self care to beat the winter blues
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
We are in the thick of winter and I know I have felt a touch of the winter blues here and there. I have found that my mood is greatly affected by the weather and season. Naturally I am drawn to warm weather, green plants and trees, and spending time outside. The winter brings the complete opposite of these things.
This year I really suffered during the end of December and the beginning of January to shake off the winter blues. I spent a lot of time journaling to see what routines and situations were helping me and what which were hurting me.
I discovered that I had abandoned a lot of my self care routines and was not serving my body, mind, and spirit. One very important thing to remember is that when we are at our lowest points, and possibly don’t feel like investing in ourselves, is when we need it the most!
Only when we take care of ourselves are we able to be our best selves. I put together the following list of self care tips that helped me break out of my winter blues. Hopefully they will help you too!
Spend some time in stillness. Meditation allows you to relax the mind and body so fully that you are resetting your parasympathetic nervous system. This is our “fight or flight” response that causes us to be on edge. Because this is the time of year when we are inside often, with little time to release pent up energy, it is important that you stay grounded and connected to a sense of calm throughout your body and mind. Even sitting for 5 minutes a day can take the edge off.
Stretch & Move
Using exercise as a physical release works wonders on your mental state during the winter. Although you may feel that you don’t have time for a full workout, making it part of your routine will greatly increase your mood. Some easy ways to work in movement when you don’t have time for the yoga studio or gym are doing light stretches, moving your joints (rolling the wrists, ankles, hips, knees, etc.), doing 15-20 minutes of yoga at home. Check out honor yoga now for some amazing classes.
Put plants everywhere
Plants have been shown to reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Especially if you live in a cold winter climate, there is little to no green left outside. This can be taxing on our bodies more than we know. Having plants, flowers, succulents, etc. around the house helps your mental state during the gloomy winter months.
Some ways to incorporate plants into your life:
Buy yourself flowers
In the shower, put eucalyptus. This creates a spa-like shower while releasing the amazing benefits of eucalyptus. Some benefits include: anti-stress, mental clarity, anti-inflammatory
Around your home. Figure out where you spend most of your time and make sure there is a plant in your view.
Write about what you are feeling and experiencing. Winter months bring us a natural time of going within and spending a lot more time with ourselves. The time you take to write and reflect is invaluable. It will give you a glimpse at your thought patterns and give you time to tune in to how you are dealing with the winter blues. Take 10-15 minutes to free write. Notice what triggered you throughout the day, what emotions you felt, how you handled them, or anything that comes up for you in that moment.
If it's hard for you to get started, I listed some journal prompts for you to try below:
What do I feel at this moment?
What would make me happy right now?
What is going right in my life?
What lesson did I learn this week?
What can I do to take better care of myself?