Self-care is always important, but especially so in the winter season.
In the last few years, I’ve worked to make my self-care routine more purposeful. Self-care often gets a bad rap. It’s looked at as frivolous and unnecessary. Take your bubble baths, manicures, and glasses of wine somewhere else, they say. Well, I say self-care is essential. I’ve been saying this for years and I mean it. During winter, when some experience seasonal depression due to the weather, it’s extra important to be taking special care of your body and mind.
Self-care comes in many different forms and in this article, I’m sharing a bit of a mixed bag. There are six suggestions, composed of self-care for your physical self and your mental health. Say goodbye to “SAD” (seasonal affective disorder) and hello to more mindful moments.
Finding Ways to Be Mindful With Your Self-Care This Winter
Practice the art of hygge. This particular term is often used in place of “cozy,” so a lot of people consider it a lifestyle. Hygge is more of a feeling. It requires slowing down, being present, and recognizing what brings you contentment. This might mean creating simple rituals for yourself – like wholeheartedly participating in your skincare routine each morning rather than just flying through it because of habit. Or it could just mean simplifying your every day to make time for peace and quiet.
Ingest warm, spice-filled food and beverages. Several studies show that eating a hot meal each day benefits your body, especially in the winter season. Warm foods are easier to digest and they make you feel better. Add a little bit of spice (sweet or savory) to up the warmth factor and allow your muscles to relax as you mindfully eat or drink. Try a warm chai smoothie or chia pudding in the morning or a hot beef stew or coconut curry for dinner.
Enjoy Fika – Have you ever heard of the Swedish coffee break? This concept is especially appealing to me as someone who is self-employed and works from home. After several hours of being glued to my laptop or phone each morning, a break is much-needed. Around 11:30-noon, I grab my mug of coffee or spiced mocha and a delicious snack, and take a moment for myself. This gives me time to rest and rejuvenate my mind and find the energy to get back to my work when my cup is empty and my treat has been thoroughly enjoyed.
Create a comforting environment – I have always enjoyed working amongst noise (soothing music playing or a crowded café). Being in a townhome with thin walls means plenty of noise, but it’s inconsistent. I like to turn on my space heater, light a sweet candle, and put on my headphones with either some kind of jazz/lo-fi or ambience. It helps me concentrate better on my work because I’m more comfortable. Sometimes I swap out my old desk chair for the armchair in the corner of my office and wrap a fuzzy blanket around myself for extra coziness. When I’m comfortable, I’m more productive.
Meditate daily – If you think meditation isn’t for you, it’s quite possible you haven’t tried the right kind yet. Meditation is something everyone can benefit from and it comes in lots of different forms. You can meditate while taking a walk, cleaning the house, riding public transportation, or falling asleep. I’ve been using the Headspace app for probably seven years now and it has been life-changing. I love taking a moment in the morning before my work or even while I’m doing dishes midday. I use this app when I’m experiencing serious stress during my work. I also swear by their sleep aids – without them, I don’t think I would ever rest properly at night.
Indulge once in a while – You could “treat yo’self” with a product you’ve been looking at. You might want to take that stereotypical self-care bubble bath. Maybe you need to scoot your plans aside on a weekend to make time for reading or binging your favorite show all day. Whatever it is, indulge sometimes. This isn’t an excuse to be lazy or spend too much money – but you work hard and do a lot every day, so rewarding yourself is important too!