I don’t know about you, but with the days getting shorter and darker, I find myself swapping the gym for a throw and tub of Celebrations. Despite being a sucker for a Bounty and the season of festivities, every year I feel the innate dip in my mood, motivation and overall well-being.
Armed and ready to see this winter through with a smile, these are my most treasured seasonal staples.
Battling with over-indulgence
I must admit, with the social excitement that gears up towards the end of the year, I find myself swapping home-cooked dinners for meals and nights out. While that’s still totally OK, I’m starting to listen to what my body wants. And sometimes, it’s the simplicity of a home-cooked dinner and an early night.
That’s the beauty of autumn and winter though. You can rustle up moreish food with just the basics. My favourite winter warmers include the WW Morrocan-style cauliflower soup (with pistachios on top for crunch), Chilli con carne and Shakshuka.
If it’s the social element you’re after, double up and invite a friend to join you. You can swap the cocktails for a gin and tonic aperitif, without breaking the SmartPoints bank.
That said, whenever I find myself over-indulging on the cheese and wine, I make a note to pre-plan breakfast for the day ahead – that way I have no excuse to start fresh. Porridge with diced apple, cinnamon, sultanas and a teaspoon of honey always hits the spot on a nippy morning.
There’s something about going to the gym in the winter that just doesn’t resonate with me. Trust me, I’ve tried. Regardless, I make a point to find alternatives, to keep my mood and endorphins in check. For me, it looks like swimming or an autumnal walk. Once the leaves have fallen and the air is crisp enough to enjoy, I dust off my wellies and head out. I’ll usually use the time to catch up on podcasts or bop along to one of my playlists.
Also, my not-so-guilty-pleasure are three-minute dance parties. Sometimes I’ll do it first thing, other days in the evening. It helps me relieve any tension I’ve built up over the day and quite honestly, I just enjoy it. There’s just something so freeing about having a shimmy like nobody’s watching.
Cut yourself some slack
As the end of the year draws near, it’s natural to feel pangs of sadness. I find that tends to happen most when I unwind and reflect. I’ve been working hard to nip that in the bud because the way I see it, there will always be things you could have done better, but that time could be spent celebrating our successes – big or small.
There’s comfort in not feeling alone, if it all starts feeling too much, reach out to friends, family, colleagues etc… That could be over a coffee, Sunday roast, or a trip to the cinema – chances are someone you know is feeling the winter blues too.
And there you have it, my tips on how to survive the darker days. I really hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any other go-to tips, please do share them with me on Instagram, at @natsnatterings.