What is this strange light we see before us – some kind of otherworldly miracle? Oh no, wait: it’s the sun. Slowly, so slowly you might have missed it, the evenings are getting longer and the days are getting brighter. Summer is coming, whether you’re ready or not. But don’t panic because here are five tips to get you feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (we’ve never understood what that means) in time for the glorious re-awakening of that strange yellow blob in the sky.
A 2012 survey by mental health charity Mind found that 94% of people found that ‘green exercise’ improved their sense of wellbeing. Fresh air, unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells stimulate your senses and get you out of your head. Cycle or walk home from work, saunter round a park with your mates, take a detour round the block at lunch. Whatever you do, do it outside.
The sun is a natural mood booster, but why not help it along by eating things that improve how you feel emotionally? Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which increase levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’. Yoghurt contains calcium which studies have found can improve your mood, and walnuts contain magnesium which regulates blood sugar levels, helps you to sleep, boosts your metabolism and enhances circulation.
A weighty subject
It’s been reported that many women avoid working out with weights because they (wrongly) assume pumping iron will bulk them up. This isn’t true. Weights are one of the simplest and most effective ways to tone up and slim down. Invest in a pair of 2.5kg dumbbells and do 30 ‘curls’ a day (simply pull the weights towards your chest from a starting position of your arms by your sides). If you don’t want to buy dumbbells, tins of beans are a good starting point.
Fabulous skin is just a strawberry away
If you’re anything like us, your skin has just spent four months under cakey no-one-cares-in-winter make-up. Well, no longer. Your skin cells regenerate when you sleep and for it to do this properly you need to eat a bunch of nutrients. Betacarotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, is an antioxidant and will help even out skintone, while vitamin C in strawberries, oranges and broccoli produces collagen to keep skin supple and to bolster your immune system, helping blemishes heal quickly.
Dare to bare
Ditch the razors and grab an epilator instead. Epilation not only gets rid of all unwanted hairs, but gradually weakens the follicles so the hairs grow back thinner and slower. The Remington EP7030 Smooth and Silky 5 in 1 Cordless Epilator is quick and efficient, pulling hairs out from the root so you can say goodbye to unwanted stubble. Available from boots.com.