It’s the time of year when most of us would quite happily hibernate. It’s cold and wet, the days are short and dark, and coughs and colds spread like wildfire. I find myself getting tired more easily, and motivation for pretty much everything is severely lacking. Given half a chance I’d spend all day everyday under my duvet watching films with pizza and chocolate, and only leave the house when absolutely necessary.
HOWEVER that isn’t really an option. And nor should it be! Winter can be fun and beautiful for so many reasons, as long as we look after ourselves and prepare well for it. So in this post I’m sharing all the things that help me stay fresh and active and happy in the winter months.
1. Get AT LEAST 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. Important all year round, but if ever you need those vitamins, it’s now.
2. Stay active. I knowwwww, but it’s proven to boost both mood + immunity. Need I say more? Just go for a brisk walk now and then! It’s so pretty outside. At the very least…
3. …Get some fresh air! Make sure you see the light of day now and again; it’s such a great mood booster and important for maintaining levels of vitamin D. And even though it may seem counter intuitive in the cold weather, it’s actually also really important to open your windows now and again, to freshen the air, improve ventilation and drastically reduce the chance of catching each others’ colds from the constantly-recycled air.
4. Reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates (ie white bread, pasta, etc). It wreaks havoc on your immune system and ability to fight off disease. Instead, eat filling wholegrains like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat. You won’t get the same energy crash, either.
5. Get enough sleep! As close to 8 hours as you can manage. It’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason.
6. Spend time with people you love, doing things you enjoy! Sounds too simple and patronising to even include, but it’s just the easiest way of staying happy and taking your mind off how much you hate the cold.
7. Hydrate – drink plenty of water to counteract the drying out that your skin is likely to be suffering from cold winds and central heating; even more important if you have a cold.
8. Exfoliate. Important to get rid of all the dead, dry skin and improve circulation and blood flow, both on your face and the rest of your body. Homemade natural scrubs with salt, oils and oats are my favourite, and great for giving dull, dry skin a healthy winter glow.
9. Moisturise. I love natural essential oils like sweet almond oil, coconut oil and argan oil. I also have a small bottle of vitamin E oil. Add a few drops to your bath, or massage into your skin after a shower. This is perfect if you’re about to go to bed as you’ll wake up as soft and smooth as a baby. My feet in particular get really cracked and disgusting so smothering them in natural oils and putting on a big fluffy pair of socks before bed is really restorative for those tough dry areas.
10. Deep condition your hair. Again, I love natural oils here. Some, like argan oil, you can just leave in, whereas with coconut oil you can gently massage it into the end of your hair before bed and rinse it out in the morning.
11. Use homemade natural facemasks – a quick Google search will reveal tons of ideas for these. Personally I like mashing together a combination of banana, avocado, oats, lemon juice and coconut oil and leaving it on my face for an hour or so. My skin feels so clean, bright and soft afterwards. Yes, I look like a sick frog for an hour, but that’s one of the many advantages of being a single lady.
12. Add colour! In terms of make up, I like to make sure I’ve got a little healthy rosiness in my cheeks and colour on my lips, especially as I have such pale skin anyway; bluey purple is not an attractive lip colour. I love having pink or peachy nails, too, to add a little splash of colour to my super-white and frozen hands. I typically wear Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in Peach on my cheeks, Barry M 318 Peach Melba on my nails, and Bourjois Rouge Edition no.15 on my lips.
13. Stay warm! There is such a fantastic array of gorgeous knitwear available; Urban Outfitters, Missguided, H&M, New Look and Topshop are just some of my favourites. I also have multiple pairs of over-the-knee socks in various colours, berets and bobble hats. Winter is cold, but you don’t have to be.
14. Especially your feet… There is nothing more miserable than cold wet feet. Again, there are so many stylish AND practical options, any excuse for a new pair of shoes! I’m in love with my ASOS Chelsea Boots and M&S leather brown riding boots, both of which I bought this winter.
15. Don’t forget activewear! For bold, stylish winter running I love my Lorna Jane leggings and Peter Storm micro fleece. I am so much more motivated to get out there when I’m well wrapped up in warm, attractive gear.
16. Create a beautiful, cozy safe place. Whether it’s just one room, your whole house, your office space, whatever, you need a little area of homeliness and comfort that you can retreat to, curl up when it’s cold, and feel safe. Candles, fairy lights, posters, photos, and things that make you you make all the difference.
17. Take it easy when under the weather. It’s tempting to try and keep ploughing through but that will just put your body under more stress and make it far harder to recover, likely dragging out the illness. Plenty of rest is the quickest and more efficient way to heal.
18. Relax. I know, I hate it when people tell me that too. Like I have a choice, I hear you thinking. Life is hectic, yes, and you probably can’t do anything about that, but stretching out your body regularly and trying to keep a sense of perspective can help make sure that the stress doesn’t damage your body.
19. Wash your hands often. Just logical really! As a child I was always taught to wash my hands as soon as I came home from anywhere, and before every meal; now I do it without even thinking about it. I very rarely catch bugs.
20. Smile! There is beauty all around you, even if it is a rugged wintery kind. You have a home. You are loved. The sun is still shining, even if you can’t see it. You still breathe fresh air. And if you still aren’t convinced that winter can be exciting, it’s only two months more until spring. Keep your eyes out for the first crocuses and snowdrops to push through the cold earth. If those delicate little buds can make it, so can you.