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Although I think there’s lots to love about winter; snuggly blankets, extra long baths and dark nights that give me even more reason to burn candles, there’s no doubt that the lack of light and chilly weather can have a negative effect on our mood. The extent to which it affects us can vary, but for most of us feeling less motivated, lacking in energy and becoming more withdrawn throughout the winter months is quite common.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 ready for a new chapter. 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 health and wellbeing, but evidence suggests that most of us are more sleep deprived than ever. And for some, lack of sleep can be an all year round challenge. An afternoon nap has been shown to help, as well as getting an early night as often as possible. But, if you’re having trouble getting to sleep then here are a few reasons why you’re not sleeping well and what you can do about it.
Experiment with new healthier dishes, which can be just as comforting as your winter favourites. Cook with seasonal produce or an ingredient that you’ve never used before. Not only does this help your body but it also gets your creativity flowing and encourages your mind out of it’s winter slumber. My goal at the moment is for one new healthy gluten free dish each week! Yes, it can be a challenge but it’s inspiring me to expand my range of dishes and I’m enjoying working with new ingredients.
It can be tempting to neglect your skin a little while it’s 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, 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 and appointments though - unless one of them is for a massage! This day is 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 try starting small, a few minutes here and there and then build up to more solid 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 help to slow down your mental chatter and create calm. Try this now, close your eyes and slowly take a few deep breaths - feels good doesn’t it? With regular practise you can learn to tap into a sense of inner peace and quiet your mind so that you can connect to a higher wisdom. Try enhancing your daily practice with a natural candle created especially for use during meditation.
This is one of my favourites. Show yourself love with a gift; your favourite flowers, bar of dark chocolate or that new book you’ve been wanting to read for months. It’s important that we show ourselves love and it really doesn’t take much to lift our spirit a little.
What can you do today to help yourself out of hibernation and lift that mood? Remember that even the smallest thing can make a difference; simply take action on it and then do the same tomorrow.
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.