Love it or hate it, Winter is here. Whilst the merry festive season and glorious Winter landscapes bring us so much joy. The bitter nip in the air and short dark days can take their toll on our mental health and wellbeing. We’ve created a checklist of essential self-care practices to help you feel the best version of yourself this Winter season.
Before we delve into our Winter self-care checklist, let’s put a few rumours to bed on the topic. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It comes in all different shapes and forms but at its core, it’s about looking after and prioritising, number one: you!
One of the best things that you can do for yourself during Winter is to keep active. The cold and rainy weather might waver your motivation to stick to your fitness routine – we’ve all been there. But, it’s so important to get your body moving to increase your energy and boost your overall mood.
So, what are your options? Wrap up warm and brave a Winter walk when you can. Being around nature, breathing in the crisp fresh air, and taking in the views is great for gathering your thoughts and reducing feelings of anxiety. On the days that are simply too rainy or cold to face, you can still exercise indoors. Yoga is a great indoor alternative and can also help to reduce anxiety. If you fancy something a bit more energetic follow-along YouTube workouts are a brilliant option. You can find everything from hit workouts to Zumba classes.
Combining all of the above and including variety into your Winter fitness routine can help you to stay motivated.
Cosy Nights In
Swap big nights out for big nights in. Much like you would plan for an evening out dancing with friends, set a date each week for your big pamper night and go all out. Fill your evening with things that make you feel happy and most importantly, help you to relax and switch off.
What’s the recipe for a cosy night in? It will vary to individual tastes but here are some fundamental ingredients to consider.
- 1 tbsp of boundaries – let’s get one thing straight. This is YOUR time. You are deserving of uninterrupted peace for an evening to take care of yourself. For some, this can be a lot harder than it sounds. Setting a personal boundary to not use this time for anything else internally reinforces that you are worthy of care and do not have to reach complete burnout to take some time out.
- A sprinkling of fun – do something that makes you happy. Winter is the perfect time to delve into a new series or watch a film – especially Christmas ones! Movie nights aren’t everyone’s top pick and that’s okay. Perhaps you’re more of a bookworm? Or consider yourself quite the crafter?
- 2 tbsp of pampering – include some elements to your cosy night that serves your physical wellbeing also. Enjoy a bubble bath, wash your hair, paint your nails, pop a facemask on whilst watching your movie.
- A dash of light – set the ambience to full-on chilled out vibes. Dim the lights, turn on the fairy lights, the Christmas tree, and of course, plenty of glowing candles.
- A cup of something delicious – during the colder months, one of life’s true pleasures is a big cup of hot chocolate with all of the trimmings.
Get Out Of The House
Yes, we may have just painted the picture of the perfect night in but as the saying goes: ‘everything in moderation.’ Make sure that you venture out of the house. Whether it’s a walk or a lunch date with a friend, you’re keeping your brain stimulated by being in different surroundings. This one is even more relevant if you are currently working from home. Time away from the home office can help you to be more productive when it’s time to return and focus on work.
Indulge In Skincare
Between the cold frosty weather outside and the heating cranked up inside, your skin can become extremely dehydrated. So, during Winter a form of physical self-care to include in is to take care of your skin. Drink plenty of water, remember to moisturise, and use hand, face, and foot masks for a little extra boost of hydration. You’ll be glowing all through the festive season!
Take Time Away From Social Media
Nights indoors can see our average scrolling time rocket up. Over exposing yourself to social media can have negative effects on your mental health and wellbeing. Especially if you’re already feeling a little low or anxious.
To retain control of your scrolling you can lock apps so that you can still use your phone for certain things. However, your guilty-scrolling-pleasures such as Tik Tok and Instagram can’t be accessed until unlocked. Now you can focus on finding other ways to fill your time that are more beneficial to your wellbeing. Some ideas could be baking, reading, watching a series, or listening to podcasts (Sophie Cliff’s Practical Positivity and Beatrice Kamau’s The Self-Love Fix are current favourites of mine).
Winter can be a very lonely and challenging season for some. Are you familiar with SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern and for a lot of people, Winter is when it becomes most prominent. With the added pressures that 2020 has brought and the current restrictions still in place, it is vital to stay connected with loved ones.
Depending on your location you may be fortunate enough to meet up with your loved ones easily but if not, we’ve all had months of practice firing up Zoom! So, how does connecting with people support your self-care? Well, crucially you want to make sure that those who surround you are positive for you. That friend that always has a funny story to tell or a family member who loves to reminisce on fond memories. Know your boundaries with the people in your life that maybe don’t have the same positive impact and be grateful for the ones that do.