While the days are starting to get longer, the weather is still cold and the sun still dips down below that horizon before 6:00pm. Self-care, whatever that means to you, is important and extremely so in the winter months when we are hiding away in our homes, rarely going outside and seeing the sunshine. Here are some cozy ways to make your winter months a little more kind.
Read a book instead of bingeing yet another TV series on Netflix. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of just watching TV all the time. Not only are really great shows dwindling on Netflix, but the feeling of exhaustion after doing nothing but watching TV for three hours (!!) is getting a little old.
Snuggling under a blanket on the couch by yourself or surrounded by your loved ones and pets is a perfect way to spend a freezing winter’s eve, and you can still get this feeling without paying for Disney+.
There’s just something about curling up in a comfy chair or couch, covered in blankets with a hot cup of something and a good book. It’s essentially a hug wrapping around your soul.
I’ve recently gotten into teas, something that I never enjoyed. I always prefered coffee, or just plain water to a cup of hot tea. I didn’t want, or need, the extra caffeine and it seemed silly to me to just drink a cup of slightly coloured water.
But, I’ve recently started a little migraine experiment and I’m now researching herbal teas like they’re about to go extinct and drinking them as a warm, nightly ritual before bed. I also stumbled upon this delightful blog that goes through each tea and its benefits. While my original reasoning for a cup of tea in the evening was solely for migraine experimentation, I’ve found that I look forward to brewing that cup and snuggling up on the couch or in bed, complete with my Royal Albert teacup and saucer.
Ignore any beneficial properties of tea, drinking a warm cup of tea just feels nice and cozy.
Hot chocolate with or without Baileys
Of course, there’s something adults like to drink more than tea and that’s anything hot with Baileys poured in. How is this a self-care item? Make the beverage mindfully and with love. That means being present in the moment, making it a whole part of your day, whether you melt chocolate or spoon a powder in. Then, sit and enjoy that warm beverage instead of just chugging it down and continuing on with your day.
Sit, breathe it in, and drink it slowly.
Make bread or cookies or anything that will warm your heart
Whenever it rains, or when it starts to turn a little cooler in September, I head straight for my baking cupboard and get to work. There’s just something so lovely about baking and it always puts me in a good mood. Except that one time I ended up with three cakes, all garbage and a dozen eggs in the compost. Cakes and I are not friends. But, back to why baking is – usually – a good idea.
Not only are you warming up your home with the oven, but you’re providing yourself and your family with something you can all enjoy. Better yet, something that isn’t store bought, comes in plastic and filled with who knows how much sugar.
Obviously, meditating was going to be on the list because it’s the biggest self-care thing you can do. There are so many apps out there that help with this (Calm, Headspace) and can get you feeling relaxed and ready to take on winter. You don’t need to meditate for hours on end; a simple three minute breathing exercise makes me feel so much better. For a proper meditation, I use an app called Mindfulness Coach, which has been made by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to help those with PTSD. It offers really great breathing and meditating exercises, plus information for those who want to be a little more mindful in their lives.
Face masks and cozy socks
Self-care usually revolves around skincare because it’s so easy to relax while at the spa or doing at-home face masks.
Make your regular self-care routine cozier with some fuzzy, warm socks and enjoy the moment, instead of rushing through it like you normally would. You don’t need to be doing anything while you let your facemask sit and absorb into your skin, you can just sit and enjoy the moment. Winter self-care is all about taking little things in life and making it your whole priority, doing it all mindfully and cozying up.
Fill your home with a warm glow of candles – just don’t burn the damn thing down!
I love lighting candles, but rarely do in the summer months unless it’s raining or they’re citronella and I’m outside. Candles, to me, feel warm and cozy and bring me back to a simpler time. You know, when electricity didn’t exist and all you had were a few candles to light the way. While you don’t need to cross-stitch by candlelight, lighting a few in the evening will cast a soft glow over your whole night.
Than you normally would, that is. Give your body the nutrients it so craves instead of shoving your face with junk food, something that is incredibly hard to stop.
You’re probably rolling your eyes at the fact that I’m lecturing you on your eating habits (as someone who doesn’t eat healthy all the time can’t do without a bit of hypocrisy) when you’re hoping to get some ideas on how to relax. Except, what’s more self-care than actually taking care of yourself and providing your body with the nutrients it needs?
Book a massage or a spa appointment
If you’ve the money, splurge on a massage or spa appointment to boost your mood. Even just getting my nails done makes me feel better and happier, like I just committed to myself. Book something for you, whatever it is that makes you smile.
Actually go outside
I’m making it a goal of mine this year to go outside everyday for at least 10 minutes. And, no, walking to and from my truck doesn’t count as outside time. You may be laughing and wondering how I could go days without going outside for a quick 10 minutes, but think back to your habits…have you? Ignore walking from your vehicle in a parking lot to a building or your driveway to your house. Have you spent 10 minutes, or more, just simply being outside and enjoying the outdoors and nature?
It’s scary how we hibernate so well in winter, shutting ourselves in from the cold and the blustery winds. Unless there’s a storm, I’m going to be that crazy person, just standing on my deck and breathing in that fresh air. I’m also that crazy person bundled up in ski pants, toque, mittens, jacket and big boots, meditating in my yard. And, I feel great, leaning into winter.