As the light and heat of summer fade into fall and then winter, our mood often shifts from outwardly cheerful to quietly introspective. The colors and scents of nature change our perspective and trigger a desire to retreat to our nest for warmth and comfort. We spend more time indoors, and we start to focus more on ourselves and what our bodies and minds need to weather the colder, darker months ahead.
This makes fall and winter the perfect time to give more attention to our self-care routine. Just as weather patterns change, our daily routines must also morph to meet the new challenges of the season. Things we did in the summer to maintain our health and happiness won’t have the same effect now.
One of the biggest challenges we encounter during the colder months is spending more time indoors. Leaving our warm nest when it’s dark and chilly outside is often less than enticing. Because of this, we absorb less of the sun’s rays and the benefits they bring. We’ll also experience less time outside surrounded by nature and more time alone.
Many people will be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), and most of them will be women. This is a form of depression thought to be brought on by the shorter days of the season. Whether you have S.A.D. or not, struggles we face include having less energy, an increased appetite, a greater potential for getting sick, being less active, and more damage to your skin and hair.
It can be a lot to deal with, maybe even more than we thought. That’s why self-care is of utmost importance as we head into winter. But how do we cope with all these new hurdles? It helps to sit down and make a plan to address what you need to keep a smile on your face. Your plan should be holistic and include ways to address your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Think about making a new schedule to fit it all in. And write it in a calendar so it’s more likely you’ll follow it.
Need some ideas? Below is a list of fifteen self-care activities you can take part in to stay happy and sane all winter long. Treat yourself to the best self-care you can muster, and you won’t feel the need to count the days til spring.
Get outside for some sun
Though it’s darker in winter, there are still moments the sun shines bright. And you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunities when they arise. This might mean juggling your schedule a bit to take a walk or hike in the middle of the day instead of in the morning. If you’re a hiker, you might already know that hiking in the snow is a surreal experience. With the right waterproof boots and warm clothes, you won’t even think about the cold. So bundle up and head outside when you have the chance!
Enjoy a variety of hot drinks
Coffee is a must-have for many people all year round. And winter is truly ‘pumpkin spice latte’ season to many. But there’s a whole world of hot-drink options that make winter special. Herbal teas (some with specific holiday flavors) can be made plain or turned into a creamy latte with milk and honey. Golden milk is a healthy spiced treat with turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. Mulled apple cider and hot toddies are also delicious. The list goes on!
Eat seasonal foods
Winter opens up a whole new world of produce options too. Pumpkin and other types of squash like butternut, acorn, and spaghetti are popular choices. If you feel adventurous, try some other less popular ones like turban squash, delicata squash, hubbard squash, sweet dumpling squash, and many more. If you have access to an autumn or winter farmer’s market, you might be able to find these varieties. Also, winter greens are excellent for boosting your nutrition during the cold season. Look for kale, spinach and collards or more hearty veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and leeks to add to your diet.
Modify your skincare routine
Winter is a season of extremes in many places. Depending on where you live, you can experience drastic changes in humidity and temperature. In addition to that, we are exposed to cold outdoor air followed by hot, dry indoor air over and over again each day. This can take its toll on your skin. The best way to counteract this is to use products that will help soothe and calm your skin and also keep it well hydrated.
Eliminate harsh ingredients like acids and consider using exfoliators less often. Products with nutrient-rich oils will work well for most skin types. You might already know that we specialize in high-quality organic ingredients, so check out our products for your winter needs. Of course, you'll need to keep in mind the type of skin you have, and you may need to adjust as you go. It’s also recommended by experts to always wear sunscreen, even in winter. For better health, stay away from chemical ones and use a mineral-based formula.
And don’t neglect your lips. You’ll need a high-quality, all-natural organic lip balm to keep your lips smooth and soft, and we’ve got you covered!
Plan outings with friends
Many people struggle with feeling more alone during winter because there are generally less events and activities happening. So, now’s the time to make your own! Plan a weekly or biweekly event centered around a shared activity, like games, crafts, or food to keep the fun going. Planning outdoor activities with friends will help motivate you to get out, see nature, and exercise too.
Take a bath
Relaxing moments in a warm sudsy tub of water is what winter was invented for, right? It’s the ultimate treat for your mind and body when the weather outside is frightful. Add in some bath salts, essential oils, and our Sulfate-free Lavender Body Wash to make it even more fantastic. Baths can be more than just for relaxing too. Using bath salts can also help with detoxification, muscle recovery, and circulation. The warm light of candles can help create a serene ambiance too.
Good news…gardening doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to! You can start an indoor garden and grow vegetables, herbs, greens and more if you have the right setup. You’ll need light (either natural or grow bulbs), water, containers, and a warm environment. Indoor gardening is an excellent way to stay connected to nature, keep your mind occupied, and prevent stress.
Reorganize your home
Now’s the time to make your winter wardrobe more accessible. Sweaters, boots, jackets and coats can all be brought out of hiding so they’re easy to grab. But don’t stop there. Maybe reorganizing your office or other areas of your home will help you stay happy. Making sure you have space to work on crafts or read books will make it more convenient for you to do these things too. Being organized is known to reduce stress also, and that’s the goal.
When we’re not constantly frolicking in the sun and getting hot and sweaty, we tend to slack off on drinking water. But we can still dry out in winter if we don’t hydrate enough. Keep your water bottle handy around the house and when you go out so you’ll remember to sip throughout the day.
In summer, we tend to naturally stay more active and get our exercise outdoors. In winter, we need to make a more deliberate attempt to get our 30 or more minutes a day. It helps to have a treadmill or other gym equipment at home or to join a gym. But also, as I mentioned above, taking a hike or doing some other winter sport like snowshoeing or skiing are exciting ways to stay active. Finding some type of exercise you can do regularly is key.
Add scents and sounds of nature to your home
To make up for the lack of trees and rivers in your home, you can always re-create the sounds and smells of nature. Essential oils like pine, cedarwood, frankincense, sandalwood, sage, clove, cypress and eucalyptus can be made into a room spray, added to a diffuser, or dispersed through scented candles. For adding sounds of nature, try using one of the many music apps available and a portable speaker to transform your indoor space. You’ll be amazed at how soothing this can be.
Lots of time indoors lends itself to lots of reading. Self-help books are wonderful if you’re looking to work on personal growth. Or explore your favorite genre or a new-to-you genre of books. You can also make this a social thing by starting a book club with friends. And be sure to use the time to catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read for a while and haven’t had the chance.
Clean your home more often
Spending more time in our homes with the windows closed means we’re exposed to much more indoor air pollution. And indoor pollution can be many times worse than outside. We can’t actually see them, but pollutants like dust mites, pet dander, cleaning chemicals, off-gassing from furniture and other toxins are always lurking. So it’s crucial to keep your home clean during winter. Make it a task that happens 2 or 3 times a week if you have the time. Using an air purifier will help too. And take any chance you get to open the windows, even if it's just for a few minutes.
Take an online course
Winter is an excellent time to sign up for that course you’ve wanted to take but keep putting on the back burner. One way to keep it all together over winter is to keep your mind busy. Learning something new will do the trick! Maybe it’s a quick one-day class or an extensive course or certification you'd love to have. Make yourself proud and complete it while you have the time!
Do you pay attention to your feet much? It’s probably less likely that you do in winter because we’ve ditched our sandals and instead we shove our feet into thick socks, slippers, and boots more often. If you have a willing partner, ask them to massage your feet every now and then. Or just grab some massage oil or lotion and do it yourself! Either way, give your feet some love and they’ll be forever grateful.