There are lots of things to love about winter; snuggly blankets, extra-long baths and dark nights that give you even more reason to burn candles, but there’s no doubt that the lack of light and chilly weather can have a negative impact on our mood. It affects us all to degrees, but feeling less motivated, lacking in energy and becoming more withdrawn throughout the winter months is quite common.
Rather than trying to hibernate until it’s over, we can embrace the stillness of these months to take better care of ourselves and emerge in the spring feeling lighter and refreshed. With that in mind, I’ve shared my favourite self-care tips to help beat the winter blues…
Open the blinds and throw open the windows as often as you can. There’s such magic in soaking up natural light and so try to get outside as much as you can. The health benefits are endless and include topping up essential vitamin D which helps us get a better night’s sleep and improves our mental health. So, grab those shoes and get your body moving; enjoy a peaceful walk by yourself or take the family along. If you’re short of time then even a few minutes outside on your lunch break can make all the difference.
Despite being essential for our health and wellbeing, evidence suggests that most of us are more sleep-deprived than ever. Thankfully a few small things can improve the quality of our rest; shutting off electronic devices an hour before bed, eating a little lighter and avoiding caffeine in the evenings are just a few. An afternoon nap - if possible - can be helpful too. If you struggle with your sleep then here are a few reasons why you’re not sleeping well and what you can do about it.
I love using the winter months to explore new seasonal produce and experiment with healthy veggie dishes. Pick up something in your weekly shop that you’re not familiar with and try a new recipe or flavour combination. Not only does this nourish your body, but it helps to get your creativity flowing and encourages your mind out of its winter slumber. I’ve set myself a goal of creating at least one new vegan/gluten-free dish each week and with the number of fabulous recipes available, the only challenge is choosing which one to try next!
While we’re snuggled up in layers of warm clothes, it can be tempting to neglect our skin…just when it needs nourishing the most. Cold weather, lack of light and central heating all contribute to our skin feeling dry and less healthy than usual. Thankfully the solution is simple; a little love and care. It doesn’t need to take very long, especially when you include it in your existing daily routines. Try swapping shower gel for natural soap to avoid dryness, boost your circulation with dry skin brushing, use a natural body oil when you step out of the shower and be sure to exfoliate weekly to get rid of any dry and dead skin.
Take a day - or a few hours - off to nourish yourself. Sound good? Even if you only have a quiet hour to yourself, cherish it and fill the time with something that lifts your heart and soul. Try catching up on a little sleep, enjoy a peaceful soak in the bath or enjoy your favourite online yoga class - free from interruptions.
No matter how much time you have, be sure to avoid the distraction of chores that ‘need’ to be done.
If you have a day or morning to yourself then take a look at my guide to creating your own at-home wellness retreat, it’s full of inspiration and has a printable workbook to help you get started.
Disconnecting from technology allows us time to reconnect to ourselves, which is something that so many of us need. I love the convenience that technology brings into our lives but there’s something so liberating about switching it off and walking away for a while. I know that for some, the thought of being away from your phone feels uncomfortable and so be gentle and start small if you need to. Try a few minutes at first and then build up to more substantial blocks of time - you’ll soon feel the benefits.
Whether you practise regularly or have decided that this is the year to get started, there’s overwhelming evidence that meditation is the key to improving our mental health. Even the shortest meditation can help to slow down your mental chatter and create a sense of calm. I started my own practice many years ago with just 2 minutes a day - and we can all find that, can’t we? With regular practice, meditation can help you build a deeper connection to inner peace and wisdom. Essential oils are a helpful addition to your meditation practice and can help to slow a wandering mind and create a haven of calm. Try one of our natural soy candles created especially for use during meditation.
This is one of my favourites. Show yourself a little love with a gift; your favourite flowers, bar of luxury dark chocolate or that new book you’ve been waiting to read. It doesn’t take much. It doesn’t even have to cost anything, you could use something that you’ve been saving; like a luxury candle or bath soak. Maybe you could even gift yourself some time to relax…even a few minutes can make a difference.
I hope that you’ve found something here that you can use to bring love and comfort into what remains of these darker months. Remember that even the smallest action can give us the momentum we need to feel uplifted and to keep moving forward.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.