four ways to be your best self this winter;

You would think, after 36 of them, I’d be above all that New Year, New Me nonsense.

And the truth is I am, but also… kinda not.

I’m a big believer that you can make a positive change, or kick off a new habit, any time that you want. But I also know that if I’m going to start doing something to better myself that I really don’t want to do (unless lying on the sofa under a blanket, reading Angry Men Shout About Doctor Who comments on Facebook until 2am and eating salted caramel sauce straight from the jar is now a means of bettering myself, in which case count me in) I’d better be getting a final few days of my favourite self-destructive behaviours in before you can make me.

So in that sense, with its hard deadline you can see 12 months off, New Year is perfect.

Be your best self: Gym and tonic water bottle
Be your best self: OMG Tea matcha, A Vogel nasal spray

I switched from making resolutions to “theming” my years a few years ago. The former feels too much like setting myself up to fail while the latter… well, I posted about my theme for 2018 a couple of days ago, so you already know it’s going to be a tonne more fun. That’s not to say that there aren’t positive things I want to do more of, and less positive things I want to do less of – but those go in my bullet journal, and are intended to be a quantifiable work in progress.

With that said, there are a few little things I’ve been doing to help myself while it’s cold and dark outside, and the sofa seems oh-so-tempting. I’m sharing them because they might help you, too.

1. Get realistic about the gym thing

I’ve been itching to go back to the gym for a while now, but have been struggling to come up with a way that is a) sustainable; and b) as fun as it gets when your body has consistently told you that endorphins are a myth. As much as I enjoyed boot camp, once the initial enthusiasm wore off I discovered plenty of things about it that were not sustainable. Things like Saturday mornings. 9pm Wednesday night dinners. And the sheer bloody expense of getting there when one neither drives, nor works full time.

In 2018, I’m being kind to myself and easing myself back into a routine in a realistic way. One fitness class a week by the end of January and two a week by the end of February. I’m typing this with my arms aching from a Body Combat class within walking distance of my house, on a Monday lunchtime – the day that I’m working from home anyway, and in need of a routine that isn’t staring into a fixed point in space just beyond my laptop screen. And, you know what? It actually was fun.

MOAR LYG:  last year's postbox: the spicery;

2. Look after your eyes

Does anybody else really struggle with dry eyes in winter? This might just be me, but there’s something about computer screens combined with the artificial light of your average office that makes me feel more tired, earlier in the day, when it’s dark outside. It’s something I’ve been trying to combat by keeping eye drops on my desk for when the need arises, along with as frequent screen breaks as is realistically possible when your job is effectively computer-based content creation.

Eye health is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, as I’m trying to transition back into being an (infrequent) contact lens wearer. While my astigmatism rules out daily wear – and I wouldn’t be keen for computer-based work anyway – there are now so many different varieties of daily disposable lenses available (I’ve always been an Acuvue girl) that dry eyes are all but a thing of the past.

Now, it’s been a few years, but I was taken aback to discover that they’re still warning people off things like sleeping with your lenses in, or cleaning them with water rather than a dedicated contact lens solution. At my final check-up on Saturday, I had to admit to having dropped my final trial lens in a tub of moisturiser – and I was amused when the optician tried to get me to admit to having rinsed it off under the tap rather than in the leftover solution. But recent research by Vision Direct reveals that over 70% of contact lens wearers have fallen asleep in their lenses, while 23% admit to rinsing lenses in water rather than solution – so it seems that there is a reason for it. Grim.

3. Self-soothe that cold

My poor dad has only recently returned to society, having spent his New Year in bed with that Australian flu. That aside, I think most people know by now the general wisdom that colds should for the most part be treated with bed rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies rather than doctors’ visits and antibiotics – but it’s easier said than done when you’re in the middle of one and feeling proper sorry for yourself.

MOAR LYG:  out and about: malmaison's "mal on sunday" brunch;

Ever since a nasty bout of sinusitis last year, my colds and seasonal allergy flare-ups have brought with them certain additional gifts: blocked sinuses, dry eyes, an itchy face. While most over-the-counter sprays warn against more than seven days of use, the Sinuforce nasal spray* by natural remedies brand A Vogel has been an absolute game-changer: its combination of natural menthol, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil mean that it is safe to use for longer than the sprays you buy in chemists. I’ve also been using the A Vogel eye drops with euphrasia*, which come in a handy bottle that delivers a perfectly metered dose to avoid any mess at your desk.

Of course, sometimes the best way to self-soothe is to wrap up warmly and get out for some fresh air. My current favourite winter woolie combo? My fluffy cat paw fingerless gloves (the perfect Christmas present from my stepmum), a sparkly and stylish Crown and Glory beret and the super-soft, super-warm cashmere scarf* that was a Christmas gift from the St Enoch Centre.

Be your best self: cat paw mittens
Be your best self: OMG Tea matcha

4. Ditch the coffee

Takeaway coffee remains my greatest vice, and one that I’ve been trying to kick – with varying degrees of success – for a number of years now. It’s an incredibly expensive habit, something which I’m convinced gives me more of a psychological benefit than anything related to the caffeine content since I’m not much of a fan of filter or instant coffees – and, with this year being one in which I want to make a really conscious effort to cut down on wasteful single-use items such as cotton pads, straws and takeaway cups, there’s all the more reason to make a real go of it.

I’ve slowly been growing to enjoy antioxidant-rich matcha* from OMGTea, especially when drunk from a pretty little tea cup to add a sense of ceremony. The next step is to bring some into the office and find out whether the sustained energy release that’s supposed to leave you less jittery than caffeine is true. And when it’s too cold to comfortably drink my usual quantities of water, I’ve been substituting with cups of hot water spiked with fresh ginger and lemon for a zesty, warming drink.

Thanks to Vision Direct for supporting this post. Contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.

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  • I get terrible dry eyes! I’m always with at least 2 bottles of eye drops!

  • Matcha tea is my idea of heaven, and an ice cold matcha latte is heaven in a cup. Next time you pass a Bubble Tea place make sure to get yourself one!!

    Anyhoo, I’m planning to be more real about my fitness this year also. I have a cross trainer at home I use a few times a week, but we’re moving to Dennistoun shortly (fingers crossed) which means I’ll be able to start walking to the office. Saving money and increasing my fitness? Yes please!

    xx Bry Jaimea

    • East end is the BEST end, as I have always said 😉 x

      • hehe well I am out there this afternoon actually to view a property! Fingers crossed it’s nice and we’re approved, cause I’m a tad over Paisley (naturally) ????

  • Fuchsia

    I’ve exercised so much more since starting to go to hot yoga at lunchtime when I work from home – it’s so nice and I almost understand why people go to the gym at lunchtime and then back to the office (although not really because it’s way more relaxed showering at home!)

    I also get dry eyes, I had to give up contacts because of them and I got referred to a specialist who gave me a private prescription for some eye drops that I couldn’t access because they weren’t actually cleared for use on humans *facepalm* I didn’t really miss contacts until my day to day glasses developed weird marks on the coating and I started to get grumpy about the idea of buying new glasses so I’ve started lenses again occasionally (and definitely for aforementioned hot yoga). I always get acuvue too – I tried cheaper ones but they genuinely weren’t as comfy.
    Xx

    • Fuchsia

      I hope you enjoy that essay about my eyes….it looked so much shorter when I wrote it 😉

      • Heh! I absolutely did!

        Hot yoga sounds like my ideal of hell to be honest, I hated yoga and I also hate heat so it sounds like the worst combination. I realised at my body combat class that I no longer have a problem with being completely ungainly and ungraceful, which was the biggest reason behind my feeling particularly awkward at yoga, but I’d need any instructor to agree in advance not to “adjust my pose” or whatever without my explicit consent!

        x

        • Fuchsia

          I thought that I hated yoga but this yoga has won me over – I only started going because it was winter and I liked the idea that it’s in a warm and dark inflatable igloo (it’s like I was looking for somewhere to hibernate…). The teachers do ask everyone to put their hand up if they don’t want any adjustments, and they ask when everyone is looking down so you don’t feel awkward which is really polite.

          • That’s good to know! I had a long chat about this with Whitney after it happened, actually, I was so shocked that I ran out of the room crying and never went back to yoga. It seems like common sense to me.

            x

  • rachelle renée

    Okay, I have more items to add to your balsamic now that I’ve read this! 1) 2017 was truly a year of fun and not spending time working out, quite literally. I need to invest that time in myself this year, too. 2) I’ve always been really particular about my eye health (& teeth), so much so that my college friends still make jokes about it when we get together (we graduated nearly 11 years ago, I left an impression). I’ve napped wearing contacts, but haven’t slept with them in since I was 12 or 13. I carry my eyeglass case with glasses & my contact case with me everywhere I go. I won’t use water (I can only recall doing that once out of desperation). Apparently, I have an astigmatism and my contacts cater to that. It’s the first time I’ve had contacts that are made to accommodate it and I haven’t noticed a difference. I go back and forth between the two due to tired eyes and my sinus migraines/pressure in my face. Which leads to me to 3) ever since I made the swap to oil cleansing, using more natural products, and essential oils my eyes aren’t as dry and my nasal things are in better shape. Keep it up with the peppermint & eucalyptus. Let me know if you want a homemade recipe so you don’t purchase the sprays… are you down with using a netty pot? 4) AH, DON’T EVER DITCH COFFEE! I love you. BTW – do you need more eye make-up remover thingys I made?

    • I don’t think so! I’ve been using the full-size face cloths, mostly, and they wash up so well. And your coconut oil cleanser is amazing. Gentle, effective and I have not had a single spot since I got back from NY. I’m planning on a “recent beauty faves” post soon that is pretty much gonna be just singing the praises of you and Bobbi Brown. As it should be.

      I stumbled across neti pots when I first started getting those sinus problems and I was trying to figure out the most effective way to counteract them. They look absolutely terrifying.

      x

  • Lucy Lees

    Fitness routines and colds; the evils of winter! Definitely agree with getting out in the fresh air, also helps the soul, so, added benefits! I recommend home DVD workouts; sticking to your own plan is helpful I think. Just found your blog, love your writing style 🙂
    Life inside the Locket

    • Thank you! The snow up here the past week or so has put paid to any fitness goals, but it’s lovely to go out in. A home DVD workout sounds like a good alternative, a bit too easy for me to make excuses though x