*This blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Tetley Cold Infusions*
I find it much easier to look after myself during the summer months: the days are longer and brighter, vitamin D is in abundance and the warmer weather usually means I pay more attention to staying hydrated and eating well. As the weather gets colder and the days shorter and darker it’s all I can do not to hibernate. Really, these are the days when I ought to be giving myself the highest dose of TLC, but usually I forget and by mid-November I can be found swaddled under layers of chunky knitwear, struggling to get out of bed in the morning and yearning for the feeling of sun on my skin. Winter has its perks, namely Christmas, but the impact on my body of late nights, broken routine, alcohol at every turn and chocolate for breakfast takes its toll too.
This year I’m trying to form achievable habits earlier on in the season in the hope that in the deepest depths of Winter I make healthier decisions and ultimately take better care of myself –
1. Stay hydrated
During the Summer I find it really easy to drink lots because the weather is warm, but over Winter everything seems to ‘dry up’, so to speak. I know my fluid intake is often far too low and dehydration often takes the form of fatigue. I’m far more likely to reach for a flavoured or fizzy drink instead of a bottle of water so the Tetley Cold Infusions are a great compromise.
They’re fruity, herbal infusers designed specifically to brew in cold water and come in four refreshing flavours – my favourite is the passion fruit and mango but the mint, lemon and cucumber comes in close second. Keep a few in your bag, refill a reusable bottle (think of the planet! – Tetley’s Cold Infusion Starter Kit includes a great one) and then just pop in a Cold Infusion, give it a shake and let it infuse. They’re caffeine free and don’t have any sugar or artificial flavourings so you won’t get a post-sugar slump a few hours later either!
I’m aiming for at least 3 litres a day and carrying a bottle with me really helps me to achieve that.
2. Carry antibacterial hand gel
Coughs, sneezes and colds galore. I hate the inevitability of winter illness, especially travelling around London and watching everyone sniffling away on the underground. Washing your hands regularly or using anti-bac hand gel is a good start at warding the germs away!
3. Get enough sleep
Listen to your body; I know I need more rest during the winter and yet with Christmas parties and events round every corner I often end up overtired and under rested. Try and set an achievable bed time and wake up time that gives you enough hours in bed and gets your body used to getting up each morning, regardless of the dark and gloomy mornings.
4. Manage your time
At this time of year our social calendars tend to go into meltdown mode and it’s really hard to say no to the promise of a celebration, drinks after work and festive fun. These engagements usually come alongside a lot of alcohol, indulgent food and late nights. There’s no need to miss out or deny yourself but be mindful of the impact on your body and your subsequent wellness. My personal goal is to ensure I’m not drinking too much alcohol by accepting it at silly times of the day – last year even shops were handing out prosecco as I did my gift buying and whilst the temptation is all too real, I know it doesn’t do me any favours. The pressures of the festive season tend not to just be physical, but mental too as we often forget to take time out for ourselves.
5. Keep exercising and spend plenty of time outside
It’s harder than ever to stay motivated during the winter and I’m far more likely to want to rush home and snuggle up than I am to head to the gym and sweat it out. If you can stick to your usual routine then it’ll really benefit both your mind and body. Classes are really helpful for encouraging yourself if you’re struggling to go it alone. Regardless, just keep moving. Spend as much time outdoors during daylight hours rather than inside being sapped of energy by artificial heat and lighting and make the most of the limited vitamin d. It could be as simple as choosing to walk rather than take the bus or going for a 15 minute stroll at lunch time with a great playlist plugged in!
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Photography: Sarah Ellen Photography