Winter – quite possibly the best and also worst time of the year. I always wonder how a season with so much anticipation and celebration is also the cause of so much misery. I feel like this post is pretty relevant not only because it’s just turned December, but the day I shot this I was feeling pretty Wintery (and not in a good way). The best way to cure a Winter mood without alcohol? An indoor jungle, of course.
Like a lot of people I find Winter days difficult. Winter to me feels like almost six months of perpetual darkness and claustrophobia and I spend the majority of the season longing for Spring to arrive.
This year though I thought I’d come out of hibernation and come up with ways to enjoy the season. I didn’t get far, but I’m hoping the following tips will make this Winter a *slightly more* positive one.
Enjoy the seasonal changes
Like all Brits I like nothing more than to sit around slagging off the weather. This year though, instead of moaning to my colleagues about how damn cold it is, I’m trying to appreciate the little seasonal changes I often overlook (usually due to perpetual wind and rain). Without sounding too much like my Grandad here, I’ve been trying to pay attention to the changes of the leaves and the crisp autumnal air, not always the easiest thing to do given I spend the majority of my day travelling around London in the dark, but I’m giving it a go regardless.
As much as I encourage a good Winter stroll, don’t forget that this is the perfect season to snuggle down under a mountain of duvets, or spend hours toasting crumpets over the fire. Make the most of being able to hibernate in your onesie without judgement.
Take part in indoor activities
You know all those things you wanted to do in the summer but refused to because you had no idea when Britain would ever see sun again? Well, now’s your chance. All those books that needs reading, all those seasons of Parks and Recreation that need watching, that time you said you’d learn Japanese… Well now’s the time! And with it being so cold outside it’s almost guaranteed your friends probably won’t be doing anything fun anyway, so you can wave FOMO goodbye.
If however spending your Winter hiding inside like a hermit crab isn’t your thing (God forbid), then there are plenty of Winter approved outdoor spaces in which to settle. If you thought Summer was the season of the rooftop hangout, think again! Adorably cosy hangouts are popping up all over London this month, from Harvey Nichols and Canada Goose’ outdoor cinema (complete with Canada Goose jackets and cashmere blankets), to the Queen of Hoxton’s Winter Wigwam there are plenty of ways to cosy up in the cold without fear of frostbite.
Or lack of. If like me you’re not jetting off to any far off warm climes this season then at least try and get as much daylight as possible. We all know how depressing it is waking up in the dark and heading home in the dark, so make the most of your work lunch break. Even if it’s just a fifteen minute stroll down the road to grab a coffee, it’ll lift your spirits so much more than staying indoors all day.
I’ll be the first to admit how easy it is to slip into that ‘holiday diet’ (50% cheese, 50% wine).
Eating is by far my favourite
all year round Winter activity, but sluggish food and little physical activity wreaks havoc on an already unhappy brain. I’m not suggesting 6am jogs in the snow followed by blended brussel sprouts, but if you over eat on the mince pies you’re going to feel pretty shit (Note to self). Make the most of all the wonderful seasonal fruits and vegetables (kale, cauliflower, leeks, pears and clementines). For more information about seasonal foods head over to Eat Seasonably.
Booking into a few workout classes a week will also do wonders for your mental health, social life and lets not forget how much better you’ll feel come summer and your bod is already 👌 Also don’t forget to drink plenty of water – something I definitely need to keep telling myself (Second note to self: hot chocolate and mulled wine do not count).
Keep yourself happy on the outside
Thankfully it’s not all about what you eat – Winter skin is a nightmare (I spend about 6 months of the year dry and blue), so regular moisturising and exfoliating is essential if you want to avoid looking like a prune. Also regular treats, because it’s Winter and I’m sad and I want to buy glittery shoes okay?!
I tend to either oversleep or under sleep during the winter. One night you’re tucked in bed by 7pm, the next you’ve got five Christmas parties in a row… It’s really no surprise we’re exhausted and under weather for the majority of the season. I’ve promised myself that I’ll stick to a fairly regular routine, which will hopefully mean I’ll feel more energised for my 5:30am gym starts? Hmmm…
Have a home clear out
I’ve actually started doing this recently as I was pulling my Winter clothes out of storage. It suddenly dawned on me just how much stuff I’d collated since I’d moved into my new place. Whereas a year ago I’d make sure I only kept the essentials, I feel like I’ve let myself go. It feels so good just to get rid of everything I don’t use. Anything you don’t use regularly but can’t bring yourself to throw away, box it up, label it and pop it in storage. Tidy house tidy mind and all that.
Take a break
The Christmas period at work is usually one of the busiest times of the year. Our social media usually goes crazy during the run up, so I’m usually glued to my phone for the majority of December. Remember that it’s okay to take a step back from your work when it’s all getting too much. Christmas is a time for us all to relax, so allow yourself some distance from your job, even if it’s only for a few days. (Saying that, we’ll probably still be monitoring our social on Christmas day so, sucks to me).
Easier said than done when you’ve had a freezing cold commute home in the dark I know, but ensuring you make time to spend with friends or family as few times a week will save you from going a little bit insane. I usually try and tie in a workout date to catch up with friends or plan lunch dates with my parents at the weekend. Again, they’re only little things but without them my Winter would just be an endless grey hole.
Or if all else fails, find an indoor rainforest and camp out for a few months…