From lifestyle and nutrition to movement and self-care, here’s how our Creative Lead, Lucy, keeps her wellness in check throughout the festive season…
Starting the Day: Morning Walk and Breakfast
My day always starts with a walk and coffee. Working remotely means you skip out the commute, which often results in moving less and being outside less. Starting my day with my own fake commute means that by the time I’m back and sitting at my laptop, I’m more prepared (and caffeinated!) for the day to begin. Even though it’s bitterly cold this December, my morning walk is a non-negotiable in my routine, so I’ll always layer up with my Sweaty Betty thermals and a cashmere beanie.
I may be one of those people who has the luxury of time in the mornings, and therefore always whip up a breakfast to give me the best start to the day. However, we have plenty of recipes on the FS Blog that can be prepped the night before, to grab and go when you’re on the way out of the door - no excuses. These are my go-to when I’m travelling.
When time is on my side, it’s either Nairns Flatbreads (they have a Great Taste award, and you’ll see why) with a layer of smashed avocado, smoked salmon, scrambled egg and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds for some added healthy fats, or a hearty bowl of hormone balancing oats (ft our FS Vegan Protein Blend). It’s so important to ensure you’re adding all the essential nutrients to your regular bowl of porridge to ensure it can keep you going until lunch - Emily English, FS ambassador and registered nutritionist, breaks it down so well in her recent Nutritionist’s Guide to Porridge, plus I’m obsessed with her recipe.
Essential Nutrients: Vitamin D and Probiotics
It’s usually only just getting light by the time I’m having breakfast, which means my body definitely isn’t getting enough Vitamin D. Which means it’s an essential part of my supplements routine - in fact, it should be for everyone, as the NHS recommends everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter, due to deficiencies. I use liquid Vitamin D drops, as they take less time to break down and be absorbed, and then take my Free Soul Probiotics too. Your gut is linked to everything, your brain, your heart, your liver and so on, so taking a probiotic has really transformed my overall wellness by keeping the good and bad bacteria in balance.
Time Management: To-Do Lists and Time Blocking
The working day usually begins with checking in on the FS DMs and going over my emails. I’ll then set myself up with a to-do list for that day. I love time blocking, to ensure I’m really making the most of my full day and getting all my necessary tasks done - especially in the run up to Christmas, where things begin to get hectic.
Boosting Immune System: FS-Greens and Refined Sugar-Free Snacks
Mid-morning I’ll usually give myself a boost by having my FS-Greens - personally, I love adding them to a shake, but they can go straight into water too. It’s such a key time of year to support your immune system, and your gut health plays a key role in this. With 21 different active ingredients, I know I’m giving my body so much diversity and goodness in just one teaspoon. Even though I try to get all the nutrition I need through my diet, it’s always nice to know you’re covered - I like to think of my FS-Greens as my nutritional safety blanket.
The festive season is synonymous with sweet treats which can cause havoc for our blood sugar levels. Although at FS (and personally!) indulgence is not just allowed, it’s encouraged over Christmas, I try to keep my mid-week snacks refined sugar free and balanced for happy hormones and blood sugar levels.
At the moment I have a constant supply of banana halves topped with almond butter, dark chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt and cinnamon in my fridge. Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and one of the most important nutrients for female health. Our levels fluctuate with the menstrual cycle and are very low just prior to menstruation - low magnesium is therefore a contributing factor in symptoms of PMS.
Healthy fats like nut butters will help to trigger the release of your satiation hormone, whilst also positively impacting ovulation, your mood, fertility and your cycle, whilst cinnamon, is rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, to boost your metabolism and aid digestion.
Not forgetting my Pip and Nut advent calendar, which is amazingly gluten free, dairy free, vegan and tastes amazing. I’m not sure how I’ll curb my daily nut butter cup habit once January comes around.
Winter Lunches and Dinners: Soup and Hearty Meals
When it comes to lunchtime, winter and soup are synonymous in our house. I love the Food Medic’s recent Carrot and Sweet Potato recipe, which supports the normal functioning of your immune system. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, fibre and antioxidants, and it tastes delicious.
Dinner time is a similar story. Each winter always brings with it the resurgence of my slow cooker. Curries, stews, broths and hearty, wholesome meals always make an appearance, but I’m a particular fan of Zoe Antonia’s Anti-Inflamatory Coconut Chicken Curry - if you’re looking for a hearty, hormone balancing recipe, you won’t be disappointed.
Movement is a non-negotiable in my day, so I’ll always find time to fit in a Pilates or head to the gym. I love trying out new classes and disciplines, FS-8 recently opened up near our office and offers a brand new take on reformer Pilates, and back home I’ve been dabbling in barre classes at The Barre - it’s certainly been a humbling experience, but something new that I’m determined to master!
It wouldn’t be right to take you through the ways I love to ‘stay well’ throughout the festive season without talking about sleep. My winddown routine always begins with a herbal tea - usually mint, ginger or Twinings’ Unwind blend, (I’m not sure if it’s the ingredients or the act of taking a moment to relax with a hot tea, but it instantly creates a sense of calm), followed by my skincare routine, and reading in bed.
Sleep plays such a fundamental role in practically all of our bodily functions - particularly the immune system. So, you’ll find me tucked up by 10pm, ensuring I get my 8 hours. With this time of year known for colds, flus and illnesses, sleep can actually promote your body’s cytokine production, and these compounds have a protective effect on your immune system, helping fight inflammation and infection from within.
Creating a night time routine has not only transformed my night time routine but my sleep quality too. My actions are now signals to my body that the working day is done, relax my parasympathetic nervous system and help to aid a better night’s sleep. With stress often reaching an all-time high around the festive season, it’s so important to still set aside the you time amongst your diary full of social occasions.
After all, is there really anything more festive than curling up by the fire, watching the holiday and drinking hot chocolate? (a hormone balancing one, at that).