Hibernation Days : hydration, isolation & inspiration

This post in collaboration with Garnier. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I have a sneaking suspicion, not even remotely supported by science, that humans are supposed to hibernate.  As the days grow shorter & the weather cools down, I would be 100% happy to curl up in a dark corner and sleep off my body fat for the next five months. I might emerge for occasional toilet and water breaks, but that would be it.

Sadly, life doesn’t work this way, and my real-world commitments don’t stop through Autumn and Winter. Which is why, over for the last few years, I’ve devised a system of occasional ‘hibernation days’.

Alone time

As an introvert (by this definition), I’ve come to prioritise my alone-time as a basic human need.  Since starting my business I’ve come to appreciate the different levels of ‘aloneness’ –  it’s perfectly possible to be by yourself, and yet spend the whole day talking to people via Twitter, emails and social media. 

On hibernation days, I try to give myself a clear five or six hours without any form of outside communication. Unplug the phone, turn off the notifications, don’t answer the door.

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Feed your mind

With all that radio silence, there’s a danger for me of falling into a spiral of overthinking. My brain is happiest when it’s humming with activity, so I use hibernation days to feed it full of fiction, podcasts, radio dramas and audiobooks. I tend to avoid anything that requires screen time, like blogs or audiobooks, as I seem to live my life by an LCD screen on a typical day.

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Feed your skin

The state of my skin is often a big stress indicator for me – my lips are the first thing to get dry and sore when I’ve been overdoing it. Once the central heating is on, the wind is blowing and we’re lighting the fire each night it can quickly get aggravated, and whatever I’ve been doing through the summer stops being enough. 

On hibernation days I make a point of resetting how I care for my skin. I’ve recently been sent the Garnier Ultimate Blends Body lotions, which I’ve really loved. They don’t leave a greasy residue on my skin, which is essential – I find the feeling of damp, oily skin so uncomfortable when it’s cold outside.

I tend to layer up my whole body with something really soothing, like the ‘delicate oat’ for dry and sensitive skin, and then add in something like the nourishing ‘mythic olive’ to my shower routine.  The delicate oat is hyperallogenic and suitable for the whole family, too – worth taking note if you have a toddler who’s obsessed with sharing your beauty regime, like I do!

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Natural light

By which I mean both daylight – which we all know is essential for good mood and general wellbeing – but not tricking my brain too much with artificial lighting. Staring at brightly lit screens and staying in brightly lit rooms all evening make it easy to stay busy and active for longer hours. When I turn off the lights and light some candles instead, my body registers the actual light levels and begins to wind down accordingly.

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Create without purpose

I create on a daily basis, taking photographs, writing, styling, and it took me a while to really understand why this doesn’t fill me up the way it used to. The answer is, of course, that once I turned my Instagram account and blog into vital parts of my business, I attached a purpose to this creativity. I still enjoy these acts immensely, but on hibernation days I make a point of creating something for no reason at all. Not because it’ll look nice in a photo; not because it might lead to a blog post. Doodling, colouring in (I advocated colouring for adults long before those fancy pants books came along!) and journaling all give me this boost. And of course, anything that boosts my creativity ends up helping me in my work life in the end, regardless.

What do you do to recharge and reenergise in the colder months? Tell me what works for you in the comments below.

  • I like the sound of your hibernation days. I should really do something similar myself all though I think maybe until the kids are at school that may be near impossible. One can wish right?

  • Paula Solar

    I have this old style Italian coffee pot, I don’t like american coffee machines or nespresso (with or without George Clooney), and that and reading are my comfort rituals. I make myself coffee everyday; a mug with smiling clouds.

    As for my skin essentials, an antiaging day cream with sun protection (this is very important, even in autumn and winter) and natural coconut oil. An American friend suggested it to me a while ago and I’m using it after the shower or everytime I feel that my skin is dry. It works perfectly.

    fun fact: I’m currently studying for the Cambridge certificate proficiency in English exams (in May-June next year) and I find it amusing that I enjoy sitting at my desk and doing my homework. I used to hate homework as a kid!

  • Brenda MacD

    You are talking to the converted. A great weekend for me is a Sunday at home where I don’t leave the house and just be.

  • Ooooh I love this idea! I think I need to start having hibernation days too. I sometimes make a cup of tea and get stuck into a TV series if I know I have enough time as I soon get obsessed and hooked.

    However when life is a little hectic, and I can’t trust myself with Netflix time (I have no self control, so removing temptation is a must.) I take myself off to the sea. Just spending even thirty minutes watching the waves as they hit the shore and listening to the pull back of each wave clears my mind and soothes me making me feel completely rejuvenated and back to me again. :)

    I hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday Sara. I really loved this post and enjoy how you go about sponsored content.
    Peta xx

    http://www.24hoursintoday.com

  • fashion for lunch

    I’m so happy I know more about how you achieve your hibernation days, beautiful post sara :)

    http://www.fashionforlunch.net

  • Elizabeth Dalton

    I’m completely with you on hibernation days. I like to spend as long as possible in cosy clothes (pjs and cardigans) drink warm drinks on tap and just potter around the house with no set plans. Adult down time.

  • I totally agree on hibernation days. It is nice to read how others approach theirs.

    I made myself a brooch that said ‘hibernation day’ which helps me when I have to go outside on the days I don’t want to! My friends all wanted one too, and I have sold them to people all over the world too which is nice to know people everywhere feel the same.