Easter holidays are at our back and a new season of challenges and opportunities is right in front of us.
If you do not feel thrilled by it but rather concerned, you may need to have a short stop and find ways to recharge your inner batteries.
How can you do it?
It’s easy: just pick up one of our 5 easy suggestions.
And if you feel you really need to turn your attitude to life upside down go for the full five set and be ready to overcome some personal obstacles.


1. EXERCISE: the Romans know it all

Romans said “mens sana in corpora sano” (healthy mind in a healthy body) and they knew well what they were talking about.
Though most of us give up a serious exercise activity because we are too tired at the end of a working day or think we cannot cut a spare hour a week, the benefits of it are countless and can really change our life.
Aerobic activities like 3o min walk at a fast pace or again 30 min swimming increase our level of serotonin. Serotonin? What is it?
Someone call it the “good humor hormon”, others, more specifically, will inform you the serotonin is the neurotransmitter determining the correct working of our digestion system and of our nervous system, controlling and balancing the rhythm of our sleep, hunger stimulus and even the memory mechanism.
Now, if you still think you
1. Do not have enough time
2. Feel too tired
3. Feel the wish to start tomorrow or next week
4. Feel you cannot say “no” to others’ requests (family, friends, etc) to exercise
Try something different
Respect your exercise commitment as a way to respect yourself and others will start do the same.
If you are determined enough to respect your weekly commitment with physical workout for a whole month (and it means just four work out sessions, not more) it will become such a healthy and wellbeing habit you will long for.
No one will need to force you into and you will no more need to make an effort to start your running or fast walking session: you will almost wait passionately for every session and you will realize how easier is to cope with everyday tasks and your general attitude towards life will benefit from your physical activity.

The real difficulty lies in taking the commitment for one month, 30 days, 30 min/1 hour a week, but are we really sure we cannot do it?
Is our willing strength so low?


2. SALADS: junk food and fats stay away

Replace three dinner menus with three healthy salads. Are you thinking of sad, plain green salads? Wrong.
Try one of the many bio, vegan and salad bars spreading everywhere and let the staff help you find out your salads. Salads can be as tasty and colorful as Italian pasta or French macarons.
Just do not go with the conventional salad you are used to and allow yourself time to go through the salad lists or the staff proposals. Take time, breath and let your imagination and your instinct drive you.
Or be even braver and go to the grocery shop and pick the freshest and most colorful veg and fruits. Go home, wash all and create your own salad. Again let your instinct and your creativity lead you.

Instructions: look for fancy recipes anywhere
Try this one from the creative young cook artist Maria Kore Veronica from Sicily, Italy.
Mix some salad leaves (choose at least 2 different salad qualities like tender spring spinach leaves, rocket salad, curly salad or wild lettuce) in a plain dish. Add some dried tomatoes.
Cover some sword fish cubes with dried bread and pistachio crumbs.
Roast them for a couple of minutes, even less. Place them in the centre of the salad and dress with some balsamic vinegar and oil.
The salad and the tomatoes will provide you with a full supply of vitamins and the fish will provide healthy proteins.


3. INFUSIONS AND TEAS: a special moment to yourself

Water is vital for all living creatures, no one can deny it: you can live up to fourteen days with no food but this limit falls to three days when eliminating water.
Most health specialists, nutritionists, physicians, sports trainers will exhort you to “drink, drink, drink at least 1 ½ to 2 liters a day”.
And though water represents a relevant portion of our food, many of us still fail in drinking at least 1 ½ l a day: too busy with daily tasks, not feeling the thirst stimulus, bored by the taste of plain water.
Let’s try to turn this vital requirement into a special moment of self indulgence:

• Pick up your favorite fruit infusion or tea (for greedy ones, you can now find chocolate and vanilla flavors as well)
• Choose a different mug or even your precious delicate china if you are at home
• Sit in a quiet corner
• Go through an article on the daily news (even gossip magazine can do)
• Turn on the radio or your favorite CD
• Allow yourself between two and five minute pause and sip your infusion

Instructions: repeat at least three times a day and it will become a “must” in the frenzy of every day.


4. CREATIVE EXCURSIONS: a plunge into our real desires

As per the writer Sarah Ban Breathnach definition the “creative excursions” are “regular solo rendezvous with your authentic self”.
What is it all about?
Just allow yourself a couple of hours each month (let’s start it easy) and do something you really like and you never find enough time:

• A massage
• Having your nails painted in a crazy color (jungle red as in “All about Eve ” movie)
• Read a novel by Agatha Christie with no interruption while sipping tea
• Order an ice cream at an ice cream bar with a dehors and basking in the full sun while admiring the buzz of life surrounding you
• Window-shopping in one of the most expensive area of your city with no real intention to buy anything
• Whatever awakes your guilty senses at the very thought of it

This time on your own can no longer be postponed if you wish to go for a new start and experience a full sense of yourself and your talents.

Instructions: start with a couple of hours for you once a month.
Do not plan this time off to make up for work you did not do or work tomorrow tasks ahead: tame your senses of guilty and bravely cherish these little “law breaches”.


5. PLAN YOUR “NURTURING ADVENTURES”: planning has never been so cool

You are certainly busy with everyday activities requesting your full attention and energy and you are very likely to reach a moment when you feel you have nothing more to give and to share.
You have just two alternatives in front of you:
a. accept your inner source is getting dry or has already gone dry and you need to go to someone else’s source to get water and inspiration.
You basically redefine your role to that of a very professional and good executor but nothing more.
b. you rebel against this dryness, stop your run and meditate on what you can do about it: you need to clear up your mind and soul from all the obstacles and wrong turning points and let your inner force and instinct recover strength and audacity.
Allow you to think out of the box and even think as if the box do not exist at all.
Do you find it difficult to take time and stop the daily flow of tasks?
Plan a “nurturing adventure”, then.
It can be a couple of days off for a yoga seminar or for a creative writing course or even a cooking class at week ends.
Do not say you do not have enough time or you are not meaning to write the novel of your life or submit for the next edition of “Masterchef”.
You are simply afraid of devoting time to you as you are feeling it is some way too frivolous and too self indulgent.
Yet it is self indulgent and it is exactly what you need to go for: some space for yourself or as Virginia Woolf once said “A room of your own”

Bach flowers and zodiac at Eco Village Torri Superiori near Imperia (Liguria)

Creative writing courses, quigong seminars and more at Casa di Paglia Felce Rossa near Catania (Sicily)

Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →

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