Embracing the seasons is the only way to move along through the months from warm to cold. And as the temperature lowers and grey days abound it becomes more about nurturing and cherishing your inner wellbeing. In collaboration with Caudalie here are my tips for maintaining your winter wellbeing. Enjoy!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
We are spoilt for choice with gorgeous skin products these days but I am always drawn to environmentally friendly, free-from, cruelty free brands like Caudalie – parabens free since 2006 – that are focused on creating more natural products. Caudalie was founded by a husband and wife team (see co-founder Mathilde Thomas on Insta) from the Bordeaux region of France in 1993 and created products from the grape, making use of its potent anti-oxidants and active ingredients. As part of one of the Christmas face cracker gift sets – at £10 these make brilliant little gifts or stocking fillers – I’ve been using the brilliant SOS serum, moisturising sorbet and moisturising mask. I’m also super keen to try out the award-winning anti-ageing Premier Cru (Mathilde’s holiday essential) – there’s a great value gift set too.
(Did you know? A caudalie [kodali] is a unit measuring the duration of the wine’s flavour on the palate. So for each second the flavour remains this is a caudalie!)
I’m a big fan of oils – I long ago realised that they don’t clog up your skin – and always apply a light one to my fave before moisturising in the morning or a heavier body oil after a bath. The beautifully scented dry Divine Oil (pictured in the Christmas Divine Bauble size for £8) is multi-purpose and can be used on body, face and hair, in the bath and as a massage oil. Smells so good, I like to rub some on my hands and have a calming sniff! For every large bottle sold, Caudalie has committed to planting a tree with the Coeur de Fôret Association and so far nearly 2 million have been planted.
FEED YOURSELF HEALTHY
However, you’re never going to benefit from all the wonderful things you can put on your skin if you are not nailing it on the nutrition. In addition to a healthy breakfast – museli or porridge with a caffeine-free tea plus supplements; I save my one cup of coffee fix for 11am! – my main focus is to consume a load of fresh greens each day. I have two approaches to this.
Either I’ll whizz up a smoothie (kale, spinach, cucumber, berries, apple, seeds, nuts and coconut oil) or more recently I’ve taken to making a super salad in the evening to have with supper, which always has enough left over for lunch with heated up tinned green lentils the next day. Into my supersalad goes: fresh spinach or mix of leaves, parsley, coriander, a steamed vegetable (beans, broccoli or kale), grated carrot, cucumber, tomato and roasted almonds and seeds. Squirt of lemon and vinaigrette and it is seriously delicious!
REMEMBER THE POETRY & THE BOOKS
Feeding the mind is just as important as the body. Yes, keep up with the news and what’s going on in your world of social but don’t forget the novels and poetry you used to read as a kid or teenager. I was a voracious reader as a child, ploughing through the classics by Austen and Bronte before moving on to Dostoevsky and Balzac. Sylvia Plath, Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch and Jean Rhys shaped me as a young woman before I moved into the mind-expanding territories of science fiction via Philip K Dick and John Wyndham as a Simone de Beauvoir reading philosophy student.
Bit of an eclectic reading mix I admit! And much of it a hazy memory now. The challenge is to keep reading, to never stop learning and to let yourself be drawn to things that awaken your mind and help you see the magic and poetry in life. I’m not a big poetry reader in the grand scheme of things, but in every novel I’ve ever loved there has been poetry which has caught my imagination… those words that jump out and make your catch your breath – never forget them.
SLEEP DEEP & WELL
Getting the right amount of shuteye is fundamental to well-being any time of the year, but more even more so when the days are shorter and there’s less light to keep you bouyant. I’ve just been introduced to the phrase ‘sleep hygiene’ through conversations with a doctor friend about insomnia. Fortunately I don’t have trouble sleeping but I think that’s because for many years now I’ve been practicing my own ‘sleep hygiene’ routines. I’m not a big drinker, one glass of wine with a meal is about my max, always followed by a camomile tea to help the evening wind-down (by which I mean get Gus organised for bed!).
Once I have time for my own things, post face-cleansing and teeth brushing, I always spend five to 10 minutes doing yoga style stretching – neck, arms, legs, a quick downward dog or cat stretch, sitting stretches and spinal twists. Sometimes I’ll fit all this into two to three minutes, the point is every night I go through the motions without fail. Once in bed ready to sleep after a bit of reading (ok, I’ll admit this is often on my phone so not ideal) I then do a mental wind-up pre-sleep where I ‘relax’ each part of my body repeating three times “Arms are heavy”, “Legs are heavy” etc winding up with “Breathing is slow and calm” and “Heartbeat is slow and steady”.
By the time I’ve finishing these I’m usually ready to drift off. If not, I’ll use the ‘nonsense words’ approach ie. if you are having disconnected thoughts your brain thinks you have nothing to stress about and will let you go off to sleep. So I do this by thinking of as many words as I can starting with A, then B, then C and so on. I rarely get past C to be honest!
TELL YOUR LOVED ONES YOU LOVE THEM
Maybe it sounds silly to some, but I really believe sending out positive vibes and energy is just as important to your happiness and well-being as all of the above. Being kind to those around you and showering your loved ones with love and affection is a wonderful way to create a happy glue for your relationships. One of my favourite phrases is to ‘kill them with kindness’, so even when people are treating you badly, to come back with generosity and respect is one of the strongest, most soul-nurturing things you can do. Go forth!
Created in collaboration with Caudalie.
All images styled and shot by me and opinions all my own.