It’s that time of year - winter means Christmas is approaching and celebrations are underway, but the festive season, along with the cheer it brings also comes with cold (often wet) weather and the flu. With the clocks turning back, the days are shorter and may seem bleak. It’s not uncommon to go for a whole working week without seeing any natural sunlight whatsoever. Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive the long cold months.
A good coat, coat and gloves cannot be underestimated, and it’s better to invest in a good pair as soon as possible. You will also have to give in to knitwear (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll soon start getting excited at the prospect of sweater weather). If you’re planning on wearing boots, we suggest ones with a smaller heel and a strong grip - not worth slipping around in the cold in the name of fashion. An umbrella has also stopped being optional and more a necessity, so ensure there’s one in your bag at all times. Trust us, you’ll be surprised how often and easy it is to become that one ‘damp’ smelling person on the tube. Another option is to opt for a waterproof coat with a hood - battling the cold and the wet weather all in one.
Discover your local drinking holes - these are usually made extra cosier for the winter with open fires, and some have blankets ready. There are little things as cosy as mulled wine with friends on a sofa, surrounded by an open fire. Pubs also have wonderful pub food, which is even more appealing in the winter. There’s a reason us Brits love our roasts in the cold season - you’ll need good hearty meals. Find a local pub with a great Sunday roast (or convince your friends to make you one). Our additional tip is ensure you get all the trimmings such as gravy, onions and Yorkshire Puddings. However, don’t let the dark days keep you indoors. Find alternative ways to stay social, and discover winter warming drinks like Irish coffee and a ‘hot toddy’ (also recommended when you’re sick).
Don’t be sad
...or even SAD (Sun Affected Disorder). Eat oily fish, eggs and find good Vitamin D supplements if you are the type that gets sunshine deficiency. A cheeky sun-bed might not hurt from time to time either. Try wearing more colour. It’ll brighten your day and the day of those around you. Bright colours and textures are said to enhance moods so why not give those 50 shades of grey and black a rest and opt for reds, navy and mustard yellows.
Be a tourist
One advantage of the winter days is the selection of Christmas and Winter markets in Europe and especially in London. Southbank is filled with wonderful popups and winter markets that is guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a childhood picture book. The Winter Wonderland held in Hyde Park is highly recommended to get rid of those winter blues (we particular suggest having the Churros with Nutella…). Winter Wonderland combines almost every European Christmas Market influence into a dazzling experience. If you’re planning to go we suggest going after dark… just make sure you wrap up warm!
Head out on Guy Fawkes night and enjoy the fireworks across London or go ice skating. London is beautiful on New Year's Eve. Winter is also the best time to do all those indoor things you meant to in summer such as The British Museum, a West End Show and The Tate Modern. If you are working, make time to go for a at least a five minute walk on your lunch break (that umbrella will come in handy). Fresh air and some natural light can do wonders for the mood and overall state of mind.
Pick up some hobbies
Now is the perfect time to take up that language class, or those salsa lessons you’ve been meaning to. There are always short courses on offer across London - find and nurture a new talent and with it you’ll meet new people. Joining the gym is also a great way to spend that extra energy and warm yourself up. It’ll keep you active and busy over the cold, lazy months. Your summer body will be ready in no time!
Avoid getting ill
Don’t let illness ruin your time - keep up with eating with your veggies and fruits. Pumpkins and leeks are a great source of immunity. However, sadly you are bound to get ill at least once (thank you guy sneezing on the tube repeatedly) so stock up on flu medicine, tissues and Lemsip (that stuff is magic).
Posted in Expat Resources on Nov 16 2017