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