Winter time… it’s so easy to fall into the cosy trap of hibernation when the wind is howling, the rain pouring and the temperature plummets.. but we so often neglect the simple things that we take for granted in the summer months, and wonder why we feel flat halfway through the coldest part of the year.
So here’s 10 things you can do that will feed your soul and help you feel shiny and bright again:
1. Breathe: I often joke that ‘breathing is one of my favourite things, and I try to do it every day’ – but have you noticed how you are breathing? Chances are if you’re feeling a little stressed, tired, or just generally under the weather your breath will be shallow and in the top of your chest.
So now just for a few minutes: stop, take slow, deep nourishing breaths down into your stomach.. do this for even 5 minutes a day and your mind will feel clearer, you will feel calmer and everything will be a little easier. Breath nourishes you, so make sure you bring your attention to this and you will be deliciously surprised at how you feel.
2. Drink plenty of water: this is easier in summer because the heat encourages us to hydrate – but your body doesn’t stop needing water in winter. There are two great ways to ensure that you are hydrating in winter, first – start your day with a room temperature glass of water, with half a lemon. (room temp is best, because otherwise its a shock to your digestive system.) The lemon is refreshing, and contains natural enzymes, antioxidants and vitamins to start your day right. Secondly: keep a bottle of water on your desk or near your workspace and work through this during the day. (tip: you can set a reminder in your calendar or phone each hour to remind you to drink water – I use a fitbit and they have a great silent vibrating alarm)
3. Cut down (or stop) the alcohol: this is a tough one when it’s a stormy night and you feel like curling up with a big glass of red wine.. but winter is probably one of the more easy times to do an alcohol detox than the summer months (less bbq’s and parties etc) When I do this, I start off with a week, then another week – and just see how long I can go. After about two weeks you will really notice a difference, feeing brighter, lighter – and surprisingly feeling less like reaching for the vino on auto-pilot.
4. Read a book: when was the last time you sat down and read a book, just for the sheer pleasure of it? Books take us away to a whole new world and the are a delicious way to nourish the mind. If you’re not a fiction fan, how about an auto-biography of someone you really admire? Or perhaps a self-help book on a topic you have been interested in for a while…?
5. Play some music: I’ve recently succumbed to the wonderful world of spotify.. and my musical universe has expanded again.. for around $12 a month you can listen to as many songs you like of any and all genres. You can quickly and easily create playlists that suit your mood. My three favourites are my “Latin Groove Mix” – “Dance Around The House Mix” and “Sing Along in the Shower Mix”. If you have a favourite CD, put this on and dance around your living room.. the music and the movement will get your endorphins going wild… sing and dance like no one is watching…
6. Move your body: one of the FIRST things to go in winter is exercise.. for some reason it just becomes easier to make up excuses not to get out and move your body, but it’s more important than ever to keep this up. Can you walk to work in the mornings? Take a walk during your lunch break? Not everyone is a gym bunny but your body will love you if you get moving! If you’re worried about wet and cold weather, invest in a shower proof jacket, a cap and a headband (or some earmuffs!) so you can brave the elements without catching a chill. (There are also lots of free apps to track your progress, or you can invest in a pedometer, fitbit or other wearable device that will track your progress and encourage you to keep moving…)
7. Take a bath: ok, not everyone has a bath – but you can recreate that feeling of bliss and relaxation with candles, your favourite music playing and a wonderful body wash even in the shower. If you do have a bath though: get amongst. Take your time. Put some bubbles in there. Make a bubble mohawk. Go crazy. Then take the time to moisturise yourself with your favourite lotions from top to toe – it’s too easy to skip this in winter as we hide our bods away! Take the time, nourish your skin, and bask in the resulting glow.
8. Nourish yourself from the inside out with fab food choices: if in doubt, always eat seasonal! Seasonal produce isn’t treated with the same chemicals for long distance travel and transport as fresh local produce. (If you want to know which foods contain the most/ and the least chemicals, you can get a free .pdf guide here) as tempting as it is to revert to comfort food in the chilly months, aim for a diet rich in seasonal veg and you will feel cleaner, and more energised. NB: Juicing isn’t just a summer thing! Some of the best fruit/ veg for juicing grows well in winter (i.e. beetroot) and this is a great way to ensure you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals that your winter body craves.
9. Try something new: have you always wanted to try rock climbing? Learn to knit? Wanted to learn the secrets to fabulous french cuisine – but just been too nervous to try? There is no time like winter to pick up a class or start a new hobby. If you want to learn how to paint with watercolours, or to make jewellery and you don’t want to leave the house – order supplies online, and do some serious youtube research to get you on your way. You’ll be warm, dry, learning something new and adding to your repertoire of mad skills in no time at all.
10. Plan a holiday: whether you want to hire a house by a beach and take a winter escape filled with stormy beach walks, pop over to Waiheke Island for a weekend of vineyards and feasting, to Queenstown for snowboarding and skiing – or even if you want to leave the cold and wet behind you and jet off to a tropical island for 5 days, winter is a GREAT time to stop, relax and breathe. Because we go for so long without public holidays/ bank holidays over winter its really important that you schedule some down time to recharge your batteries in your favourite way possible.
So don’t let yourself fall into a rut.. any one of the above suggestions will give you the fabulous wee boost you didn’t even realise you needed. Nourish your soul and be kind to yourself no matter what time of year and you will find yourself sparkling in the winter darkness.