As the days get darker and colder the requirements of our bodies change to be able feel happy, healthy and balanced. It's important for us to recognise this and switch up our routines to meet these needs. Every person is unique and will have different needs however below are some tips and ideas for you to try and see if they work for you.
The most obvious change in winter is the reducing amount of sun which can severely impact your health. What's also important to know is that different parts of the U.K. receive different amounts of sunlight hours with those in the far north of the U.K. experiencing over an hour less sunlight hours a day compared to those in the most southern parts. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Vitamin D has many roles in the body including improving your immune system, heart health and bone health. To receive the benefits of vitamin D you only need to be out in the sunshine for 10-15 minutes a day (this differs slightly per person) so if it's a sunny day during winter try and get outside, even just for a short while as it can have huge benefits on your health. You can also take vitamin D supplements but check with your Doctor before you do.
Skin and hair
During the winter months the air in the U.K. is much more dry and this can impact your skin and hair. If you notice your skin and hair is changing as the season changes to winter you might want to try oils on your skin after your moisturiser to lock in the moisture and hair masks.
There is often the temptation to stay at home during the colder, darker days but as most of us already have realised from lockdowns, social connections are a large part of our mental health. Just a few close social connections to check in upon, and check in upon you offer us huge advantages as humans and there are many studies around the world linking longer life to strong communities. In whatever way you keep in touch with people, actively make time to do so.
We're all in different situations but what runs through everyone is the need to make time for ourselves and recognise our mental state. Are we feeling happy or low? Maybe anxious? And what is making us feel this way? We need to put aside a little time every day to clear our minds and focus on breathing and feel how our body feels. It's easy to run from task to task and not recognise life as it passes by but stopping every day will help you to relax. Try using our hand sewn Flowering Teas as a fifteen minute break in your day to sit back, watch the beautiful flower blossom and enjoy delicious warming and green tea.
Reducing any negative influences in our lives is also important. It's a cliche but it's true - removing anything or anyone we follow on social media which makes us feel bad is huge positive step. Try it and see. Spend more time with people who put you in a positive mood and make sure to get sun light when possible. It's also easy to sink into drinking more alcohol during winter but always remember it is absolutely fine to socialise and not drink. If you haven't tried an alcohol free wine or beer when you're next out why not give one a try?
Physical and mental health link into each other to create optimum health for us all. Physical health to some may be going to the gym, going out for a run, or doing weights at home. Whatever it means to you is fine! The key thing is you move your body, which is what our bodies are built for. If you don't move your body in a variety of different ways it will start to not function how it should. If you're starting from the beginning, maybe going for a walk is an activity you can add to your routine. We highly recommend our hemp socks for walking which are anti-bacterial, three times for durable than cotton and extremely eco-friendly.
If you're a runner, maybe you could add yoga or some body strength exercises to your current plan. There are plenty of free classes on the internet. Ultimately, how can you move your body more? If you're looking for inspiration or to upgrade your current routine take a look at our 100% natural cork yoga mats. They are super grip, high quality and eco-friendly. Perfect for making yoga a pleasure.
Humans are naturally curious and if you don't challenge your mind from time to time and run on autopilot our brains can stagnate. Trying something new will create new connections in your brain and also give you a great feeling of success when you achieve a small milestone along the way. Not to mention the possibilities of meeting new people through your new activity. Ideas could be to learn the basics of a new language (DuoLingo offers a free version), cook a new meal every week, join a new fitness class or club, watch a documentary series or listen to podcast series on a topic you have always been interested in. There are also many free courses available through Google and LinkedIn. Or maybe you could try and checkout some local events and meet ups in your area? A motivating way to view this is the way you spend your time today, tomorrow, and next week will shape who and where you are in ten years time.
Creating a homely environment
Feeling comfortable in your own home is a great way to boost your mood. If you work from home , if you can, try and differentiate the spaces in which you work and in which you relax. House plants! Bringing nature inside is an excellent way to create a more relaxing and healthy home environment as well as getting the satisfaction of looking after another living being (without much work). If you have pets make sure the plants are pet friendly. We have beautiful coconut shell candles which add a tropical touch to your home. The scents are subtle and use eco-friendly soy wax with no chemicals.
I strongly believe that most people don't eat enough vegetables and I think this is more so in winter when people crave comfort foods. Vegetables are important for providing fibre, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. The good news is that it is very easy to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. My first bit of advice would be to 'eat the rainbow', so try and eat a mixture of vegetables of different colours as different colours means different nutritional benefits. Next, look at your meals and ask yourself how you can get some extra veg in them. I find an easy one is simply to cut up some broccoli and cook it in a pain with no water or oil and add a little salt. It will heat up, soften up and gain a tasty char. This can be added as a side to most meals.
Another easy win is making carrot or sweet potato fries at home instead of your regular chips. Simply chop up the carrots or sweet potatoes into strips (or both - we usually have them together). Put them on a baking tray and lightly coat with oil and season with salt and pepper and put them in the oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Another easy substitute is replacing rice with grated and slightly cooked cauliflower.
And of course there is the delicious and incredibly easy home made soup option which consists of boiling your favourite vegetables with some seasoning and stock and then blending. There are so many combinations you can try and everyone has their own taste. I personally use mostly carrot and sweet potatoes and also throw in broccoli stems instead of throwing them away.