Artful Advice

Staying balanced in winter

How to feel fresh and stay on track.
Staying balanced in winter

After festive celebrations and indulging with loved ones, you may be feeling a little sluggish. Whether you’re ready to hibernate or you’re craving a fresh start, winter is the perfect time to look inwards and put yourself first. Take advantage of cosy days to start building habits that nourish your body, mind and soul. We’ve gathered some simple ideas to help you get a fresh start and feel good. Begin now, then continue with these daily practices into spring and beyond, so you can feel balanced no matter the season.

Make your habits more wholesome
When it comes to your daily routine, there are some simple swaps you can make to slow down and stay balanced. If you’ve found yourself relying on takeaways, using a weekly desk planner allows you to put your week on one page, plotting out nourishing meals and planning for special treats. If you’ve over-indulged with alcohol or festive fizzy drinks, try keeping a water bottle on hand to rehydrate, or a jug on your desk. To add a little flavour, you can pop in some slices of citrus, or a handful of fresh berries. If you’ve been relying on caffeine, change up your coffee for a herbal tea. Slowly incorporating a few feel-good swaps is a gentle and sustainable approach to start feeling good.

Go offline
Many of us are still spending our days surrounded by screens, but the blue light from laptops and phones can negatively affect your circadian rhythm, making it difficult to switch off and fall asleep. Try swapping your bedtime scroll for a book or mindful meditation. During the day, take your lunch break to do something relaxing offline – you could squeeze in some rest with a nap, run a relaxing bath or do a short meditation. If you’re not able to work from home, you could go for a walk or take a quiet moment to yourself in a park. If getting outside in winter seems daunting, try listening to a podcast, some music or calling a friend. Or pop your phone on flight mode so you can really reset.

PLEASE CHANGE ME

Put plans on paper
Winter can oscillate wildly between flurried days filled with plans, and quiet stretches of time on your own. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all the changes, writing down your schedule can help alleviate stress. Whether you’re spending the day alone at home, or busy with family, breaking up your day into hours can help prioritise what you need to do. Jotting down tasks – even if it’s simple activities like doing laundry or changing your sheets – will make all your days feel useful. You can also write reminders to call loved ones or people you weren’t able to see over the holiday season. And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to plan some downtime whenever you need to.

Don’t forget to move
It can be tough to get going in the cold winter months, but making time for mindful movement can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Choose an activity that you know you love, or get creative and try something new. While the brisk fresh air can give you a daily boost, if you can’t brave the great outdoors, try an online class or a little dance in your living room. If you’re struggling to stick to a routine, incorporate movement wherever you can – take phone calls on walks, do a ten minute yoga flow at lunch or do a little stretching just before bed. Listen to your body and find what feels good for you.

PLEASE CHANGE ME

Reconnect with yourself
In between busy days, take a moment to do things that bring you joy. This will be different for everyone – get creative, watch your favourite films, read a new book or spend time on that hobby you’ve neglected. Sometimes it can be helpful to write out ten things you really love on a list notepad, and make sure you’re taking time to do at least one of them every day. Don’t be surprised if you feel like your stores of positivity have been depleted – it can often be an emotional time of year. Make time to process any feelings by journaling or talking to someone you trust. Headspace is a mindfulness app that allows you to connect with yourself, or you can find professional support through organisations like Mind or the NHS.

Give back and stay grateful
Take time to look after those around you. Try volunteering or donating with a charity that you feel connected to, or treat someone close to you. Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness have the greatest impact – cook your favourite recipe for a loved one, tell them how much they mean to you, or help them with grocery shopping or household chores. And if you’re still struggling with staying balanced, try and ground yourself in the present moment by noting things that you’re grateful for.

Incorporating any of these changes can help you reset and get ready for the new year. Remember to go east on yourself, life can change so quickly that it’s important to cherish what we have, even if it’s not feeling perfect right now. There’s always time to make a fresh start.

If you’re ready to start practising balance in your life, check out our wellness journals. If you’d like to jot down your thoughts and figure out what makes you feel fresh, a notebook will be your best bet.