I’m feeling very excited about this Autumn and Winter. The next 6 weeks are packed with fun social and work events then I’ll be hosting my last super cozy Pilates and meditation retreat of the year before spending Christmas in Sweden. When it’s cold, crisp and dark outside there’s nothing I love more than staying in with a warm mug of something delicious, lighting a woody candle and reading a book or watching a gripping series. I’m currently hooked on Stranger Things! With that being said, I’m out most nights this week at events and I know that burning the candle at both ends leaves me feeling zapped and fighting off a cold. I thought I’d share some of the ways I like to feel good and well during the cold busy months to enter the new year on a high…
1. Start the day with apple cider vinegar, lemon and ginger.
You’ve heard it before but I really believe in this morning drink choice whether it actually gives me the health benefits it claims to or not because it just feels cleansing and good and that’s enough of a reason for me. I try to have this all year round but especially this time of year. I can actually just take apple cider vinegar on it’s own and enjoy it. I find it so warming, balancing and it eases my stomach if I’ve eaten late the night before. It also makes a nice alternative to tea and coffee throughout the day. You can simply slice the ginger and lemon and add it to the warm water or blitz the juice of the lemon and a some grated ginger in a blender and pour into the warm water for a bit more fire.
2. Have cosy nights in with friends and family.
This time of year is all about family and friends but as we get older and everyone moves out and does their own thing, you don’t really just chill and watch crappy TV munching on popcorn as a family anymore except on Christmas day. It’s like the only having pancakes on pancake day thing, why don’t we do this more! I live with my parents so try to spend a little more time with them in the evenings even if it does mean watching Location Location Location rather than up in my room and also love just popping around to friends for no reason other than a cuppa, having games night with my cousins or hosting a wine and cheese night with my brother and his wife. There’s nothing more feel good then these nights in for me.
3. Join a book club.
I absolutely love reading but only really get into a good flow when I’m holiday. It’s something I’ve tried to work on by taking my book on the train to read and reading before bed but I’ll put my hands up and say 50% of the time I get distracted by social media or a interesting article/ podcast. So I thought I’d join a book club to keep me on track and committed to reading throughout the winter months. The lovely Laura from Beach Cafe asked me to join their monthly book club and send my reviews in. Our book for November is a classic Louis De Bernieres, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
4. Spend a Sunday afternoon meal prepping.
I get that it’s so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan during these months but being prepared is key to staying on track when you can. I’ve recently taken on the F45 8 week challenge and it’s the first time I’ve followed a meal plan and I’m really enjoyed it. I do an online food shop to be delivered on a Sunday and then spend a therapeutic hour or two in the kitchen prepping the next few lunches, dinners and snacks. It’s not realistic for me to stick to it 100% so I look at my diary and see when I’ll be eating out at events or meeting someone for lunch but then I know I have my prepped meals when I can. It keeps me feeling calm during the week.
5. Start a fitness challenge.
Whether it’s a charity run, climbing a mountain or signing up to a new class I think this a perfect time of year to focus on a new fitness challenge. Everyone talks about motivation or the lack of this time of year including Joe Wicks who spoke out recently about losing his fitness mojo. After completing my 45 mile Princes Trust cycle challenge, I experienced how having a goal and training schedule to stick to is fun, motivating and rewarding as you really see the results. As I said I’m currently on week 3 of the F45 8 week challenge which involves over 80 members from the gym attending 4-5 sessions a week, following the meal plan and setting goals. I’m still enjoying my Pilates but am loving pushing myself in the strength sessions at the gym and starting to see a real difference as I gradually lift heavier. There’s also a lovely sense of community which I’ve missed in the past when zipping from class to class in London. Michael Chapman, co founder of F45 Tottenham Court Road, has some more top tips to stay motivated in this Telegraph article.
6. Make your own chai latte.
Just the perfect drink for this time of year. I got into the habit of making my own chai lattes last Winter and I really encourage you to do the same as it’s so easy once you have the ingredients and you know how to do it plus the shop bought and cafe versions tend to have milk powders and refined sugars added. Check out my chai latte recipe plus my other feel good recipes here.
7. Plan some countryside nature time.
I’ve booked a little Cotswolds getaway with my Mum at the end of November, we are staying at The Wild Rabbit near Daylesford Farm in Kingham for 2 nights and I can’t wait for long countryside walks, cosy pub lunches and wandering around the farm. Regular breaks from city life is essential for me to feeling good and well and I’m looking forward to some no tech, reading by the fire time without my laptop and to do list for a few days. Even if you can’t get away, try to get a little bit of nature time by visiting a big park, forest or even the coast for a day. The perfect stress management tool and excuse to ignore whatsapp groups for a bit.
8. Reflect on your year.
At the start of this year I started a monthly scrapbook where I reflecting on all the things I’d done that month, my favourite moments and things I’d learnt. I’m so frustrated that I didn’t keep it up past February as I loved the process of keeping tickets, photos and memories all in one place and found that it allowed me to keep a hold of time rather than let it fly away. Well as we are now in month 11 out of 12 the year surely has flown by but it’s been one of the best years of my life. I’m starting to go through my diary, scroll through my camera roll and Instagram feed to bring those times back to life again as we come towards the end of the year and reflect on what’s new and good.
9. Treat yourself to wintery scented sprays and candles.
My favourite scents are the woody, wintery, amber, nutty ones. You can make your home a serene festive stress free zone just by adding a couple of candles, spritzing some room spray or running a bubble bath with an indulgent bath oil. I’m also trying to get out of the habit of “treating” myself with sweet things like some chocolate or a slice of cake which I usually start to do this time of year and then end up craving it more and more so replacing my “treat” with lighting a candle or having an aromatic relaxing bath with a tea or chai latte is much more feel good and beneficial in the long run.
10. Start a creative project.
I was completely overwhelmed this week hearing how 92 year old Lotti and founder of zero food waste charity Plan Zheros started her passion project when she was 80 years old. It reminded me that you never have to stop living to your full, making a change in this world and being creative. Don’t waste another moment to start writing that book, pitch an idea at work, learn to knit or set up your blog/business. There’s no time like the present and think how far you could get with it before the year is up! I’m all for new year resolutions but get one step ahead of yourself and get those creative juices flowing now. Make a small step today towards something you’ve always wanted to do.
Please share with me your favourite ways to feel good and well during the Autumn Winter months and let me know if your starting any fun projects or fitness challenges in the comments below or connect with me on social media.
Love, Lottie x