I don’t know about you, but for me when the temperatures plummet I find that my mood plummets right along with the weather.
And there are many people who find winter frigid days bring along a sadness and low mood. The shorter days, the gloom and lack of sunshine cause some People to experience the seasonal affective disorder.
But winter should be restful. Animals hibernate. All of nature actually rests. So should we. It is a time too look inwards and really connect with your self 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 is essential.
Simple self-care actions like rearranging our environments, tweaking habits, choices, and routines can enhance your mood and indeed your life in general. In taking the time to care for yourself you can rejuvenate and invigorate your spirits, improve your mental health as well as physical health.
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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.
During these cold gloomy months, chose to light up your spirits and infuse happiness into your every day by practicing winter self-care.
And to get you started, here are a few ways to practice winter self-care.
Take time to reflect
Take time to rest, 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? Take time to feel proud of your achievements as well as you look back.
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 to 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, 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 dark days can make you feel more tired and moody or sad. Open the blinds first thing in the morning and bring in some light. Better still take advantage of the sun if and when it does shine and go outside. 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.
The good thing is that you can also get your vitamin D first thing. 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.
If you cant go out due to the weather, using a lightbox can help give you a dose of light and minimize the blues.
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 best, of course, you didn’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.
Shopping for new winter clothes, and house furnishings can be so fun and therapeutic. if your budget allows go and buy some comforts coats sweaters fuzzy socks and comfy boots? I am not much for fashion. I like it but the comfort but looking nice is nice too. And there are so many cute and comfy winter outfits to chose from. Winter clothes can be so chic. Just step out in style and this alone will lift your spirit.
Get some warm new PJ, also and slip them on after a nice warm scented bath. Really so 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 making shopping even better.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Sometimes even when you are trying to eat healthily, you may still have deficiencies in some nutrients. And his 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 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.
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 is showing 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. And a deficiency is even more likely if you are overweight, take certain medications, or have dark skin.
- 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 important eating foods high in natural methyl folate such as leafy greens, and legumes.
The short days and chilly weather can make you feel down in the dumps and sluggish. But bundle up and take a nice brisk walk. Try and focus in the natural world and lose yourself in it, Breath in deep that air, and fill the exhilaration you feel. A brisk walk in the wintry air can be very energizing and good for your mental health.
Listen to your favorite tunes. Nothing like a little uplifting music to lif the spirit and the walk will do you so much good.or to an inspiring podcast. Or go fo some funny podcast and get some entertainment and exercise for all-around feel-good neurotransmitters 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.
This 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
This time of the year can be frantic and busy. But as part of your self-care routine, keep your friends and loved one close. Take time to talk to them on the phone, and better yet get together and have some good time.
Go to the movies, or have dinner, go to coffee shops or shopping for gifts together. We are supposed to be social and when we get too busy and ignore relationships our mental health suffers.
So 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. Time spent 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 who you spend your time with. So do as much as you can handle, but a really good relationship with some depth is good for all.
Nourish your body
I know I know. You want the eggnog and all the rich holiday foods, but stop for a minute and see how you want to feel later tomorrow or a few months from now. That rich sugary treat is nice, and occasionally it is okay. Just don’t go overboard.
Start eating wisely. Besides health food doesn’t have to be boring. It is so comforting when you have a wonderful bowl of warm soup on a wintry night.
Try and go for 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 warm and yet are so hearty. I know. You are welcome!
As you indulge in these delish soups and stews you will feel soothed and care for.
Have a routine
Having a morning routine and 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 your self 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. You will feel better all day, and even when things go wrong, you will have more mental resources to respond without overwhelm.
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, 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 and 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, beautiful with cozy winter decore, aromatic soothing fragrances that invite your mind to rest.
This also means simplifying your life and only keeping what is necessary and bring 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 and technological and environmental are important ways to practice winter self-care.
I tend not to drink enough 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 the sugary drinks as they will just dehydrate you.
Drink water and if you have problems with the taste try to add some fruit in the water for taste and that way you also get some vitamins too. 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.
Have a Sleep schedule
Sleep is so important for a healthy winter self-care. The good thing is the nights are longer so enjoy more sleep. Sleep has the purpose of renewal, cleansing your cells especially the brain, and when we skimp on it your health, mood and productivity sufferers.
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 have a spring in your step and winter be damned-the gloom of cold short days will not faze you! If you have trouble sleeping probably due to insomnia, or a busy mind that just won’t stop, and anxious mind, you can quiet your mind naturally, and I talk about secrets to sleeping better at night here.
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 make your bath so blissful and when you wear a nice nightgown and a fleecy robe and slide in bed you will sleep like a baby.
Also to maximize sleep, don’t get tempted to spend hours on your ohi=one while you lay in bed. You by now 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 nit give you stress as social media can at times.
Here are a few fun books you may want to check out.
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 along away. I have not always been a positive person, I am learning. Every situation doesn’t have to take as if it 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 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 I peoples 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 moisturizing.
And as part of a skincare routine make sure that you stay hydrated, and nourish your body. Skin health starts from the inside out.
Indulge in some warm Cozy drinks
There is nothing that speaks comfort and coziness as coming home from the outside frigid cold temperatures to a cup of warm rich hot chocolate. Or a great cup of tea. The good thing is there are so many teas to choose from. Herbal teas are great, and I do love to drink herbal teas in the evening, but I love the warm jolt of real black tea.
Lately, I especially love Twinings English Breakfast Tea. It is so smooth, and soothing, leaves me feeling on top of the world, and 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.
Another great warm winter drink or any time drink is golden milk chai. And itis 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 all to boil, add the honey and – bliss! Drink golden milk after you night time 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 health. So make any of these warm drinks or your favorite warm drink and cozy on 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.
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.
I love to make scarves.
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. Hmm, I need to improve my skills here.
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.” 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 may experiences. Here are a few more of my favorites.
Americanah By Chimamanda Adichie
I loved reading this book. A fresh perspective, 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- a feel-good fun and inspiring.
Just get your warm cozy blankie and 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 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.
So there you go! 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 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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