Winter self-care ideas for mental health
I don’t know about you, but for me when the temperatures plummet I find that my mood plummets right along with the weather. That is why I try to have some cozy mood-lifting winter self-care ideas to keep me happy and healthy
The shorter days, the gloom, and the lack of sunshine cause some people to experience seasonal affective disorder.
But while winter’s gloom can be hard on mental health, there are still some great things about winter we should not forget.
It is a time to go inwards a bit and rest, ideally. Animals hibernate. And all of nature actually rests. So should we. Winter is a time to look inward and really connect with yourself and your soul.
Besides winter can be so serene and peaceful, and beautiful. Even magical. For some reason, it always seems a little quiet and tranquil on snowy days. Have you noticed it?
To ward off the winter blues and thrive in spite of winter, self-care, and consciously choosing actions that elevate mood and sense of wellbeing are essential.
Simple winter self-care actions like changing your decor even just a bit, and tweaking habits, and routines can enhance your mood and your life in general.
In taking the time to care for yourself you can rejuvenate and invigorate your spirits, and improve your mental health as well as physical health with these winter self-care ideas
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This winter you can choose to slow down and focus on things that soothe your soul, and those that ease and nourish your mind.
So let’s dive right into these self-care ideas.
Journal:Take Time To Reflect
In the quiet hush of winter, there’s something profoundly therapeutic about putting pen to paper. Journaling isn’t just about documenting your day; it’s a voyage into the depths of your thoughts and feelings. Imagine your journal as a dear friend, a confidant who listens without judgment. Pour out your dreams, frustrations, and gratitude.
Reflect on the challenges you’ve overcome and the lessons you’ve learned. Winter, with its introspective ambiance, provides the perfect backdrop for this soul-searching journey. Embrace the warmth of self-reflection and let your journal be the canvas where your emotions paint the story of your heart.
You can also start a gratitude journal. Write down three things you’re grateful for every day. Focusing on the positive aspects of life can improve your overall outlook.
Take time and reflect. Look back on your day, week, month, or year. It is a good time to appreciate how far you have come. What have you achieved, and what went well? What didn’t go as planned, and what did you learn, what can you change?
Practice gratitude and look back at the bounty and blessings you have. Who are the people in your life who have impacted your life positively? Appreciate them.
Any regrets, well, they’re part of life. Look them in the eye, take note of lessons learned, and vow to do better. And decide how. Start journaling to help you really look deep, and around, and let go and move forward.
Journaling is a great way to enhance personal growth and development. Using journal prompts can help a lot in guiding your reflections and providing insight as well as helping you to let go of things you cannot change. That brings acceptance and peace.
Try these journal prompts for reflection and self-love to get you started.
So, even when the weather is chilly and things are busy around the holiday, even when you may be feeling down in the dumps, there are still good things you have. You just have to pay attention to really see.
By pausing long enough to appreciate that you woke up this day, that you have a place to live, that you have food, and maybe even enough money to do what you need, you will start to feel happier. The winter sadness will abate through the power of gratitude.
At the end of the day, as the snow falls outside get yourself nice and comfortable and write away your cares. Write too about the good things.
This will bring you a sense of balance making your world less gloomy.
Get Light Exposure
The darker days of winter can make you feel more tired and moody or sad. Sun exposure in the cold winter season is a vital component of self-care, a natural elixir for your body and soul.
It’s a mood booster, and a great way to get a natural dose of vitamin D. Vitamin deficiency is associated with depression, many research studies have found. And is crucial for a strong immune system needed to ward off colds and flu that are common in the winter months.
So, whenever the sun graces your winter day, seize the moment. Open the blinds first thing in the morning and bring in some light.
Take a leisurely stroll in a nearby park, bask in the sun’s glow, and let its radiance thaw away the winter blues. Find a sunny spot by the window, and let the sunlight stream in as you sip your morning tea or read your favorite book.
If you can, engage in outdoor activities, whether it’s building a snowman, going for a hike, or simply sitting on a park bench soaking in the sunlight. If time allows especially if you work at home take a morning walk.
A morning walk can help you increase your energy and lift your mood. And if you have to spend the day at work, going for a walk during your lunchtime is a great way to take advantage of available natural light.
Let the sun’s warmth be a reminder that even in the coldest of times, there’s a source of natural, healing energy just waiting to embrace you.
So, in the heart of winter, don’t just stay indoors. Step outside, feel the sun on your face and let its gentle warmth remind you that even in the chilliest of days, there’s a sunbeam of happiness waiting to touch your life.
Embrace the glow, and let the winter sun be a part of your self-care ritual.
If you can’t go out due to the weather, using a lightbox can help give you a dose of light and minimize the blues.
This is the perfect time to unleash your inner artist and let your creativity flow. Crafting during winter is like capturing the essence of the season in your hands.
Whether you’re making delicate snowflakes from paper, knitting a scarf in vibrant colors, or designing homemade winter-themed cards, each creation is a testament to your imagination.
The best part? It’s not about perfection; it’s about the joy of creating something uniquely yours. So, gather your supplies, play your favorite tunes, and let the creative energy of winter inspire your masterpiece.
Practice Protective Self Care
Schedule a physical if you haven’t had one already this year, and also arrange to see a mental health professional, someone you can talk to as a guide if you are feeling stuck or blue or have areas that you are not able to handle on your own.
Protective care is also making sure your immunizations are up to date.
Getting your flu shot and generally being more mindful about hygiene and the surface you touch is advised during the winter months.
So many people are sick and it is best, of course, that you don’t catch the flu. Also, wash your hands more. You are trying to improve your mood. Here are a few more ways to keep yourself from getting the dreaded cold and flu.
Opt for a robust approach to maintaining and enhancing immune health. When your body feels great and energetic you will feel better, even when it is chilly, snowing, or sleeting.
Seek mental health counseling
The winter month and the cold drearly dark days, the holiday season can take a toll on your mental health. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean everyone is all jolly. People struggle with a lot of things this time of year.
So dont struggle alone. Speak to a therapist and get mental health counseling. Sometimes we all can use some help from a mental health professional We all need support sometimes.
Shopping is always fun, at least for most people. If you can, a bit of shopping is good winter self-care. So if your budget allows go and buy some cozy coats, fluffy sweaters, fuzzy socks, and comfy boots.
And there are so many cute and comfy winter outfits to choose from. Winter clothes can be so chic. Just step out in style and this alone will lift your spirit.
Get some warm new PJs, also, and slip them on after a nice warm scented bath. Really so comfy! You will feel renewed. It’s like having a spa in your own house.
There is beauty in the spirit of Christmas especially if you are shopping is not hurried. Go out shopping with someone you love, and take time to stop at a quiet cafe and have some gourmet coffee or hot cocoa. Of course, that just makes shopping even better.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Sometimes even when you are trying to eat healthily, you may still have deficiencies in some nutrients.
And this may be due to many factors like whether you take other medications that can interfere with absorption, and even at times, it is just that fruits and vegetables may not be as nutritious as they once were due to changes in the soil.
One vitamin supplement you may need during the winter months and beyond is vitamin D supplements.
Check your levels with a doctor. Many people are vitamin D deficient and that often causes many health issues including chronic fatigue, immune health issues, hormonal problems, and weak bones.
Vitamin D research shows that it does a lot of things in the body including preventing anxiety and depression.
So if you tend to have SADS, a deficiency will only make the situation worse.
A deficiency is even more likely if you are overweight, take certain medications, or have dark skin.
Other vitamins you may need include:
- Vitamin B complex. B vitamins are important for energy production, and some like B 6 are also involved in nerve function, therefore, affecting how you feel. Vitani B 9 folate, is especially important in brain function.
- It is required in the metabolic steps leading up to the synthesis of happy neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and folate deficiency can cause an accumulation of homocysteine a neurotoxin, and cause brain fog or even depression.
- This scenario is likely if one suffers from a very important gene required in the folate methylation called MTFR, or taking medications such as Cabamazepime for seizures which can make folate and B12 ineffective.
- Please note that it is important to make sure you speak to your doctor before supplementing, and that is better to avoid folic acid supplements.
- In cases of MTFR supplement with L methyl folate is recommended and most importantly eating foods high in natural methyl folate such as leafy greens, and legumes.
You can exercise indoors if you choose or if the weather is too bad. It’s important not to neglect exercise.
You need exercise now more than before because moving your body is a great way to boost energy and improve your mental health.
The short days and chilly weather can make you feel down in the dumps and sluggish.
But bundle try and up anyway and take a nice brisk short walk. Try and focus on the natural world and lose yourself in it.
Breathe in that crisp fresh air, and feel how exhilarating it is. A brisk walk in the wintry air is a wonderful way to boost your energy levels, as well as your mood
Listen to your favorite tune to make your work even more enjoyable.
Nothing like a little uplifting music to lift the spirit and the walk will do you so much good. or to an inspiring podcast. Or go for some funny podcast and get some entertainment and exercise for an all-around feel-good neurotransmitter boost.
And once your blood starts circulating again, and those endorphins kick in you will feel better and your mood and energy will receive a much-needed boost. Moving your body can make a huge difference in your mood and ward off the winter blues.
This is a great way to lift your spirits especially if winter tends to make you feel a bit blue.
The exercise boosts the circulation of oxygen to your brain and the whole body and gives you more energy as well.
Getting good clean fresh air and a change of scenery is important to your well-being as well and great for self-care.
Keep Your Friendly Circle Close
You may not feel like socializing during the cold months. But isolation can make winter blues even worse.
Part of the winter time is also the holiday season and can be frantic and busy as well as stressful.
But as part of your self-care routine, keep your friends and loved ones close. Take time to talk to a friend or a family member on the phone, and better yet get together and have a good time.
Go to the movies, have dinner, go to coffee shops, or shop for gifts together.
We are supposed to be social and when we get too busy and ignore relationships our mental health suffers.
Try to clear a bit of your calendar and schedule that time with a friend or two or more.
Be social for real, away from social media. Spending time with friends renews your spirit and is essential for your mental health.
Of course, if you are an introvert, you have to be careful with how you spend your time. So do as much as you can handle, but a really good relationship with some depth is good for all.
Nourish Your Body
Nourishing your body with healthy wholesome food is great winter self-care.
Eating healthy will boost your immune system, so you can avoid the pesky flu and winter colds this season.
Plan your meals as the winter season can get pretty busy in preparation for the holiday so you dont routinely resort to takeout and fast food. It is official soup season.
A warm bowl of soup is the perfect food for cold weather.
Try some nutritious soups and stews brimming with vegetables to get all the goodness of vital nutrition to keep you healthy and protect your immune health throughout the winter and beyond.
You can make nutritious and healthy comfort food without spending hours in the kitchen Check out these healthy, comfy soups and stews that will keep you feeling nice and warm.
Have A Winter self-care Routine
Having a morning routine and a night routine will help you feel better.
Your mind works better with a structure that allows for ease in doing the things you have to do every day.
And routines help you avoid and minimize stress. So start implementing routines to prevent chaos and things getting out of hand.
Make sure your routine allows for time to wake up and take care of yourself without being in a great rush.
That’s where the evening routine and morning routines meet, for what you do the night before will impact your mornings.
So it is important to have a night routine that includes focusing on your goals/ and to-dos for the next day, laying out your clothes and allowing yourself enough time to disengage with social media, optimizing your sleep so you wake up ready knowing just what you need to do that day.
This will eliminate morning stress and set the tone for the whole day. A smooth day will make the winter days much less dreary. And besides, you need energy for all the parties and the shopping.
You want to make sure you have the energy to do what your day calls for.
When your night routine serves for an easy night, and good sleep it will turn into a calm morning.
Having a routine helps you feel better all day, and even when things go wrong, you will have more mental resources to respond without being overwhelmed.
Don’t Go Overboard With Gift Buying
Hey, I know. It is easy to get caught up in the spirit and want to buy gifts for everyone you know. It is best not to spend money you don’t have because doing so, will only make you feel worse.
Give people the gift of your presence and time spent together and really being there with them.
Focusing too much on gifts can cause more problems down the road when money for important things is not there.
Clean Up And Detox Your Life
Winter is a time of renewal. You see the trees have shed their leaves, and the animal hibernates and conserves their energy. We ought to do the same. We need to get rid of things we don’t need or use that just clutter our spaces.
As we turn inwards, we need to clear clean, and organize.
A clean orderly environment is so soothing and therapeutic. Take this time ahead of spring to clean donate things you don’t need and really have order in your living spaces.
When we live in chaos, it messes with our mental health.
Think about it, have you ever seen a happy hoarder? This will create room for you if possible to buy new comfy things such as new sweaters, coats, and throw pillows to up the comfort and keep your home restful.
Keep your house cozy, warm, and beautiful with cozy winter decor, and aromatic soothing fragrances that invite your mind to rest.
This also means simplifying your life and only keeping what is necessary and bringing you joy.
Go through your inbox also and unsubscribe to the emails that no longer serve you and online relationships that just clog your feed. Unfollow those. Keep your social feed clean and inspirational.
Detoxing all the areas of your life social, physical technological, and environmental are important ways to practice winter self-care.
I tend not to drink enough water when the temperature drops. And I feel it. So I am trying to remember and make an effort to stay hydrated.
Dehydration affects your mood and can make you feel sadder, fatigued, and foggy.
It’s better to stay away from sugary drinks as they will just dehydrate you.
Drink plenty of water and if you have problems with the taste try to add some fruit to the water for a taste that way you also get some vitamins. Get a lovely-looking water infuser and you will drink more water and stay hydrated.
Besides it looks so pretty you will want to reach out for that beautiful-looking H2O.
Water does so many things in your body including taking out toxins and other metabolic functions that will make you feel at your best.
But of course, if you are on a fluid restriction due to a medical condition such as congestive heart failure or kidney failure, then observe your doctor’s guidelines. Additionally, too much water too fast can cause water intoxication. So dont over do drinking water.
Just make sure to drink enough. 8 glasses of water is a good amount throughout the day.
Have A Sleep Schedule
Sleep is so important for healthy winter self-care. Good sleep habits are essential and it is one simple way to practice winter self-care.
The good thing is the nights are longer so enjoy more sleep.
Sleep has the purpose of renewing, and cleansing your cells, especially the brain, and when we skimp on it your health, mood, and productivity suffer.
With the days being short, dark, gloomy, and dreary, adding sleep deprivation to the mix will only make seasonal blueness much worse.
But if you have followed a healthy night routine and slept well and deeply, you will wake up feeling renewed, energetic, and ready for your big to-dos, may it be braving the malls, or going to work.
You will feel invigorated and unbothered by the winter blues, despite the cold and short days. If you have difficulty sleeping due to insomnia, and a busy mind that won’t quiet down, or anxiety, you can learn to naturally calm your mind.
Related: Simple calming bedtime routine for anxiety
One thing you may want to do is make sure in your night routine, you have a slowing down process that involves, taking a nice relaxing bath.
I like to use essential oils in mine such as lavender essential oils, and you can mix it up with other oils such as frankincense.
Including a cup of bath salts, such as these makes your bath so blissful, and when you wear a nice nightgown and a fleecy robe and slide into bed you will sleep like a baby.
Also to maximize sleep, don’t get tempted to spend hours on your phone while you lay in bed.
You by now know that blue light is not good for melatonin production.
Shut off your phone at least two hours before bed. Now though you can turn off the blue light and put your phone on night mode.
But why not just put it down and read a good relaxing book instead?
This will relax you so much more and not give you stress as social media can at times.
Practice Bedtime affirmations and morning affirmations
Affirmations are a great way to center yourself and boost your resilience, emotional health, and mood during this cold dark season.
Say affirmations as part of your daily routine before bed and in the morning so you go to bed feeling at peace and relaxed.
Affirmations before bed target our subconscious mind.
They gently guide your thoughts and emotions, steering them towards positivity and self-love.
As you affirm your worth, your dreams, and your gratitude for the day that passed, you’re not just letting go of the day’s worries; you’re nurturing your spirit.
You’re allowing your subconscious to manifest positivity, ensuring that your dreams are painted with hues of hope and confidence.
These affirmations become the stars guiding your subconscious preparing you to wake up brimming with purpose and positivity.
Affirmations in the morning are like setting the tone for the day, shaping your mindset to embrace the challenges and joys that lie ahead.
When you affirm your strength, your abilities, and your capacity to find joy in the little things, you’re not just uttering words; you’re summoning the warrior within you.
You’re inviting the universe to conspire in your favor, to align circumstances to support your dreams.
These morning affirmations become the morning dew on your spirit, refreshing and revitalizing, empowering you to face the day with grace and determination.
Stress can easily escalate in the wintertime. It is important to put in place systems to manage stress.
We have to be intentional in this.
Granted things will come and can upset your equilibrium, but if you are prepared then you can decrease stress.
As mentioned already one way is to make sure you have restful routines that allow you to get ready for the day at ease.
Also making sure you have good restful sleep will allow you to have better responses to stressful situations so they don’t become overwhelming.
And sometimes just being a positive person goes a long way.
Every situation doesn’t have to be taken as if it is the end of the world.
Learn responses that are helpful even in bad situations. Even saying to yourself, this too will pass, or I can do this, or let’s see how we can overcome or What can I learn from this as well as practicing positive self-talk.
I am learning that part of the things that stress us is our negative attitudes and negative self-talk that we become so used to.
When bad things happen, do you say, nothing good ever happened to me or this was bound to happen?
The main thing is to make sure you take time to unwind and rest and do things that renew you refresh you and make you feel good.
- watch TV/ movies
- Practice yoga and mindfulness
- Avoid being caught up in people’s drama
- stay away from people who stress and impact you negatively
Related posts: The Best Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally
How to Get Rid of Negativity and Find Joy
Take Good Care Of Your Skin
Wintertime can be very drying for your skin, and skin can get dull and lifeless.
So it is important to keep skin hydrated.
Make sure you are cleaning your skin properly and exfoliating to get rid of dead dry skin and moisturize.
And as part of a skincare routine make sure that you stay hydrated, and nourish your body. Skin health starts from the inside out
Related: Best habits for glowing skin
Indulge In Some Warm Cozy Drinks
There is nothing that speaks comfort and coziness as coming home from the frigid cold temperatures to a hot drink.
Try a rich decadent mug of hot chocolate. Or coffee.
A warm beverage warms your body and your soul.
Whether it’s hot chocolate, a cup of coffee, or herbal teas are great, a warm drink is simple but so comforting.
I especially love tea
Lately, I have been into Twinings English Breakfast Tea.
This tea is so smooth, and soothing, leaving me feeling on top of the world, and with no jitters.
The L-theanine in tea calms your nerves and mellows you yet energizes you. It is a great combo—tea superpower I say.
If black tea is too much for you, try this camomille night cup. It is rich and so soothing.
Another great warm winter drink or any-time drink is golden milk chai. And it is easy to make.
All you need is some ginger, about a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, a d some honey, and Almond or real milk.
I sometimes add a pinch of cardamom powder and I bring it all to a boil, add the honey, and – bliss! Drink golden milk after your nighttime bath before bed and you will have the best sleep ever.
These are also great ways to stay hydrated as staying hydrated in the winter can be challenging.
I know that I tend to drink less water when it is cold, and that can impact my health.
So make any of these warm drinks or your favorite warm drink and cozy up.
Practice A Relaxing Hobby
A great way to practice winter self-care is to do something you really enjoy such as a soothing hobby. Enjoy some quiet time.
You can try new hobbies or get back to an old hobby as part of winter self-care.
I love knitting and it is the most relaxing hobby ever. I am going to do more of it this winter. and it is so satisfying to make something by hand and see it come along and you have a creation of something cozy.
Other great hobbies for the wintertime include crotcheting, another really great hobby, and the best part is now if you are good you can sell your crafts.
Reading is awesome for self-care. As Alice Hoffman said, “Books or even better books wash away from the soul the dust of every day may well be the only true magic.”
And I love reading as a way to relax especially on those crazy cold days or nights while the snow falls outside. Is there anything better than a cup of hot cocoa and a good book?
If I could read all day I would for me reading is the ultimate therapy and the best escape, the education, traveling without leaving my house, and so many experiences. Here are a few more of my favorites.
Americanah By Chimamanda Adichie
I loved reading this book. A fresh perspective, a bold and beautiful way of looking at diversity, and letting us all be understood. You may know everyone hates being misunderstood.
This book offers an alternative point of view and the danger of a single story. We all are more than what meets the eye.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center- is feel-good fun and inspiring.
Just get your warm cozy blankie relax on your couch piled high with plush soft pillows and enjoy a good book. It is just heavenly.
The ultimate in self-care in my opinion.
Any book by Phillippa Gregory- I am a sucker for historical romance novels, my favorite is The Other Boleyn Girl, but really all her books are amazing, a trip back in time, especially of that notorious King Henry the 8th and his 8 wives.
Final words about winter self-care ideas for mental health
So there you go! A fun list of winter self-care ideas. Winter doesn’t have to be dull, gloomy, and depressing. Shine your own kind of light and sunshine by practicing soothing winter self-care.
Get cozy and do something that brings you joy. Enjoy a slower pace, and find inner warmth, peace, and renewal
And, here’s to wishing you lovely cozy winter days and nights!
Let me know in a comment below how you deal with the cold winter months.
Are you a winter person? And power to you if you are! And if not, how do you endure the cold months? What is your best form of winter health care?
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