I think 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. The extent to which it affects us can vary, but feeling less motivated, lacking in energy and becoming more withdrawn throughout the winter months is quite common.
But, 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. But, the real magic is in getting outside and soaking up some natural light - the health benefits are endless and include topping up essential vitamin D, helping us get a good night’s sleep and even improving our mental health. So, grab those shoes and get your body moving; take the dog and the kids with you or enjoy a peaceful wander by yourself. Even a few minutes out on your lunch break can make all the difference - give it a try.
It’s vital for our health and wellbeing, but evidence suggests that most of us are more sleep-deprived than ever. There’s a lot you can do to improve the quality of your sleep; from shutting off electronic devices an hour before bed, eating a little lighter, avoiding caffeine in the evenings. An afternoon nap can be helpful too if you have a spare 20 minutes or so. If you’re having trouble falling asleep then here are a few reasons why you’re not sleeping well and what you can do about it.
Use the winter months to explore new seasonal produce and experiment with new healthier dishes, which can be just as comforting as your winter favourites. Use an ingredient that you’re not familiar with and combine new flavours. Not only does this help to nourish your body, but it also gets your creativity flowing and encourages your mind out of its winter slumber. My goal at the moment is for one new vegan and gluten free dish each week! I love using my creativity at home; I’m expanding my range of dishes and enjoying all of the fresh ingredients.
It can be tempting to neglect your skin while you’re wrapped up in layers of warm winter clothes, but it’s the season when it needs the most care. Cold weather, lack of light and central heating all contribute to our skin feeling dry and looking much less healthy than usual. The solution is regular care, and it doesn’t need to take very long. Build a little into every day - swap shower gel for natural soap to avoid dryness, start dry brushing your skin, use a natural body oil when you step out of the shower and exfoliate weekly to get rid of any dry and dead skin.
Take a day off for no other reason than to care for yourself. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Don’t overload the day with tasks though! Take it easy...the day should be just for you, even if you have to wait until everyone has left the house before it begins. Catch up on a little sleep, enjoy a soak in the bath, your favourite yoga class, meditate in absolute peace - you get the idea. I try and do this every month and have created a guide to creating your own at home wellness retreat (with printable workbook) to help you get started.
Disconnecting from technology allows us to reconnect with ourselves, which is something that so many of us are striving for. And while I love technology, there’s something so liberating about switching it all off and walking away for a while. Now I know that even the thought of this makes some people uncomfortable and so start small if you need to with a few minutes here and there before building up to more substantial blocks of time - you’ll soon feel the benefits.
Whether you practise regularly or have been meaning to get started, there’s overwhelming evidence that meditation is the key to improved mental health. The wonderful thing is that even the shortest meditation can slow down your mental chatter and create calm. Try this now, close your eyes and slowly take a deep breath in through your nose...breathing down into your belly, pause and then slowly breathe back out through your nose feels good, doesn’t it? With regular practice, you can learn to tap into your inner peace and wisdom. Try enhancing your daily practice with a natural candle 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 dark chocolate or that new book you’ve wanted to read for months. It’s essential that we show ourselves love, and it doesn’t take much to lift our spirit a little.
What can you do today to help yourself feel comforted during these darker months? Remember that even the smallest thing can make a difference; simply take small daily actions and you’ll be feeling uplifted and refreshed in no time.
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.