Fall is a time to enjoy gorgeous foliage, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin-spice everything, but we must not forget that winter is right around the corner. Some of us love the cold weather, embrace the chance to break out our snowboards, and look forward to fun holiday festivities. For many others, however, winter means frigid weather, short, dark days, and the stress of dealing with family gatherings.
No matter which camp you fall into, it’s no secret that our bodies need some extra love and care during the colder months. Taking time out for self-care will help you give yourself the physical, mental, and emotional support you need to not only survive but thrive throughout the winter season. These eight tips will help you get started.
During the colder months, it’s natural to reach for coffee, tea, or cocoa, but don’t forget to also drink plenty of water. You might not feel as thirsty as you do during the summer, but your body still needs to stay hydrated to function properly. Supplement your water consumption by eating foods with high water content, adding coconut water to your smoothies and using a humidifier in your home.
When the days are short and the weather is cold, our bodies naturally want to slow down. Avoiding physical activity, however, can cause us to start feeling heavy and fatigued. Bundle up and enjoy the fresh air while taking a walk, sign up for a restorative yoga class, or simply do some light stretching at home. Don’t push yourself so hard that it creates more stress but try to make sure you’re moving your body every day.
Winter weather and busy schedules often mean turning to comfort food or living off drive-thru burgers as we run from one obligation to the next. Do yourself a favor and focus on mindful eating throughout the winter months. For an even greater effect, add some mood-boosting foods to your diet like berries, greens, and nuts. Keeping your body well-nourished will give you the energy you need to power through busy days and also boost your immune system.
Whether you love the holidays or hate them, all the hustle and bustle can cause additional stress. Even though you’ll probably be busier than usual, take at least 10 to 30 minutes every day to do something you enjoy. This could mean taking a hot bath, savoring a cup of tea, or reading your favorite book. Figure out what activities help you relax and unwind, then focus on creating the time and space to indulge in them.
Watch your energy levels
If you’re an introvert, holiday activities can feel extra draining. Pay attention to how attending gatherings makes you feel. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and let family and friends know you need some time for yourself. Stepping away and letting yourself recharge will make the activities you do decide to attend that much more enjoyable.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness creates many benefits including reduced stress, improved clarity and focus, and physical relaxation. If the thought of traditional meditation seems daunting to you, start with beginner-friendly alternatives like guided visualization, walking meditation, or simple deep breathing.
Make it a point to develop a mindset of gratitude, not just on Thanksgiving, but throughout the entire winter season. Each day, try to think of at least one thing you’re thankful for. Take a moment to reflect on how that one thing truly improves your life. This habit will make you happier, improve relationships, and boost your self-esteem.
Rest and reflect
Slowing down and turning inward is one of the best ways to ground yourself during the winter months. Practice journaling every day. This helps you explore your deepest feelings, create positive new habits, and manifest your dreams.
As you prepare for the return of warmer weather, take the time to reflect on where you’ve been and what you want your future to look like. Doing so puts you in a great position to make the most of starting with a “clean slate” in the New Year and emerge in the spring feeling better than ever.