I’m not one for hardcore January resolutions but this past month I’ve been implementing a few small lifestyle changes and been a little more mindful and considered in my daily self-care routines.
They say it takes at least 21 days for habits to form, so I didn’t want to tempt fate and write this post too early in the month, but now that we’re almost into February (ooh, hello birthday!) I’m ready to share some of the new things I’ve been trying and commitments I want to make going forward..
or in other words, sleep!
I’m not someone who struggles massively with my sleep habits thankfully, but I’ve made a few adjustments to my routine over the past year as I’ve settled into my new home and created a sleep sanctuary for myself, and have seen a huge difference in my overall wellbeing as a result.
I’m currently reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker*, which examines the new science of sleep and dreams and has been a fantastic eye-opener into the vital role that sleep plays in our lives; resetting the brain and recalibrating every system in the body, night after night. Did you know that routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer? Or that insufficient sleep can be a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease?
Both the World Health Organisation and the National Sleep Foundation stipulate an average of eight hours sleep per night for adults, and I’ve made a conscious effort this month to ensure I’m in bed by 10pm (I know, what a nana!) and asleep by half past, so that my 6.30am alarm is a good eight hours away. I’m lucky that I work freelance, and frequently from the comfort of my home, so if for any reason I’m headed to bed a little later I can adjust my morning alarm accordingly to still get the prescribed 8 hours.
Having a fixed routine has definitely been a great lifestyle update, and I’ve also been implementing some of the tips I was given on my recent sleep retreat, including limiting my use of devices after 9pm and instead spending time reading on the sofa to help my mind to wind down, whilst indulging in an evening mug of hot (oat) milky chai tea. As a result, I find myself falling asleep far quicker and not waking up as much (or at all) during the night. I’m also now finding myself waking just before my alarm, full of anticipation and readiness to start the day..
To complement my new sleep regime, I’m also trying to keep my body nourished on the inside by being mindful of the vitamins and supplements I’m taking. While I’ve adopted the sentiment of “eating better than I did throughout December”, I’m not one who finds full-on prescriptive diets easy-to-stick to. Not eating dairy is a challenge in itself, but one I’m able to commit to because I see such an improvement in my skin by doing so, and as a result of restricting dairy from my diet I frequently find myself happily going ‘accidentally vegan’ for days at a time.
It’s small changes to my daily routine that I find easiest to stick to, and this January I decided to start my day with a glass of Benefit drinks juice* or Lean Greens food supplement*, and end my day with a couple of Beauty Sleep capsules*, which are formulated with a blend of lemon balm and chamomile to aid a restful and natural night’s sleep, as well as magnesium and zinc to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
I’ve been testing out the full range of Benefit drinks this month and, whilst they are all delicious, I would definitely recommend the beetroot Vitality as my favourite, rich in nitrates and antioxidants and blended with apple juice for a rounded earthy flavour, designed to improve your stamina and circulatory health. I’ve also been trialling the Lean Greens Super Greens powder, adding a heaped scoop to a glass of cold water in the morning and knocking it back. I know, I know, it looks a little vile but truth be told it looks way worse than it tastes and I actually found it surprisingly palatable from the very first glass. Packed full of wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella and alfalfa, it’s become an unexpectedly welcome start to my day and I’m definitely a convert 3 weeks into the routine.
As you know, I’ve discovered so many wonderful Manchester boutiques and Northern-based design brands in the short time I’ve been living up here (in fact, my posts sharing a few of my faves were the most popular of all my content last year), and I’m sure that there are many, many more fantastic gems to unearth. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best my blog can represent my current lifestyle and have alluded to the fact that you’ll be seeing a lot more Northern-based content in this little corner of cyberspace in 2018 – so watch this space!
I’ve already added a few lovely pieces from local brands to my home in the past few months, including hanging bedside lights from Urban Cottage Industries*, striped bedlinen from Christy* and a beauuutiful light as air, soft as a feather chunky knit blanket from Pomme Pomme shop, run by my lovely friend Clare.
The plug-in lights from Urban Cottage Industries – based in Hebden Bridge, just outside Manchester – were a fantastic find as they are fully customisable; you can build your own design online choosing every single component right down to the plug type, colour and style of the cable, the lamp holder and the bulb. I’m so pleased with how my design —using hessian fabric cable and a pear led-filament bulb— turned out!
Continuing on the theme of ‘local love’, I’m also planning to discover even more of Manchester’s incredible foodie scene this year, and share some of my discoveries here on the blog – would you like that?
January has been a great month for finally visiting some of the haunts I’ve frequently been recommended in the city centre, as many have been operating 50% off deals to entice customers through the doors during a typically slow and frugal month. I’ve enjoyed a Sunday lunch at Rosy Lee, coffee and vegan cake at Teacup Kitchen, brunch at Albert’s Schloss, and a fun lunchtime date at Soup Kitchen in the past few weeks – marvelling at the stunning decor in many of the venues and making plans for review visits in the near future.
I’m always keen for more Manchester foodie recommendations or coffee/lunch/dinner/cocktail dates, so if you’re in the city and want to catch up just holler!
So there you have it, my ‘resolutions’ for the new year.
Did you make any this year, and more importantly, have to stuck to them thus far?
Let me know in the comments below!
Some items in this post have been gifted and are denoted with an asterisk. I only ever feature brands and products that I truly love and use in my daily life. All imagery © Kate Baxter.