The winter months, and the corresponding shorter days and colder temperatures, can take a toll on your well-being, so it’s essential to focus on self-care this time of year. Even if you don’t suffer from Seasonal Depression Disorder (SAD), the weather change can create everyday mental health challenges. The colder temperatures tend to reduce both social and physical activities which negatively impact our mood.
A great antidote to the winter blues is to focus on self-care, prioritizing both your physical and mental wellness. I know “self-care” sounds like a buzzword and often feels like a luxury we don’t have time for, but carving out time to nourish yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is a sound strategy for coping with seasonal mood swings. Here are some simple suggestions to help you beat the winter blues this year!
Get Some Sun
Lack of sunlight negatively impacts your mood, but it can be hard to motivate when the temperatures drop and the days are shorter. Pushing yourself to bundle up and go for a walk, run, or hike outdoors packs a double punch: sunlight exposure along with a mood-boosting endorphin surge from physical activity.
If you live in a climate with little to no natural light (I’m looking at you PNW), consider investing in a light therapy box or infrared sauna. Infrared saunas may help boost mental health, alleviate anxiety and depression, promote better sleep, and improve circulation, making it the ultimate winter self-care splurge!
Take a Bath
A luxurious soak with your favorite bath salts, essential oils, or bubble bath is an easy way to warm up and add some self-care to your day during the colder months. A warm bath is easy, affordable, and relieves muscle tension while promoting overall relaxation. A warm bath is great anytime, but prior to bed, you’ll set yourself up for deeper, more restful sleep by changing your body’s core temperature, signaling it’s time to rest.
Take a cue from Nature and use the shorter days to do less. We live in an achievement-oriented society where “busyness” is worn like a badge of honor so use the winter months to buck that trend. Slow down, get cozy, and use this time to reset and recharge. Reading, journaling, meditation, yoga, and cooking are all great forms of winter self-care that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
I’m not suggesting a cup of tea can cure all your ailments, but it’s a great place to start. You can find a tea to support nearly all your needs–from boosting immunity and soothing a sore throat to improving digestion and promoting more restful sleep. The act of brewing a cup of tea and slowly savoring it may be the simplest winter self-care act of all.
Not only is tea warm and comforting, but the amino acids in tea can also help with the production of serotonin and dopamine which help boost your mood. Rose, Jasmine, and Chamomile teas are good choices on days you need a calming. Ginger or Peppermint tea is great when you need a pick-me-up and can help soothe digestion. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and may help reduce inflammation while Black tea is fantastic for promoting alertness and increasing energy.
If you are not a tea drinker (yet), experiment with different flavors and types of tea and find one that works for you! Most importantly, take some time this winter to slow down and truly care for yourself.
Looking for the ultimate winter self-care strategy? Sign up for our 14-day trial of Ohana Online. Play with different class styles, teachers, and lengths to find what movement practice fits you best in this season. Sign up today!
Erin Entlich is a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, holistic health coach, and writer. She believes doing good starts with feeling good, which is why she loves helping people weave movement, mindfulness, and healthy eating into their daily lives. Find out more at www.erinentlich.com.