I pray this winter be gentle and kind, a season of rest from the wheel of the mind.John Geddes
Winter is a time of slow living and rest. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles don’t always align with the peaceful energy of winter. The beginning of the new year is often rife with to-do’s, new projects, and adventurous goal-setting.
Here are some winter self-care tips to balance your life with empowering self-care rituals that help you eat, drink, work and play your way into a healthier more mindful year!
Eat for Winter Wellness
Eat warm for winter.
Eating with the seasons is one of the best things you can do for your digestive system. In winter, it’s best to avoid cold and icy foods. Instead, fill up on warm comforting meals packed with nutrition and flavor. Soups are a fabulous way to enjoy all the bounty of winter while simultaneously healing your gut. Here are three delicious warming soups to try this winter!
Snack on Hydrating Foods.
With winter’s cold and dry air (as well as dry indoor heating), it’s easy to get dehydrated. An easy self-care tip is to swap your crispy snacks with more hydrating nibbles to keep your body hydrated and nourished effortlessly.
Eat Slower and Savor.
It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat. Many of us eat on the go or work through lunch. And while that may suit our busy schedules, it sabotages our digestive system and can lead to issues like indigestion, weight gain, bloat and fatigue.
Let’s make mealtimes an act of self-care. Take each bite with intention, savor the flavors, and chew thoroughly. Put your fork down between bites to give your stomach a chance to settle and start the digestion process. Avoid watching TV, scrolling on your phone, or working through your meals. Find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy nourishing yourself!
Winter Sips for Self-Care
Set a Hydration Goal.
Staying hydrated in winter isn’t always easy. Unlike summer, when heat and sunshine tempt you to drink glass after glass, you’re less likely to recognize when your body is craving water in winter.
To help you stay hydrated all winter (and avoid pesky dry skin), set a hydration goal. Set an alarm to go off regularly throughout the day to remind you to break for a drink.
Another helpful tip is the rubber band trick. Each morning, put a certain number of rubber bands on your wrist, equal to the number of glasses of water you need to drink to stay healthy. When you finish a glass, remove one band. Try to remove all bands by the end of the day to reach your hydration goal.
Switch to Herbal Teas.
Herbal teas are a great way to relax and warm up on a cold winter’s day. Unlike coffee, they contain less or no caffeine and pack in some powerful healing properties. Here are the best teas to try, based on what your mind and body need:
- Teas to De-Stress: Try peppermint, chamomile, rooibos, lemon balm, or passionflower.
- Teas for Energy: Try matcha, Pu-erh, oolong, ashwagandha, or Yerba Mate.
- Teas for Immune Power: Try ginger, lemon, elderberry, or chrysanthemum.
- Teas for Self-Love: Try rose or bergamont
Make a Mocktail.
Winter’s cold and dreary days may have you craving cup after cup of hot toddies and refreshing wine. But, too much alcohol can harm your mental and physical health, so why not switch it up with some healthy winter mocktails?
Winter Wellness at Work
Create a self-care kit for work.
You don’t have to be soaking in a bath to enjoy self-care. In fact, you can build self-care into your day even when you’re in the office.
Create a mini self-care kit to use at work or on the go. Include a variety of items that make you feel calm or happy. Consider an uplifting essential oil (if you need energy) or relaxing essential oil (if you’re stressed), a feel-good snack (like dark chocolate), a book of motivational quotes, a photo of a loved one, a stress ball, a revitalizing facial mist, or anything that helps you feel restored.
Practice an end-of-workday ritual.
Many of us struggle with stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness because we don’t ever really stop working. This has only gotten worse with more hours spent working from home over the past few years. In winter, the urge to check one more email or work overtime to get ahead can be even stronger when there is less sunshine tempting you to get out and enjoy your after-work life.
To take back your personal life, create a wind-down routine for after-work. By creating a distinct after-work ritual to end the day and shift into your free time, you set yourself up for better work-life balance, healthier boundaries, and improved mental health. To start, close out all tabs on your computer and shut it down, or clean up your work station if you don’t work at a desk. Then, try one of these ideas to signify the end of the workday.
- Cleanse the air with a spritz of a calming aromatherapy scent.
- Do a brief meditation.
- Ring a bell.
- Take a brisk walk or hit the gym.
- Take a shower.
- Dance to an upbeat song.
- Call a friend.
Take Your Breaks Seriously.
Taking breaks during the day is not a reward. This simple self-care practice is essential to staying focused and healthy. It’s even more important in winter when our bodies crave more rest and downtime. Yet, so many of us skip breaks to get more done and appear productive. The truth is, without regular breaks, the brain gets fatigued, lazy, and starts to make mistakes.
It’s time to take our breaks seriously. Prioritize them with as much importance as a meeting or a dedicated focus block on your most important task. Need help remembering to take breaks? Consider using a Pomodoro timer app, which has ten-minute breaks built-in on the hour, and a restorative longer minute break after several focus sessions.
Self-Care Practices that Warm the Heart
Enjoy a Grounding Foot Bath Before Bed.
Long day? Find your balance by taking time to enjoy a grounding evening foot bath to root you in the present moment. Here’s how:
- Fill your bath or small basin with warm water.
- Add a few drops of a grounding essential oil, like cedar, cypress, sandalwood, or a grounding blend.
- Turn down the lights, light a candle, and put on a grounding meditation.
- Slip your feet into the warm bath and enjoy 20-30 minutes of peace.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues on a daily basis. You’ll reap the benefits of sunlight and fresh air to organically boost your seratonin and supercharge your natural energy.
When you have a little more time, seeking out a hiking area, coastal walk, or nature reserve in your area for a longer excursion. If you can make it to a place you’ve never been before, that’s even better! Studies show that new experiences and scenery help banish stress, fight seasonal depression, and increase overall happiness.
Have a Declutter Day.
Who says you have to save decluttering for Spring Cleaning? Psychologists and researchers agree that decluttering can have a profound impact on our mental health and can reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, and negative thinking patterns.
Winter may be a perfect time to sort through those forgotten drawers and cupboards (and even that overflowing email box). Why? We’re often more motivated to ‘clean up’ our lives and start fresh in the New Year. Cold January and February days are perfect for putting your motivation in action. Plus, it’s a great way to spend a productive day inside and get some extra exercise while you’re at it.
But what if you hate decluttering? That can’t be good ‘self-care,’ right? The benefits you’ll feel after your declutter day will override any hesitation to declutter in the first place. But if you genuinely struggle to start sorting, make the process more fun. Put on a self-care playlist, order your favorite take-out meal, and offer yourself a reward when you finish (like that new handbag you’ve had your eye on)!
Winter Self-Care Made Easy.
You don’t have to splurge on spa days or expensive creams to enjoy some well-deserved self-care this winter. With these tips, you can work a little bit of self-care into every day.
What are you favorite winter self-care routines? Share in the comments!
Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.Herman Hesse