While the initial chill in the air is a thrilling and welcome experience, winter can quickly have you feeling like you’re living in a frigid wasteland. It’s cold, it’d dark, and all you want to do is eat and hibernate.
That’s the dream, right? Sign me up for hibernating!
The struggle of the winter months is just too real. Yeah, sure, the holiday spirit is in the air (there are a lot of holidays in the winter, maybe too many), but so is the flu and other viruses.
The absence of warmth and light combined with the 3 month sniffle that just won’t go away can lead to some serious bouts of seasonal depression.
Self-care during the winter months is crucial!
But I understand it can be really difficult to get yourself motivated to do anything when it’s so cold outside-and everywhere else. So I’ve put together my favorite winter self-care ideas that mostly don’t involve leaving the house.
These tips will help keep you happy, healthy, and they’ll help keep the winter blues at bay. So if you don’t want to hibernate all season and wake up in the spring feeling groggy (and with serious morning breath), read on, babe.
Soak up the sun - or lamp
Even though it’s cold, it’s important to get outside. You need that vitamin D to stay healthy. And it’s also a huge mood booster!
I won’t admit this most of the time, but I actually think it’s kinda fun to get all bundled up and see how many layers I can wear. And going out in the cold usually means I get a hot chocolate when I come back inside.
It’s important to reward yourself for doing hard things.
If getting outside isn’t an option, I would suggest you invest in a light therapy lamp. These lamps are very bright and mimic outdoor sunlight. They won’t give you your daily dose of vitamin D, but sitting in front of the lamp every day should help improve your overall mood.
Enjoy the comfort foods
Winter is hands down the best season for food.
Yeah, I know fall has Thanksgiving and Halloween candy and Pumpkin flavored everything, but Winter brings some of the best comfort foods. It’s a great time to shut yourself inside and feast on soups, chilis, and various forms of cheese and potatoes.
But I want to encourage you to not go too crazy. So many of our comfort foods are filled with starches and carbs (both very delicious things) and can contribute to you feeling sluggish and tired.
Make sure, while you’re enjoying your comfort foods, that you make sure to keep your body healthy and give it the fuel it needs.
A simple Pinterest search for healthy comfort food alternatives should give you plenty of tasty options.
Get really comfortable and read a book
This is a no brainer. Spend an evening in front of a fireplace if you have one, or a heater if you don’t (fact, I spend the majority of my time in the winter sitting in front of my tiny space heater). Obviously make sure you’re wearing your warmest jammies, fluffiest socks, and have your chunkiest blanket.
The goal here is to get warm and cozy.
Then just read a book. Though if books aren’t really your thing (who are you?!), I suppose Netflix may be a good alternative. Bonus points if you light a few candles and grab yourself a hot cup of tea.
This one is difficult. It’s natural to want to stay in bed all winter and have minimal physical exertion. But it’s so important for your wellbeing (both physically and emotionally) to keep your body and energy moving.
While this might not be the best season to go out for a run or start an intense at home work out routine, a bit of slow moving yoga or stretching in the morning and evening should do the trick.
Or, if you’re willing to brave the cold and potentially yucky weather, you could take a walk outside and soak up the sun.
This one is so important and often overlooked… until your lips and hands are cracked and bleeding and absolutely disgusting. That happened to me one winter and that’s what finally drove me to purchase lotion.
Side note: you may be thinking “buying lotion was a big deal?” Yes. Sadly, I was totally anti-lotion for most of my early 20s…. Not really sure what was going on there.
The cold, dry winter air can mess up your skin faster than you’d expect! Make sure you stay good and moisturized by loading up on chapstick, lotions, face masks, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Get a house plant
If you can’t get outside, bring the outside to you! Get a house plant.
One of the things that brings on the winter blues is that most everything outside is dead and sad looking (unless you live in the south, but then I suspect it’s not quite cold enough for you to need some of these tricks).
Bringing in a house plant and being able to care for and look at something green and thriving will help to boost your spirits through the cold winter.
Try some aromatherapy
Aromatherapy and essential oils can be an effective but simple way to boost your mood through the winter.
Take a bath with scented bubbles, get an oil diffuser or incense for your home, or put your oils in a roller bottle to apply directly to your skin (though be careful with this option as some oils can irritate your skin).
Try to stick with fragrances that will calm and lift your mood. Some good options are lavender, bergamot, wild orange, or wintergreen. Or you can opt for warm and cozy scents like pine and cinnamon and vanilla.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your house, it should smell nice.
Winter is a natural time of letting things go. And since we typically spend a good bit of time indoors due to the cold weather, it’s important that your surroundings bring you a sense of calm.
This is a great time to clear out any clutter and anything that doesn’t serve you. It’s a great time to clean house.
Take your time and go through one room or one area at a time. Pay attention to how each item around you makes you feel. And if it doesn’t bring you joy or inspire a sense of beauty, it may be time to let that item go.
Start a journal
One of my favorite things about winter is that it brings with it a natural desire to turn inward. This is a time of reflection.
Start a journal. Dive into your thoughts and emotions and spend time getting to know your inner self. If you’re spending a lot of time alone and indoors, it can be really helpful to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
Honor your rhythms
It’s so important to simply listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re thirsty, drink.
But also know that there is a natural rhythm to the seasons. Winter has it’s own energy.
And it’s not like summer. It’s slow and cool and it’s meant to make you stay inside, a physical representation of the inner work you should be doing. Use this season to turn your focus back onto yourself.
Spend extra time on self-care and extra time sitting with your feelings.
The time for being busy and focusing on other and creating will come again. Those things will return in the spring. But for now, this winter season, you’re meant to take care of yourself, nurture your spirit.