So it's that time of year again when I find myself ducking out of social activities and dusting off my little bear-suit for the hibernation season. Winter is back and don’t we know it. Winter can be a time of warm drinks, hot soups and cozy pajamas, open fires and Fair Isle knitwear. OR it can be a time of dark depression, seeing absolutely NO ONE and getting lost in every season of every show that HBO have ever programmed.
This year I've vowed to take an active part in winter and to embrace everything that this season has to offer.
Here are my top tips on how to get through the bleakest of seasons and to not succumb to the winter blues...
1. Hatch Plans
As we withdraw from the outside world it's the perfect time to go within and formulate ideas and hatch plans for the next chapter. Use this hibernation time to think about what you would like achieve in the coming year and plant the seeds for projects that you would like to kick start in the Spring. Using this insular space in this way not only keeps the cogs turning but also gives you something to work towards and get excited about.
Winter can be an incredibly creative time, all of the energy we're not using up in the outside world can be channeled into our creative projects. Haven't quite got round to finishing that screenplay you started? How about that album you've been planning on recording? Now is the perfect time to complete all of those projects that you just never got round to finishing. Put 'work' aside and do something for YOU. Create something for the love of it and discover how uplifting a process this can be.
3. Stay Active
It's important to keep up with cardiovascular activity in the winter months to stay healthy and warm. Wrap up and go for a brisk walk. Head to the nearest swimming pool for a swim and finish off with a steam room/sauna which is a great way to release some of those winter toxins. If you are feeling daring, head to a lido, an outdoor winter swim can be very invigorating and give you a real boost. Take up a yoga class and give your organs an inner massage, show your body that you care.
4. Eat seasonal warm nourishing foods
Fill your plate with nourishing seasonal root veg and greens. Sweet potatoes, squash, beetroot, turnips, kale and cabbages are all bountiful this season so make the most of these delicious veggies and rack up some yummy meals. Use warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, these spices actually support both intestinal and respiratory health so are perfect for boosting immunity in these cold times.
5. Opt for extra layers over central heating
Central heating is obviously incredibly important in winter but overuse can lead to dry skin, chapped lips, headaches, dry coughs and dehydration. Opting for an extra jumper or a pair of slippers can make all the difference and you might find not having to crank up the heating so much saves you a little on your heating bill.
6. Focus on the positives
Winter can be a bleak time but try to focus on all of the good things that come with this time of year and embrace the season. Think about all of the 'me' time you're going to get now you don't HAVE to go out all the time, it's the perfect excuse to be selfish. Be good to yourself, have plentiful hot baths with uplifting essential oils (bergamot and geranium are two of my faves), enjoy hot drinks, make nourishing soups, read soul nourishing books and give some time back to yourself.
7. Get some sun
Vitamin D levels can drop in the winter as the days are so short. This mood improving vitamin is needed even more at this time so make extra effort to spend time outside especially on sunny days. Sit by the window in cafes, on buses and keep your curtains open. Go outside within two hours of waking up and get the circulation moving. If you really can't stand the cold then take a trip somewhere hot, even the shortest trip can break up the winter drone.
View winter as time for renewal and reflection. Slow down, go to a relaxing yoga/meditation class and journey to the silence within, many answers and solutions can be found there.
9. See your friends
When you’re done with the ‘me time’ get out and see your friends. It’s easy to stay house bound but your friends will put a smile on your face and you can support each other through the cold month’s brrrrr.
10. Watch stuff
If all else fails just make sure you've got enough box sets and films to see you through. To keep the spirits high I recommend a dose of Modern Family, Arrested Development or just about anything with Will Ferrell in it, if this is the only advice you take from this post then you'll be juuuuust fine.
A happy, restful and reflective winter to you all : )
Photo Jaro Larnos