Winter can be a challenging time to keep our well-being up and our health balanced, here are the best ways I find to stay healthy and happy during the darker months of the year!
Stay hydrated. Even though it’s not as warm as Summer, we still need to keep our water levels up. I aim for 2-3 litres a day, but mainly drink this in herbal teas which have the added benefit of keeping you cosy too. You can find water in lots of great foods too, so plenty of soups and warming gravy dishes are great if you’re struggling to drink as much as you need.
Get outside! Obviously we have less sunshine hours and overall daylight in winter so it’s even more important to make time to spend time outdoors to top up our vitamin D levels and boost our happiness. Make it a double well-being boost by taking a walk in the woods or on the beach- any time immersed in nature will make you feel better.
Following on from that, a walk is good exercise too and it’s vital to keep up exercising in Winter too. It’s definitely more difficult as we often want to stay wrapped up indoors rather than heading to a gym class or a run in the rain, but if we want to stay fit all year round we should aim for at least 30 minutes a day!
Keeping in touch with people. It’s easy in Winter to fall into a cycle of staying in and not seeing anyone. Darker evenings make us feel it’s later than it is and the cold can discourage us from venturing out. Turn your mind against this thought pattern though and aim to stay connected with others and to keep attending any events, groups, meet ups that you would in summer.
Saying that though, any extra time spent indoors is a great opportunity for re-organising your living space. Having a good clear out will translate to a good shake up mentally as when our surroundings become cluttered this can be a reflection of mind clutter. So getting rid of what we no longer need can be so helpful for our mental health. It seems like a chore at first but once you get going it feels great and you can donate lots of things to charity shops too!
Hope these tips help keep you feeling good over the winter months! Come back soon for updates on my Mind on Music Travels!
One of the great things about the Mind on Music travelling is that it has left me with a lot less time for idly watching random TV. My mind is much clearer and happier for it!
As a nation, we watch too much television. There’s no arguing with the statistics that tell us the average person watches five to eight hours per day in front of the TV. That’s almost a third of our lives! Before the 1930s though, television wasn’t even available to the public and during the Second World War, broadcasts were suspended. Afterwards, the schedule only contained three hours of broadcasting per day and obviously no catch up TV! Even during the 1950s when television started to become more widely used by the general public, it was upheld as special occasion. We can look to these past ways of living in order to enhance our present!
Break the TV Cycle!!
Here are some simple ways from the past to break the TV cycle;
Visit friends and family! This has the added bonus of helping others watch less TV too. The evenings are still light and even in Winter instead of spending your Sunday on the sofa, go for a walk with the family in Nature. Decades ago, visiting others was a more regular occurrence as there was no Facebook to keep in touch with people!
Cook. If you cook a meal with several ingredients, by the time you’ve made and eaten it, a few hours may have passed. The key is to enjoy the process of cooking for itself, not to rush through it and then hurry through the meal.This has the added bonus that you’ll know exactly what’s in your food, just as our grandparents did.
Craft. Learn a new craft skill or re-engage with an old pastime you used to enjoy such as crochet, or playing an instrument. Hours used to be spent darning and mending old clothes but this is something we don’t have to do as much now. However this is a useful skill which has largely been lost and helped keep waste down so re-learning it will save you some pennies!
Read. There are also whole realms of imagination and information ready for you to dive into. You don’t need to read classics, pick up whatever you’re drawn to and get lost in another world.
Rest Finally, know that it’s ok to sit in silence with your own thoughts! We feel we must be constantly entertained but this isn’t true. Some of our best ideas come to us when we’re resting quietly. Keep a notebook handy for these times so you can quickly jot ideas down. Years ago, people often daydreamed for hours, just wistfully sitting at a river bank, but in our ‘notification generation’ we feel a constant need to check our emails, social media, what’s on TV later…always doing instead of just being! Stop and remind yourself of this once in a while.
Sometimes we get stuck in cycles, especially in the darkest months of the year but Summer hasn’t left us yet so we can get outside and switch the TV off, just as we used to do in years gone by!
A few people have asked me where I get so much energy from to be travelling, singing, speaking at events so much and all with no coffee haha! So I thought I’d share the ways I gather my energy so it might help you. We are all different but by sharing our practices, we can take what we find helpful and leave the rest, so please have a read and let me know if you have any ways you increase your energy!
I understand for those with chronic illness, it’s not as simple as some of the below tips sound, but they’re still worth a go because even if you think they won’t work, you’ve made a positive step towards loving and caring for yourself!
Food! If you’re on my Instagram, then you’ll know I follow a vegan diet. The reason I started was for ethical reasons concerning animals and environment, but the health benefits have been incredible! My skin cleared up, my head feels lighter too and I no longer need coffee to keep me going throughout the day. I eat a lot of fruit and veg and I love smoothies. Find me on instagram to see some of my food postings. I’m not here to judge, I was twenty years old before I went vegetarian and then another several years before veganism so only speak from my experience that switching to a plant based diet has worked wonders for my energy and health. It’s really important to ensure with any way you eat that your nutrient levels are all in tune with your own body. Tiredness can be caused by deficiencies in B12, calcium, Vit D and magnesium amongst other things so it’s a good idea to get these in order if you’re feeling low on energy.
Smoothies replaced my super strong coffee and I love them!!
Nurture yourself with Nature. Being in nature, for me, is one of my top energisers. A walk in the forest or on the beach can pick me up when I’m needing a boost and whatever energy I spend whilst walking is returned with more to spare. It’s proven that the ions produced by water having a restorative effect on our health so anywhere near flowing water such as waterfalls or the beach is great to be, but of course anywhere outside and in a natural setting is going to do you good! Sunshine will boost your Vit D levels too which can help with tiredness, but of course wear sun protection where appropriate especially if you’re like me- a super pale red-head who needs factor 50!!
Beautiful beach times from a recent trip to Ibiza.
Swimming in the sea feels so natural and always boosts my energy!
Sort your sleep! We all know sleep is important for our bodies to restore and for our minds to wander into our dreamlands, but so many of us worry about it to the point that this worry stops us sleeping! For a time, I was waking about 4am every night, full of energy and excited for the day ahead. I would struggle to return to sleep and work my self up when I couldn’t. I decided to change my sleep pattern to stop myself worrying. I now sleep 5-7 hours during the night and have an extended nap in the afternoon. I later found this is called Bi-phasic sleep, and has been found to be a very healthful way to split our sleeping times as our 9-5 society way of living is not entirely natural to our bodies and minds. It is a challenge to achieve sometimes if I have to do a lot of daytime activities but it has improved my energy and sleeping as I no longer worry about being tired because I know I have a second sleep to follow!
Resting. This is different to sleep. People think they only need to rest when they are in bed but this isn’t so. Being still and quiet is vital to our health and to keep us connected with our body so we are aware of everything that’s going on and know to make adjustments if necessary. Paradoxically, you can rest whilst being active. For me, Yoga is a very restoring practise and even though I work hard and the postures are often physically demanding, I find it a very restful, peaceful thing to do too.
Avoid energy drainers! These come in a variety of forms, from too much time on the internet, to being around people who are always negative. Comparing yourself to others on social media is one of the biggest wastes of energy there is. It leaves you feeling lethargic and low. Limit your internet use to basic email checking for a while and see how you feel. When I do this my head is less foggy, my spirit brighter and I feel so much happier. Don’t worry about what others are doing. They are on their path and you are following yours.
Be creative. Singing, writing, getting my ideas out, all feed my soul and so increase my energy levels. Using our natural talents (and we all have different innate ones) makes us feel purposeful and happy which feeds our spirit to increase our energy. I adore singing so much that I often turn up to a gig feeling tired and leave with an enormous buzz and feeling elated! Even singing on my own at home can do this, so try whatever creative pursuit you want to do and see if it does the same for you. Being creative with your environment can help too. Colours can energise or drain you, so my living areas are all bright, beautiful tangerines and decorated with all sorts of my favourite shades!
Singing always gives me more energy!
Self healing. As well as creating more energy within ourselves, I fully believe we have the power to heal ourselves too and prevent our health from going too far down. This creates good health and so in turn more energy. Explore the alternative side to healing that medicine doesn’t offer… gentle therapies that can help if you open up to them. Music and Sound therapies, Acupuncture, Meditation- explore and find what you enjoy the most and go with it. Even if you find they don’t work for you, they are relaxing and enjoyable at the very least. Stress is a big energy drainer and the cause for so many health problems but it is something we have control over. Slowing breathing rate is the first step to overcoming it, breathing in for 5, pausing then out for 5 and repeat until you feel calmer.
I hope these little tips that I use have been helpful and healthful for you! Let me know how you get on, with a message or a comment, wishing you lots of energy!
With everything we’re surrounded with in our modern world, it can be a challenge sometimes to keep smiling through it all. I love to laugh and smile (often to people’s annoyance but who cares!) and this leads people to assume I never get sad or I’ve never had anything bad happen in my life or seen anything bad.
Of course this isn’t true, just like for most of us! On my travels and in daily life I’ve seen animal abuse, been treated horribly by a few people with closed hearts, had loved ones die, family dramas and had years of past personal depression- things a lot of us go through- but I always see that the good always outweighs the bad. And that’s what I really do believe- that the goodness here is always stronger than any badness.
Singing always makes me smile!
Here are a few ways I keep smiling…
Avoid the News. This isn’t saying be ignorant to current events, just choose how much you are surrounded with images of death and hopelessness which is the mood those who script the News programmes and publish papers seek to create. Avoiding biased, fear-based programming is the first step to clearing your head of the fog that keeps us from being happy.
Nature! It’ll be a running joke soon that I suggest nature as the answer to most challenges, but it is true that immersing yourself in a natural setting gives a perspective that is hard to find otherwise. Using the calm of nature to still your own anxieties and running commentary really helps if you find it difficult to switch off at home. With practice, you’ll be able to bring this peace with you anywhere. Take deep breaths and focus on the birdsong, letting your own thoughts drift away as you listen to the music of nature.
Connect with others. My recent blog post on this shows ways to become involved in your community to help others which in turn will help yourself. Volunteer, see family, support local shows and music and art scenes and a beautiful community spirit will grow, one you’ll be very much a part of.
Travel. See the truth in the world before believing everything the media tells us. Meet people from different cultures and decide for yourself where you think people’s hearts lie and who they truly are. This again will connect you to the truth in the world, that we are not so different from each other at our core.
Create! Feeling you’re making a contribution to the world will increase feelings of happiness. This is closely related to the connecting with others idea, that by creating something others find useful or beautiful, you’ll be helping to make the world better and. Music, crafts, art, poetry- anything that you feel drawn to. It’s probably something you enjoyed doing as a child and once you pick it back up, it’ll be like you never stopped and you were meant to do it! This is how music was to me after a long break which left me very down, but once I came back to it I realised how much I love using music to make others (and myself!) happy.
Get off the Internet!! I do realise the irony of saying this whilst writing a blog, that I’d like people to read- on the internet. Too much though is soul destructive as it drags us down into a world of frantic notifications and comparisons to people we barely know or people we think we know but don’t really because everything is edited beyond any meaningful reality! So spending time away, doing the above can be so beneficial. A lot of us use social media for work now so I know it’s not always easy to cut ties completely but limiting use is a great start!
There’s a reason smiling is also called “beaming” and that’s because it’s like a ray of sunshine beaming across all those who encounter it! Smiling really is infectious and if you share your smile with others, it’ll spread across all those you connect with and beyond so share your beautiful smile today!
Earlier this week I talked about a simple life, but now I want to share thoughts about a colour life with you! Something that brings me so much joy when experiencing other cultures, is how much colour there is and … Continue reading →
I’ve been so lucky to have been travelling a lot more the past year and one thing wandering around a lot shows you is how little you need to live and be contented. I believe a simple life is a freer one. One where material possessions don’t tie us down into working just to have something new. One where we can be more present in our decisions and in our focus.
Being able to carry everything you need for weeks in one bag on your back certainly humbles you into realising most of the extras we surround ourselves with are not essential to our living a good life.
Growing up, I was as materialistic as you could imagine. Constantly asking my Mum for something else. Always wanting to spend Saturdays shopping. I don’t regret this as it’s shown me how futile the pursuit of “stuff” is because I was only happy until the newness had worn off, then I was in desperate search for the next thing. I was lucky my parents did also encourage me to read a lot, and supported my singing and other creative pastimes which at least helped to balance out the consuming monster that lurked within my teenage self so I look back with no self-reproach and see that these experiences helped me understand the money orientated society we reside in today.
The last few years though I’ve found myself needing less and less to be happy. This has been both through choice and also necessity as I’ve chosen to work less to free up my time to travel but obviously this means less money to spend on disposable entertainment items that we’re all encouraged to buy. I find much more fun in the beauty of life and in connecting with other people than I ever did in new clothes and shoes.
I’m certainly not at the end of this journey. I don’t currently live completely waste free, though that’s definitely my aim. I still find myself coveting certain things and have to keep reminding myself to ask whether I really need it or just desire it for some unknown reason. I’ll get there though, I know it and feel happier and more peaceful each day! Being self-aware and observing your actions as you go through them will help to make sure you are living consciously and not being swayed by advertising or your peers.
Here’s how I’m breaking free of the consuming cycle and living on my terms…
Firstly have a clear out. Try and find homes for unwanted items that no longer serve you. They may stop someone else from buying new if they can repair your broken laptop or have been looking for a table you’re wanting rid of. Charity shops always want clothes and overseas refugee programmes also need bedding and such items. This has the added bonus of clearing your mind at the same time so in turn you feel lighter in yourself as well as your home.
Go back to basics with food. When I became vegan, a lot of things clicked into place for me. I realised how much food production is harming our planet and this coupled with waste made me want to live more simply. Eating home made food is more kind to our bodies as well as the environment.
Find free things to do! A lot of our money goes on keeping ourselves entertained. But this doesn’t have to be a complicated process either. Time in nature walking, swimming, meeting with friends for a chat, all simple ways to enjoy our free time but without the burden of a new games console!
To be self-aware, start by trying to be a conscious observer of your actions. Don’t judge, just watch. So for example if you find yourself wandering into a shop and about to buy something “for fun” don’t feel bad for it, but do be active in the moment of buying it. You may decide you don’t truly want it after all, as so many of our purchases are quick and made under distraction.
I learnt a lot of these things whilst travelling, but they are all something we can practise whilst going about our lives, whatever we do!
You can’t buy your way to freedom, but maybe you can give things away to attain it. Living more simply will leave you feeling free and able to concentrate on the true things that matter in your life.
My first blog post here was to tell you my thoughts on the New Year and how we are all too harsh on ourselves at a time when the natural world is being slow and nurturing. Now the evenings are brightening and the temperature rising, this is a far better time to begin all those goals that most discarded after a week or two in January. I’ve made a some big changes and I feel great for it, a fresh start in line with the season change!
Here are a few ways we can take inspiration from nature to align ourselves with the change of season and create goals in a more natural way than the New Year…
Get outside! You knew this would be one of my top tips as I’m a huge advocate of spending time in nature and being outside. Being out in nature is proven to boost mood, endorphin levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. This will make you more productive to achieve your goals but is so worth doing just to see the beauty of the world. See more health benefits here and get out there today!
Get your body going! If you don’t already, start shaking and waking your body up after the slower months of Winter. Start yoga, walking, dancing, swimming…whatever feels the best avenue for you. Just as the animals in hibernation are stirring from their nests, we too can break away from the slowness of winter and start to warm up for a more energetic time. Know that you don’t need to join an expensive gym to get active though, all the suggestions above can be done at home or out in nature.
Create! Spring is a time of rebirth and new life and so a truer time for a new start than January. This is the best time to start new projects, dream up new plans, and flow with the energy of nature to guide you on your way! This is the time to create new works. My new creation for this time is to expand my music project into a full charity. I’m so glad I waited until now, instead of starting on the 1st January. I feel far more motivated and ready to do this now than two months ago. More info on the charity is here
Have a clearout! All the fallen leaves of winter are being recycled back into the earth ready to feed the growth of Spring and Summer and you can do the same in your home. Sort out old clothing that no longer suits and take it to a charity shop so someone else can find joy from it, cut up old towels to use as cleaning cloths, start making more natural cleaning products by using things you already have (vinegar, bicarb, lemon, the peel from eaten oranges…) Wellnessmama Blog is great for tips on natural cleaning!
Connect with others! Spring is typically the main mating season in the natural world and whilst I’m not suggesting that you copy that precisely (unless you want to!!), it is a great time to reconnect with friends and family who you may have seen less of during the cold months and difficulty travelling due to storms and snow! Join community projects- garden and clean up work will be starting now and loads of sports activities will be getting going if that’s where your interests lie. Animal centres will be inundated now due to that mating season and will need foster homes, help with fundraising- anything you are most drawn to. Helping others will always benefit you as well and is the foundation for a beautiful world so get yourself involved!
I hope you have a beautiful Springtime and that these tips helped on the way! I’m so excited for the changes I’m making and I know this was the right time to do them. Don’t take my word for it though, listen to your own instinct and follow the path that’s right for you. That may mean that January is a good time to get things started or that you may prefer to hold back until Summer when you feel fully rested. Whatever time you choose though, keep that Spring energy in mind, it is the time for revival so take that feeling and dance with it!