Winter Self-Care Ideas
Officially, it might have just begun, but I’m already so over Winter.
You know, juuuust a little bit.
I was driving home from work the other day and couldn’t help but think to myself “holy shit this looks so beautiful!” The freezing rain from the night before transformed all the trees into these enormous, fairytale-like crystals that sparkled in the Sun.
Then I got home, got out my car and thought “holy shit it’s freezing I can’t take this!!”
It’s not that I don’t like Winter. I’m probably not alone in saying that I don’t always love cold weather though.
Most days are all good, but there are times when being buried underneath all kinds of layers of clothing drives me a little crazy. It’s freezing cold outside, then you walk into a supermarket or a drugstore and it’s like 100 degrees. You walk around and start getting hot, only to walk out in the cold again a few minutes later.
If you have dry skin, that’s another thing you need to pay extra attention to. Otherwise, the dry, cold air makes you feel like your skin is yet another layer of clothing. One that kind of feels like a onesie that’s made out of the world’s scratchiest of sweaters.
Not to mention the worst-case scenario.
Wearing boots and feeling your sock very slowly slip off your foot as you walk, without being able to adjust it right away.
Literally shivering with terror just thinking about it.
On a more serious note though, Winter self-care is specifically important if you find that cold, gloomy weather and short, dark days affect your emotional or physical health in a negative way. Maybe you don’t get to hang out with your friends as much. Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in the house all the time. Or, maybe, your days just feel dull and a little sad, and you have no idea why.
Some of us are just more sensitive to these changes than others. There is nothing wrong or unusual about feeling like you need some extra motivation to look out for yourself. If things have gotten a little quiet, boring, or dull, you have to look for ways to compensate for the lack of sunlight and disruption of your circadian rhythms.
GET ENOUGH LIGHT
Shorter, darker days can exacerbate those winter blues. With Winter Soltice having just passed, for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, we are about to get a bit more daylight with each day. Still, a long way to go before this difference becomes noticeable. During Winter, I tend to shift my schedule by two-three hours so that I can get the most of the daylight. This helps in maximizing the use of natural light for my blog photography as well as my exposure to daylight. You can use a travel app like TimeShifter to adjust to a new schedule if you want to give this a go. Other ways to get the most of natural light that comes your way is by using window sheers instead of heavy curtains or placing mirrors opposite large windows. Take a quick walk in the morning or during lunch to soak some sunshine, if weather permits, that is. Alternatively, get yourself a HappyLight and give light therapy a try.
Chances are that right now you are not as active as during Spring or Summer. Take time to indulge in Winter self-care activities that make your body feel good- do some foam rolling and stretching to keep your muscles flexible. Yoga and foam rolling can both do amazing things for your body. Foam rolling is great for relieving soreness and tightness and it’s a nice way to give yourself a massage before or after your workouts and warm up those muscles.
RE-ORGANIZE OLD PHOTOS
Can you remember the last time you went through your phone, computer or digital camera and printed out all the photos you meant to frame or put in an album? I wish I could say that I print mine out right away, but I always seem to be behind on this. Going through old photos was always such a special treat, growing up. My Gran had a whole cabinet full of albums and boxes upon boxes filled with photos. These days when you want to show someone a photo, you usually just grab your phone. This is great, but it also means that we don’t spend as much time creating and looking through actual photo albums as we once used to. Printing, organizing, and framing those photos can be a very relaxing way to spend a cold, winter afternoon- especially when you get to revisit many of those happy and special moments. You can also use a Smartphone Printer to print Instax photos from your phone photo gallery.
DIY BODY CARE
Preparing and treating yourself to a DIY beauty treatment can be fun and very relaxing. There is, however, a ton of misinformation out there on the Internet, so doing your own research + patch testing is very important. Pinterest, for instance, is full of DIY beauty you should never try at home. Rubbing lemons or baking soda on your face being among the worst offenders. Some of my favorite DIY beauty ingredients are oats, avocados and coconut oil:
Self-heating beauty products are a must-have in my winter Self-Care Kit. I love Patchology’s Perfect Ten hand + cuticle mask, Pixi’s Steam Facial, Hot Salt Body Polish from Bliss and the Origins Warm Down Warming Lava Scrub. I really like that all of these are also quick beauty treatments where all you need is ten minutes or less.
HYGGE DAY OFF
… or an hour-long Hygge session. A day filled with all things warm, cozy, full of simple pleasures. Ideally, you’d go tech-free for an entire day, but that’s not always possible. Try to turn off your phone for at least two hours. Create a little sanctuary for yourself with a cup of your favorite tea and your favorite treat, good books, a candle or two, some warm socks, a fluffy blanket or your favorite sweater. You can make your favorite meal, do some journaling, knitting. Spend time alone or cuddle up with someone you love- no socks can keep my feet as warm as my 60lbs dog-child, Blu. The idea is to find joy in these simple, what we often call “small” things. Feeling comfortable and safe. If you constantly check your phone when having dinner with friends, or only half-way listen to the story your partner is telling you, you can’t fully appreciate how truly special those moments are.
GAME NIGHT IN
In very cold weather, getting out of the house and socializing can be tough. Some of us definitely do go into a bit of a hibernation mode. Others straight-up hate the cold weather and refuse to spend time outside, unless absolutely necessary. And, if you’re anything like me, you need a bit of extra encouragement to get out of the house. Point is, many of us don’t hang out with our friends as often as we do during warmer months. Having fun with other people is also a form of self-care, as it improves your emotional health. Game nights are kind of a perfect Winter self-care activity. You get to stay warm, you get to see your friends, make memories, share some snacks and good laughs. These things really are as special as you make them, too. I like to bring out my Instax to document the good times, have cozy blankets and pillows ready for everyone. Cocktail umbrellas are also provided upon request. No beach required.
BE GOOD TO YOUR MIND + SOUL
When practicing self-care, remember that it’s not just your body that needs some loving. Even if you’re not prone to those winter blues, it’s still very important to be good to your mind and soul and keep it free of clutter. Journaling, brain dumping, and list-making are some of my favorite ways to get rid of that “mind clutter” and shift my focus into more positive things. You can try a book/journal like this one, which will walk you through the process. Meditation and deep-breathing exercises are also amazing self-care habits that will help you stay happy and calm.
CATCH UP ON SOME ZZZs
Ideally, you’d get enough quality sleep every single night. If you struggle with sleep you should focus on improving your sleep patterns and making them healthy and regular. In the meantime, catching up on your sleep is never a bad idea. Sleep is one of the most underrated aspects of wellness and if you pick just one thing to do from this list, make it this one. Unless, of course, you find yourself sleeping too much. Keeping a healthy sleep and nighttime routine are among the most important things you can do for your wellbeing. Poor sleep puts us at an increased risk of heart disease, it makes you more prone to mood changes, memory issues, and increased stress. If you don’t get enough sleep but find it difficult to fall asleep when trying to catch a nap, try a guided meditation or hypnosis app like Deep Sleep.