The cold, dark winter can often seem impossibly long,. Combined with the holiday season, the increased possibility of suffering from seasonal affective disorder, and the fact that some symptoms of chronic illness are worse during the winter months, this time of the year it is really important to ensure you have a good self-care regime in place. We've put together some of our favourite ways to practice self-care during the winter season, no matter what you may need.
Light a Fire (or turn on a fireplace video)
In addition to being cozy, just lighting a fire provides a gentle ambiance that can be a wonderful act of self-care. If you don't have a fireplace available, try turning on a fireplace video like the one above on your T.V. or laptop to enjoy the crackling noises.
Start a jigsaw puzzle
Since puzzles and similar activities require your attention, they can be a great activity for when you need something to focus on. We recommend choosing an image that is inspiring or calming so you'll be more motivated to get it completed.
While we have a tendency to hibernate during the winter, heading outside is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise at the same time! Consider trying a fun winter activity like ice skating or snowshoeing, or just bundle up with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and head for a walk.
Bake a favourite treat
If you've got a little more energy, why not try turning on some music and baking a favourite treat? We recommend these anti-inflammatory chewy chocolate chip cookies. Remember that baking doesn't have to be complicated, either - feel free to whip up a quick treat or use a baking mix or prepackaged dough. Your home will still smell wonderful from baking, plus you'll have a fresh treat to enjoy.
Wear bright colours
Let's be honest - winter has a tendency to be pretty dark and dull. Why not brighten things up by wearing something that makes you feel happy? Even putting on some brightly coloured socks or fun jewelry can help to provide a little mood boost.
Do a Digital Detox
This time of year is perfect for wiping the slate clean, so why not do a digital detox? There are several ways that you can make this work for you. You can go intense and take a few days off certain devices, or you might make a deal to turn your phone or the T.V. off by a certain hour. If you're still digging your Netflix nights and Instagram scrolls, make your detox more about ensuring that your digital time remains beneficial by unfollowing social media accounts that no longer serve you.
Donate Clothes You Don't Wear Anymore
We're not gonna lie - clutter can really weigh you down. If you've got the time and energy, why not make a day of going through your closet and only keeping the clothes that you feel good in, and donating the rest to those who could use them. If you're a little more low energy, think about any coats, mittens, or hats you could donate to help someone keep warm this winter.
Make a Nourishing Meal
With everything else going on, it can be easy to forget what a wonderful act of self-care a nourishing, homemade meal is. If you're able, considering cooking a warm meal for yourself. Bonus points if it includes nutrient-rich winter produce like root vegetables, cauliflower, fennel, brussels sprouts, or kale. If you've got a little more time, why not make a double batch of a soup or pasta and freezing half for a cozy meal later in the month?
Hydrate Your Body and Skin
'Tis the season for dry skin! With the cooler temps, it can be more difficult to remember to stay hydrated. Fill yourself up a water bottle or switch things up with your favourite seasonal herbal tea. Don't forget your skin, either! Relax with one of these DIY Face Masks for your skin type, and follow it up with a moisturizing cream or oil.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude is a powerful practice that can help to reduce stress. improve self-esteem, and promote empathy. Keeping a gratitude journal doesn't have to require a major time commitment - simply writing down a few things you are thankful for several times per week is a great way to practice your gratitude. Try to focus on the people or moments you are grateful for, as well as any experiences or things that took you by surprise.
Try Something New
Just because this is the season of coziness doesn't mean that you can't get outside your comfort zone! Take a cooking, art, or yoga class, or head to a nearby town and explore.
Create a Vision Board
Winter can be a great time to refocus and allow yourself to dream a little! Creating a vision board helps you to focus on goals and practice a little visualization throughout the day. Take some time to look through magazines for pictures that inspire you and represent your goals. You can also write down affirmations or words that describe how you want to feel to add to your board. When you're done, be sure to display your board somewhere where you can see it every day.
Sometimes there's nothing better in the winter than cozying up and watching a movie or television show, or picking up a good book. Try creating a cozy little nook or area with comfy blankets and plush pillows. Bonus points if you grab a warm drink or use some seasonal aromatherapy products.