Carolyn’s winter wellness plan

Need a boost of winter wellness to get you back on top of things? Check out Carolyn's list of pick me ups.

Gillian and I are quite similar, in that we both tend to let ourselves go off the rails a bit before reining ourselves back in healthwise. And, like Gillian shared last week in her winter wellness plan, in my youth that meant going a whole lot further off the rails than I do now. But oh my, did I have some fun!

These days I’m pretty health conscious for a whole lot of reasons. I exercise regularly because it helps contain the anxiety much more than I worry about the size of my arse (although a smaller arse is an excellent by-product of staying sane). And I eat well because it makes me feel good, which my children find really annoying (even more reason to do it, I say!).

I’ve been nursing a back injury since the start of the year, and so my exercise has gone a bit all over the place. I’ve been going for gentle walks and doing a bit of back-specific stretching as directed by my physio, but after being fit enough to run two half marathons last year, this has all been a bit of a come down. I feel a bit like a nanna.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m less active, I tend to eat worse. (Nanna’s love cake!) I realised just how far my standards had relaxed a couple of weeks ago when I found myself munching down on a four-pack of salted caramel Lindt balls while I waited for the kids to finish napping in the car. Mmmmmmm, salted caramel Lindt balls…

Anyhoo, I know Gillian takes a calorie-counting approach and good luck to her, but honestly, I have no idea where she finds the time to work that shit out. I would rather eat my own poop than figure out how many calories are in everything, so I’m doing something different.

This is my winter wellness plan.


  1. Get plenty of sleep – I’ve written before that sleep is the key to everything and I still believe this to be true. A tired person makes bad food choices and will find more excuses not to exercise. A well rested person wants to move and eat celery. Scientific fact.
  2. Seek alternative therapies – this is a personal choice and it’s whatever you’re into, I guess. I am seeing a fantabulous acupuncturist who I trust, and she has helped to boost my winter immunity, and to finally start getting my back a bit better.
  3. Cut out grains – my acupuncturist suggested I try this because she reckons grains can have an inflammatory effect, and as my vertebrae are already inflamed, I’m trying this out. I’ve been doing it for two weeks so far and, not only is the pain in my back half of what it has been for the past four months, but I am also feeling lighter and less bloated. Love it!
  4. Minimise packaged food – I’m trying to follow the JERF (just eat real food) philosophy as much as I possibly can. Sometimes I am awesome, and sometimes I eat chips. But I’m JERFing more than I have been lately, so that’s a win in my books. And I really like to say the word JERFing because it sounds a bit gross. Bonus.
  5. Eat shitloads of fruit and veg – This is actually kind of easy when you cut out grains and packaged foods. Well, unless you want to eat a side of beef for every meal. But I try to ensure I have leafy greens in my breakfast smoothie so I’m starting the day right, and then go from there. I mean, if you eat kale for breakfast, you must have a healthy day, right??
  6. Hit the gym classes – I can’t do the high impact exercise that I usually do, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of exercises I can do. I’m experimenting with different classes until I find the ones I can do that actually work me harder than a nice stroll, but so far spinning is great, and so is yoga and pilates (both mat and reformer). I’m still doing the walking but it’s now one of a whole lot of exercises I’m doing rather than the focus. What I love about gym classes when I’m at a low ebb is that I only have to scrape up enough motivation to get out of bed, get dressed and turn up. Once I’m there, motivation is someone else’s job which is just as well right now.
  7. Cut down on drinking – like Gillian, I have one day a week where I can have a few drinks. I also celebrate hump day and encourage myself to get through the rest of the week with a glass or two of red on a Wednesday evening. I used to drink white during the week but it really is the junk food of the wine world. At least with red, I’m getting antioxidants – and like dark chocolate, I can stop at just one or two. White makes me want to dance on the tables and get out the crazy straw. Fun, sure, but not constructive in a health sense, and the next day is usually not my finest work either. I’m getting too old to bounce back with any conviction.
  8. Meditate daily – when I meditate regularly, I find myself thinking more clearly, feeling more positive and making better decisions. Win, win and win! I don’t like to brag, but I’ve been getting quite good at meditating lately, and I am really feeling the benefits of a calmer and clearer brain.

So there you go, that’s my version of a winter wellness plan. Take from it anything you think will help you, and feel free to discard anything you think is absolute dogs bollocks. Me? I’m feeling better already!

Which of those ideas do you think could help you? And which do you think are a gigantic crock of shit?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I’ve been doing some very similar things here, and feeling really good for it. Here’s to a healthy winter!

  • I’ve fallen so far off the wagon, I’ve lost it somewhere in the car park.
    I’m heading to Sydney tomorrow morning for 5 days of what I know will be plenty of food and drinks and socialising (oh yeah, and work – cos that’s the actual reason I’m going!) so I’m just going to cut myself some slack and get back on track as of next week.
    The things that work for me? Getting up early, eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and herbal tea, exercising regularly, being mindful and positive, and appreciating all that I do have. x

  • Good on you! After getting sick and having asthma attack me viciously I spent weeks on steroids and months later I am only just getting back to not being breathless all the time. So I finally went out for a run and it felt soooo good and I was all pumped to finally get moving again … and I got a cold. My plan is as simple as staying healthy, no matter what it takes, so I survive winter! Right now that means, not over committing, a box of soft tissues and a glass of red.

  • All great, I used to be fitter, I used to be more disciplined, I used to be thinner – now I try for moderation I can maintain – if I go off the rails a bit I pull back for a couple of weeks (starting tomorrow again) to keep it in check. Probably don’t get enough sleep though, too much reading favourite blogs! X

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