It usually takes us until the start of January to realise that all that partying, eating and drinking in the winter months was not such a good idea. Add the harsh winter weather into the mix and its a recipe for dehydration, illness and lethargy.

Inspired by this thought, I’ve decided to tackle the pattern of events early this winter and resist the urge to indulge too much. I had the flu about three weeks ago, and after feeling exhausted and shivery for a full 7 days, I made an effort to do everything in my power not to get ill again this winter. Lo and behold, here I am 3 weeks later with what appears to be the beginnings of a chest infection (or at least very badly controlled asthma) and a sense of constant tiredness. I didn’t stick to my plan, I haven’t made it to the gym and I’m not sleeping well.

So my new aim, starting in mid-December, is to look after myself so that I can enjoy the travelling and outdoors activities I hope to undertake over the Christmas and New Year period whilst feeling good about myself. Below are the 3 initiatives I have devised to stick to over the next three months, with the aim of not only surviving the winter, but also being able to embrace it. I’ve called them initiatives instead of resolutions, as they are more ‘works in progress’ than absolute promises, and represent a change of ethos instead of a restriction put upon myself.

Initiative One: Get more sleep

I’m not the greatest sleeper at the best of times, but over the last month my sleep has been suffering. I think the pace of life has just got in the way, and I haven’t been taking the time to wind down before as I usually do. I’ve recently started using the Sleep Cycle app to determine just how much decent sleep I’m getting….and its not a lot. Take this past Sunday night for example: about 4 hours of actual sleep.

I need to work on prioritising sleep for the next few weeks so I can back on track. Reading a book often helps me wind down before bed, but recently I’ve forgotten to pick up a book or just haven’t felt like doing so. Instead, I’m going to make a promise to read or listen to an audio-book for 15 minutes before going to sleep every night.

If you’re interested in learning about your sleep, you can see further details here.

Initiative Two: Get more fresh air

I always feel so good and healthy when I’m on holiday, and that’s usually because I’m getting so much fresh air and vitamin D. Fresh air plus exercise helps me sleep well at night too. However, when it gets to the winter months, I tend to spend very few hours outside and rarely get outside whilst its light. These next few months I’m going to make a concerted effort to get some fresh air and sunlight.

Some ways to get fresh air and vitamin D in winter:

  • Go for a walk round the block
  • Walk to the local shop instead of driving
  • Going for a walk at lunchtime
  • Spend an hour gardening at the weekend

Initiative Three: Cleanse

I’m not one for taking thousands of supplements as I think you should be able to get the nutrients you need from the range of fruit, vegetable, grains and proteins you eat. But at this time of year, eating a balanced diet often goes out of the window, and you can end up straying from your ‘balanced diet’ for days in a row. I’m not once to deny myself something when it comes to food (its for enjoying after all) but eating to more the normal or eating richer foods than normal can wreak havoc on your body. That’s why my third initiative is to cleanse! I’ve devised a guideline for myself: 1 day off, followed by two days eating properly.

I’ve recently got into drinking a lot of new types of tea, such as the Raspberry and Pomegranate from Twinings that my housemate bought recently, and the black and green teas I drank in Mongolia. I also recently tried Jasmine Flower Tea, which was quite fragrant.

I started looking online for interesting teas that would be good for my body at this time of year, that would help me to relax and feel energised without the need for too much caffeine. I came across a teatox product that is a blend of green tea and other natural ingredients, such as strawberry and papaya. I did some reading up on the benefits of green tea and it sounds pretty much like a wonder leaf! Green tea isn’t always the nicest taste, so drinking a blend infused with fruits is a good idea.

I’m hoping my push to improve these three aspects will help me reap benefits and will improve my general well-being. What steps are you taking to keep healthy and rested this winter? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.