised. The fresh air and cold will activate your circulation, you’ll notice enhanced focus, and exposing your body to the cold is said to release endorphins too,’ says Sapphire Brown, a breath work and yoga instructor.
‘Doing any exercise in the cold can boost its benefits as your body will be working extra hard to keep warm.
‘Taking it outdoors where your feet are in connection with the ground helps you feel mentally grounded too,’ she adds.
Warm up gently first, as the cold can make your muscles and joints stiffer. ‘I would do a few cat/cow movements (gently arching then flexing the back while on all fours), along with a few simple sun salutations,’ says Sapphire.
Next, try some plank poses, holding for five breaths each. Then, a boat pose is a great way to challenge the core. Sitting in the middle of your mat, bend your knees and place your hands behind them, then tip your weight back until you’re in a V position. If you can, try extending your arms so they’re parallel to the floor, and drawing your navel towards your spine and straightening your legs. You can then do any postures and poses you like, really. Some high lunges, followed by chair pose and a challenging eagle pose to finish would make a great, well-rounded routine.’
Breathe new life from within
More people are embracing the power of breathing exercises. In fact, 2019 saw a whopping 219 per cent increase in Google searches for breathing apps. But it’s not just stress and anxiety that it can help with – try using your lungs for an invigorating boost. Here is a simple exercise you can do at home. Sapphire calls it ‘shaking it out!’
‘I like to choose strong, upbeat drumming music for this. Keeping my eyes closed, I get myself into a deep shake, allowing my whole body to move. During the movement, I draw attention to the ‘in and out’ breath through my nose.
I encourage the inhales and exhales to be powerful and, whenever needed, I open
my mouth to exhale, adding noise for that extra release,’ she explains.
‘Try it for 7-10 minutes. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll
be buzzing with energy and totally uplifted!’
Take a leap!
It’s a leap year, so we have an extra day – ideal for thinking about any ‘leaps’ you’d like to make. Whether it’s a career change, or simply finding new passions, ‘creating space to reflect on where we’re at and tune into what we really want is the first step to creating intentional change,’ says Alice.
‘Take some time to list the different areas of your life, from friends, family and romance, to work, spirituality, personal development and joy. Aim for 8-10 areas that feel important to you,’ Alice suggests. ‘Then rate each area for how satisfied you are with it, 0 being the least satisfied and 10 being the most. Go with your gut. This is a simple exercise that can show where you’re happiest and where there’s work to be done.’ Once you’ve done that, focus on why these changes are important to you. This helps give your goals deeper personal meaning, thereby fuelling your motivation to pursue them.