Cold-weather months don’t have to get you down. These self-care ideas can help keep your heart and mind warm.
It’s not uncommon to feel seasonal depression during winter. With the change in season, the sun isn’t out as much, the snow may be piling up, and it’s often too cold to go anywhere.
We’re basically trapped inside, and for some people, they’re all alone. Add the stress of preparing for the holidays, and anxiety levels can reach an all-time high.
But it’s important to remember one thing.
You always have some control over your reality.
One small choice can make one big impact. Live with that mindset and try these self-care tips to lift yourself up.
1. Get sunlight
While there’s not much of it during winter, the sun still peaks out every now and then. Sunlight has been proven to boost our mood.
If it’s too cold to get outside, get near a window when the sun starts shining through. Get a few minutes of sun to start your day and see the difference it makes.
2. Take a warm bath
Most of you probably remember taking baths as a child. It’s funny how we stop doing that as much as we get older.
Baths can be great for calming your mood. Research found that it can lessen your stress, reduce your anxiety, and even help you sleep better.
It’s believed it has to do with the fact that it warms us up. While you’re lying in the tub, you can read a book, listen to music, or just take time to meditate.
Add in some form of relaxing activity to multiply the peace you feel as you bathe.
3. Stay physically active
You have to keep moving even if you can’t do it as much outside. Have you ever noticed a lot of people who are in good shape usually seem happier?
If they’re happier, maybe it can make you happier too. Be gentle with getting yourself to exercise if it’s not something you usually want to do.
Think of getting yourself to exercise like easing a child into eating their vegetables. Parents usually mix foods they like with the vegetables to do the trick.
In the case of exercise, mix in something you like to get you doing it more. You can have one of your favorite TV shows on or listen to some of your favorite music.
Additionally, the more you like the exercise you’re doing, the more you’ll actually do it. If you like dancing, then dance. If you like running, then run.
After you finish your exercise, reward yourself. There’s been research that’s shown rewarding yourself can help to turn an action into a habit.
We like to think we’re above being like trained animals, but really, we’re not that much different.
4. Get cozy
Imagine sitting on a soft couch, in front of a warm fireplace, and wrapped in a cozy blanket. If you can’t recreate this exact reality, you can create some version of it.
You could light a candle and sit in your most comfortable chair. Create this mood for yourself when you’re coming back inside from the cold.
It’s all about making yourself feel physically good.
5. Visualize warmth
Visualization has been around for a while. Athletes have used it to improve their performance. People who’ve suffered anxiety have used it to feel calmer.
Let me tell you my experience.
I’ve had moments where I’ve felt pain in my body. When I visualize myself getting a massage, it’s almost as if I’m really feeling it, and my body starts to feel less tense
The same could be the case for you if you visualize a warm sunny day on a beach.
If you’re still skeptical, here’s some extra research for you. A Harvard study found that Tibetan monks could raise the temperature of their skin just through meditation.
Your mind is more powerful than you think.
6. Be creative
Now could be the best time to explore your creative side. You could do some drawing, coloring, painting, or maybe some creative writing.
You could do some journaling or write up a poem. Give yourself a chance to enjoy some self-expression. Use your creativity as a tool to release some of those emotions you feel being stuck inside.
7. Appreciate winter
Winter isn’t a lot of people’s favorite season. Still, there’s a beauty to the changes. The earth is settling down after a long year of growing plants and trees.
The animals are migrating or hibernating after a year of living and surviving. The sun is taking it easy, while the night gets to shine more often.
The season is all in the way you look at it. You can see winter as pleasantly as I described, and not let it make you feel miserable.
8. Sooth your senses
Go all out in activating and pleasing your senses. Wear the most comfortable clothes you enjoy wearing around the house.
Fill the air with your favorite scent. Enjoy your tastiest sweets with a warm beverage like hot chocolate or warm milk.
Put on some music that sets a relaxing tone and allows you to comfortably sink into your chair.
9. Enjoy some quiet time
Maybe it’s me, but it feels like the world is quieter during wintertime. We spend all year dealing with one adventure to the next.
Then when winter rolls around, in some ways, things slow down a little bit. All depending on your circumstances of course.
With not much going on outside, maybe you can just enjoy some more quiet time. Give yourself a chance to just slow down.
Have a moment to breathe and just relax.
10. Be grateful
It may not have been your best year, but always remember you can be grateful. Think about the moments and memories you’re thankful for.
Write them down as a reminder to yourself when you’re feeling down. As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, gratitude can help you feel happier. Be thankful today.
11. Plan goals for next year
If we can survive this year, maybe we can survive almost anything. Maybe we can do more than we’ve ever done before.
12. Organize your winter clothes
With more time inside, might as well go ahead and declutter your winter clothes. When you have everything organized, you might feel a little less stressed.
13. Drink water often
There’s so much drinking water often can do for you. One nice thing it does is it keeps your skin from getting too dry with all the heat in your home. It’s the little things that a make difference.
14. Be with family and friends
You don’t have to be cold alone. Spending time with family and friends could be just what you need to feel happier in the winter.
Even just having a virtual meetup can help you feel better.
15. Watch your favorite holiday film
They’re going to be all over your TV anyway, might as well just enjoy them. I used to really enjoy all the holiday episodes of TV shows that came on in December.
As far as holiday films, I enjoyed watching the Grinch growing up. Whether you like It’s a Wonderful Life or The Santa Clause, relive those childhood memories to spark some joy inside.
16. Bring in some plants
You can still enjoy green plants even though they’re not outside right now. Find some winter houseplants that don’t require much maintenance.
Whenever you’re feeling like you’re missing spring, you can sit down and enjoy looking at them.
17. Read up on some self-help books
Your time can be resourceful or wasteful. Make it resourceful by picking up some new knowledge that can help you live better.
There’s lots of information out there that can further your personal development.
18. Clean up your room
Even if not many people will be coming over to visit, you can still keep your space cleaned up. It’ll get your body moving around too.
Your room should be a space that energizes you. Seeing a bunch of items that you need to clean and organize can be stressful.
Organize everything to where when you step in your room, you feel a sense of calm surrounding you.
19. Re-paint your walls
Maybe your tired of the color you’ve had in your home for a while. Take time to paint it one of your favorite colors.
If you want your home to reflect a winter style, try white, blue, or black. Emerald greens or berry reds can work too.
We all probably have a lot to reflect on this year. It’s certainly been unlike any other many of us have ever experienced.
Look back on your highlights and lowlights and think how you want things to be moving forward. Reflect on the lessons of you want to keep in mind for next year.
One of the most caring things you can do is just let yourself rest. Even if you weren’t moving around a lot this year, maybe you spent a lot of time stressing.
Perhaps there were sleepless nights figuring out how you’d make it through the next day. Sleep is very important to our well-being, yet we neglect it often.
Make winter the time you get a good amount of sleep at night. Enjoy the feeling of waking up refreshed and energized to face a new day.
Winter may not be your favorite season, but it doesn’t have to be your worst one. Make the most of it by taking good care of yourself. Spring will be right around the corner before you know it.