With the excitement of the holidays behind us, and multiple months of cold weather still stretching ahead, winter can begin to feel like quite a slog. This can be a challenging time for many of us. Winter’s dark mornings, cold weather, and icy streets can make for a long, miserable season. Practicing self-care is essential for your well-being, especially at this time of year.
Self-care is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. True self-care involves taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It means dedicating time to activities that you enjoy or that enrich your life. However, self-care is not simply self-indulgence. To learn more about meaningful self-care, please check out How to Create Your Own Personalized Self-Care Plan.
In order to support your overall wellness, it is important to maintain your mental health during the long months of winter. Here are some self-care ideas for you to help you manage any negative impacts the winter season may have on you!
The days are shorter, the mornings darker, and many of us want to hibernate. Unfortunately, life and responsibilities must continue even in the dead of winter. Help prevent both stress and lethargy by keeping a consistent routine in place. Wake up and go to bed at relatively the same time each day. Make sure to schedule time for yourself into your daily routine. Staying organized will help you remain motivated even when the sky is dark and the snow is blowing
Whether you pick up a winter sport or simply enjoy a daily walk, make sure you spend time outside regularly in whatever way you are able. Spending time outside on purpose (not just a scurry from your door to your car or the bus stop) can help you stay active and also boost your mood. It also has the added benefit of giving you breaks from screen time. High levels of screen time have been shown to cause anxiety and depression.
Ensure you have proper winter gear so you don’t get too cold or slip on the ice, and then get out there! Enjoy some brisk, fresh air and soak up some sunlight whenever you can. Sunlight is known to increase serotonin which can help with seasonal depression. It is important to schedule outside time every week or even every day. It is also wise to take advantage of pleasant weather whenever it is available as winter weather can be unpredictable.
Getting outside for sunlight, fresh air, and physical activity is ideal. However, there will be many days when you would much rather stay inside where it is warm. On the days you can’t be outside, do stay active inside. Join a yoga group, check out an indoor sport at your local gym, or move along to some exercise videos online. Whatever you do, keep moving.
Eat well and stay hydrated
It can be difficult to eat your fruits and veggies in the wintertime when there’s less fresh produce in season and groceries are already so expensive. However, eating well plays a large role in both your physical and mental health. Take some time to try out some healthy recipes. And don’t forget, it’s dry out there! So, make sure you stay hydrated.
Take up a hobby
We all need a creative outlet. Take advantage of the quiet of winter and pursue something you’re passionate about (or that you simply enjoy). Read the books on your ‘to-read’ list, learn a new skill, take an art class, or spend time journalling. Creating just for fun can occupy your hands and your mind. Shifting your focus from life stress or the gloom of blustery winter weather toward a creative hobby can replenish your spirit. Set aside time where you can lose yourself in a hobby you enjoy instead of worrying about the many tasks on your to-do list.
Find social balance
Winter can be socially isolating with cold weather keeping people home. It’s critical to find a balance of social activity and alone time that works for you. Directly following the busy holiday season, the quiet of winter can feel especially lonely. Make sure to schedule social activities and have regular outings with friends or family. Meet someone for a coffee. Have a family dinner. Join a group. Play a game over a video call with friends or family who live further away. Stay connected but also make sure you schedule some alone time, too. We all need time to recharge our social batteries.
Pay attention to your mental health. It’s easy to fall into depression in winter, so keep an eye on yourself. If you experience a drop in your overall mood and energy levels, it is important to take notice. Never hesitate to reach out to a friend or a professional for help.
Winter can be a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom! Use the ideas on this list that help you and let this list inspire you to come up with others. Creating a self-care routine will help you find enjoyment and enrichment this winter season.