The Orange Grove Clinics Jackie Heffer-Cooke explains why she believes that Valentines Day isn’t all about the commercial stuff, but is actually good for our health….!
I like celebrations, and I believe in telling someone you love them. It feels nice to do something for others and generally if your partner smiles, then we smile too. So flowers, and chocolates, and a treat of a meal out – well why not! I like natural highs, and a boost of feel good hormones can do the world of good.
But, did you know that for the people of Norwich and Norfolk, we’re following our traditions and doing something that has its foundations rooted in local folklore? When asking someone about Valentine’s Day you will often hear something along the lines of, ‘American commercial rubbish’ and, well, maybe we can understand why. But every now and again in Norfolk you may hear ‘Valentines? Well, if you mean Jack Valentine…we’ve been doing that for years!’
So what is it and who is he?
On Valentines Eve, the enigmatic Jack Valentine, believed to have been popular in the early 20th century, would leave a gift, knock on your door, then simply disappear. It wasn’t all about romantic love either; you could leave a gift for your mum, your son, your neighbour, your friend.
How lovely! A fab surprise from someone who likes you and everyone is eligible – so nobody has to be left out on Valentine’s Day!
Today, in this new dawn of 2015, the NHS suggests – and we at The Orange Grove Clinic certainly agree – that there are five steps we can all take to help improve our mental wellbeing, and simply be happier:
- Be Active – yep, doing our best to walk up the stairs and not take the lift.
- Keep Learning –gives you a sense of achievement and new confidence. Defo.
And the next three…
- Connect – connect with the people around you: family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. Spend more time developing these relationships – i.e. do something nice…like leave them a small gift on their doorstep.
- Take Notice – Be aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Acts such as getting involved with your community, with charity, leaving small gifts on the doorsteps of others, can all change the way you feel about life and make you feel more positive.
- Give to others – yep that’s what it says – Give to others. Whether it’s a large gesture like volunteering, or a small act of kindness, like… leaving a gift on the doorstep of someone you love.
And so, to a small act of kindness…
A year ago my friend had a baby and in week two, like most mums, she found it exhilarating but tough. She didn’t really want to get out, or see people, she just wanted to get used to this new world, observe her baby, try and figure it all out, and stay in her PJ’s. I wondered what I could do to help, so I took her a ‘You Are A SuperPerson’ new mum package, with aromatherapy oils, some natural bath salts, some relaxation tea, a massage voucher and some stilton cheese and pate(!) in it (I wrapped the cheese well 😉 ). I knocked on her door, left it on her doorstep and did a runner. She says it was the best gift she could ever have had. And yep, I can also say I felt pretty good too.
So go on, do a Jack Valentine this year. If we can all be inspired by a little bit of you through our coming year, we may all just feel a little bit happier and even a little bit healthier. 🙂
Jackie Heffer-Cooke is a massage therapist, HypnoBirthing, YogaBubs Baby Yoga & YogaBumps Pregnancy Yoga Instructor, Co-Director of the Orange Grove Clinic and writer of The Inconsistent Earth Mother blog on the Orange Grove webiste.
To find out more about the Jack Valentine celebrations in Norwich you can visit the Norwich Lanes website here.