Proper PJs, sleeping yoga, Netflix and chill: The Be Happy Hotlist has entered hibernation mode
Autumn has arrived and winter is coming. We can't fight it, so instead how about embracing the changing seasons and giving ourselves a chance to recharge at this beautiful time of year?
I interviewed mindfulness expert and therapist Hope Bastine recently for a piece on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and while it's a very real condition that will affect 1 in 15 of us to a pretty serious extent from November to March, Hope says that this time of year can actually be very nourishing for us if we let it.
She says: "Autumn is a bio-psychologically important time of the year. The remarkable season change reminds us of the importance of self-care, of nestling down and preparing to rest and recover. It is a time for us to consciously to shift gears from high performance, high-productivity mode, to rest-and-restore a.k.a. hibernation. Seasons change and so must we change our behaviour in response. This is the essence of self-care."
The 'Be Happy Hotlist' is a weekly dose of five self-loving things that I am doing right now (other than reading) to help me stay positive, centred, healthy and calm. Inspired by the new season and Hope, here are five ways I have been hibernating this week...
1. SLEEPING...on my yoga mat
2. LISTENING...to.sleep meditations
3. EMBRACING...my inner grandma in proper pyjamas
4. WATCHING...Stranger Things 2 (but no bingeing)
5. COOKING...up a storm (without stepping foot in a supermarket)
1. SLEEPING...on my yoga mat
The Good Vibes fitness studios in central London are a favourite of mine and now founder Nahid is taking classes in her west London 'hood which means world-class yoga just minutes from my flat :)
I love the cosy Monday night 'restorative' sessions which feature lots of props and deep Yin poses as well as Yoga Nidra, or 'yoga sleep', a guided meditation to help encourage ultimate rest and cultivate proper stillness.
2. LISTENING...to sleep meditations
Mindfulness expert Hope is also a resident 'sleep psychologist' for hi-tech sleep brand Simba and created a dreamy 'melt into sleep' meditation for our trip to Ibiza with the brand over the summer. I've been listening to this on those days my mind is racing and I can't get to the yoga mat before bed.
3. EMBRACING...my inner 'grandma' in proper pyjamas
I'm having a new love affair with my old satin pyjamas. Long, silky, probably not sexy, but oh so cosy.
4. WATCHING...STRANGER THINGS 2 ON NETFLIX (BUT NO BINGEING)
A date with Netflix does actually mean a chilled one for me (I've been married too long for euphemisms) but I'm trying to keep my viewing down to two back-to-back episodes max after reading this blog post from Neil Strauss on the 'three-hour challenge'.
Strauss is a big advocate of self-care not being selfish and says: "Much of your satisfaction at the end of each day can be attributed to balancing great relationships with how much time you spend focusing on yourself."
For the three-day challenge he breaks our days into blocks:
- 8 hours sleeping
- 8 hours working
- 1 hour eating
- .5 hours doing a daily routine of showering, brushing teeth, picking out clothes, making a daily to-do list
- .5 hours commuting (add 1.5 hours if you live in a city like Los Angeles)
These add up to 18 hours, leaving six hours left in the day for us to do other activities. "The problem is that many of us fall prey to all the time-sucking temptations out there: fatigue, Netflix binges, frivolous Amazon shopping, long phone calls complaining about life, restaurant queuing, social media validation, TV news stress, and simply the over-scheduling of activities we don’t really care to be at," he says.
Instead, we should/could use that time to add value to our lives by exploring and developing ourselves in three areas: creation, learning, and moving. Spend one hour a day cultivating each of these areas and we become better people with fuller, richer lives AND still have three hours to fritter away on time-sucking activities like Netflix, the ultimate hibernator date night, although Strauss does advise: "Don’t binge watch more than two episodes of your favourite Netflix or Hulu series in a row. Spread the joy you get from this entertainment into other days."
5. COOKING...up a storm (without stepping foot in the supermarket)
When in hiberation mode it's important to conserve energy and leave the house as little as possible, I feel. Especially on Sundays. And especially on those Sundays that follow late-night Saturdays.
So hooray for the Hello Fresh food delivery service, three day's worth of food and recipes that arrive at our door on Sunday afternoon and keep us fed in style until mid-week. No fuss, no screaming babies in Waitrose, lots of domestic goddess brownie points.