5 Ways to Self Care this Winter
Winter is the time of quietness, of inwardness, of being at home and being cozy. The dark and femininely charged time of the year is upon us (whether we like it or not).
Now is the time for contemplation, quietness, reading a good book by the fire, drinking some warm beverages and eating earthy, hearty foods that enrich our souls and inspire our most comfortable moods. Now is the time to embrace Hygge, and to be inside with family and loved ones, preferably eating good food and covered in mountains of blankets and pillows.
While its obvious self care this time of the year should take precedence, it’s easy to let it fall to the wayside-especially in light of the holiday season and all the preparations that go along with it! For this reason exactly, I’ve compiled five ways to self care this winter — because we all need a reminder, refresh, or inspiration on ways to self care that aren’t yoga and bubble baths (although those are great, too!)
- Practice presence at mealtime
Some of the best things in life are food. I love food, and my husband just so happens to be a great cook. Lucky me, right? But….how many times have I forgotten to eat for hours, only to slurp down some noodles or crunch some toast while mindlessly on my phone-reading something, scrolling social media, or watching YouTube? Yeah….Guilty as charged. Sometimes I even find myself scarfing down a meal as fast as possible just because I can. I always suffer the consequences when I am still hungry because my body hasn’t caught up to my mouth! I get so focused on the end goal of finishing my food that I completely forget to enjoy the food I’m eating….typical product over process mindset.
Practicing presence at mealtime is not only important for mindfulness, but it is vastly important for our health.
Health starts with food. It is the building blocks we give our bodies to heal, grow, and fight off disease. Choosing the best building blocks for our bodies and souls is so important if we want to maintain balance within our bodies, but it doesn’t stop there. If we want care about the foods we eat, naturally it extends to the process of eating those foods, too.
Take the time this winter to eat and really savor those warm, comforting, delicious foods that not only nourish your body, but your soul. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, flip on the mood lighting and be intentional about your mealtime. Chew your food carefully and thoroughly, enjoying every last bite and really enjoy and be grateful for the time you are taking to care for your body in a meaningful way.
Practicing presence at mealtime is a great way to practice self care wherever you are-be it by yourself, with your family, with your spouse or partner, at home or in a restaurant. Keeping in mind that life is about the process not the product or end goal can be incorporated everywhere-even at the dinner table.
2. Practice Positivity
I must admit-and I know I am not alone in this- pessimism has long been my default. I’ve been a cup-half-full kinda gal, and this is something that seriously brings me down in daily life. Pessimism has, unfortunately, become the societal default in 2020… and will be the ever-cited “new normal” if we don’t address this mindset right now and start to change it for the better (literally).
Stress is a killer. What’s the #1 contributor to stress? A negative mindset.
Stress is a huge problem in America, and it only continues to get worse with the ongoing fear-mongering of the 24-hour news cycle, various political narratives, and scarcity mindset being pumped into our brains. It’s no wonder that millions of people don’t believe in any kind of God-or GOOD, for that matter. Science, pessimism, and public opinion have become the new god, and the new social order. If we continue to be a pessimistic society, we will surely drown in our own misery.
This is why we must believe in good and practice positivity. Practicing positivity is hard when your brain is wired for pessimism (like mine) BUT it can be done, and it is the best and most important form of self care you can ever do for yourself -and society at large.
Practicing positivity can look like anything, but the best way to do it is by practicing gratitude. For more insight into this, see my blog post Gratitude. In this post, I describe the best way to practice gratitude: make lists of all the things you are grateful for first thing in the morning, and last thing before you go to bed at night. You will literally fall asleep counting your blessings!
“Literally listing out all of the things you are grateful for at these times not only rewires your brain for positivity, but keeps it relevant and at the forefront of your mind throughout the day, or helps you fall asleep.”
3. Change your perspective and go somewhere new
Of the multitudes of things I possess within me, I am also a creature of habit. I like to go to the same grocery stores, gas stations, and routes for walks. New situations tend to stress me out (shouts out to my fellow Highly Sensitive Persons) but sometimes it can be exciting-if I open my mind to it. Going a new place can be faced kind of like a new challenge, or be an insight into someone else’s way of life. This is precisely why I put this on the list. Going somewhere new can really change your perspective on the world! Not only can you meet people you never thought you would, but doing something out of your routine opens you up energetically and trains you for resilience.
This year isn’t like the usual winters we have experienced precisely for the reasons this year has been different. Because we have been limited as to where we go and what we do, mandates have forced us to become hermit-like and closed off to new experiences physically, which extends to our energetic bodies and mentalities. This whole year is a new experience-and a overwhelmingly fraught and unpleasant one to boot. This, I believe, has closed a majority of us off to new experiences and closed our minds to the positivity of the outside world. This pandemic has caused us to trust the world and the things outside of our control less and less, which can be a problem when we want to experience personal growth or wellness.
Changing your perspective by going somewhere new can be as simple as going to a new gas station, or as large traveling somewhere outside of your city or town. Patronizing independent and local businesses instead of larger chain-stores for your Christmas presents or trying a local restaurant you haven’t patronized before are both great ways to change your perspective, but also help small businesses out. The idea is to get our of your own head, out into the world, and to open your mind up to the possibilities of the outside world. The world is not bad, but horribly and thoroughly mundane.
4. Share something
…..Be it a secret, a project, a thought you’ve been having, a thought of gratitude, or a quiet moment over a cup of coffee with a friend, now is the time to share and forget the isolationist attitude we have taken in 2020. The world, so the saying goes, is your oyster.
Winter tends always tends to make me act like a bit of a hermit. It could be the weather, the limited sunlight, or it could be pure laziness, but staying indoors and keeping to myself has always been my prerogative for the last few years. While, yes, winter is a good time for introspection and soul-searching, it is also necessary to talk about your thoughts and findings too. Sharing with loved ones ideas, moments, art, feelings, thoughts, music, attitudes, and sorrows are what make up community. If we do not share of ourselves, our communities crumble and we are left alone out in the cold.
Sharing something can look as simple as sharing a thought you’ve been developing with a loved one or as big as sharing a book or starting that blog you’ve always wanted to start. It can be simple-a meal with someone you love, a hug, a smile. It can be a meaningful Christmas gift, something homemade, or something passed on that you can no longer use. It can be as simple as sharing plant cuttings, baking something for someone, or sharing yourself in service to the community or helping someone with a project they can’t so themselves. Sharing something is a leap of faith-an act of bravery. It invigorates and clears your throat chakra, especially if its sharing something you need to-literally-get off your chest.
Sharing something is a great way to self-care this winter because it encourages openness and expansion in this cold and contracting time of year. It gets the creative juices flowing and strengthens relationships with those you share with: win-win, right? Just remember that part of sharing is receiving…it’s a two way street.
5. Focus on your skin
Our skin is the biggest organ of our body. It is the membrane in which we interact with the world, so isn’t it just so unfair to neglect it? How often do I find myself slacking on my skincare routine in the winter because I’m just too tired-or lazy- to put in the proper effort? Or, similarly, treating my skin like its only exists on my face and doesn’t cover my whole entire body? Yeah. Guilty as charged, again.
Winter is fraught with skin issues-chapped and cracked lips, dry and flaky hands and feet, noses rubbed raw from blowing them during our bouts with the sniffles. This winter I urge you to invest your time into skincare and really take care of this most vital and important organ. It is, like I said, how we primarily interact with the world.
No matter how many fancy face creams and serums I buy, it doesn’t stop the rest of my skin from getting the winter blues! I know I can’t be the only person out there who washes their face twice a day every day and moisturizes it, but gets out of the shower and neglects to put on any form of lotion on the rest of my skin!
Be it taking a warm bath and following it with a nice body lotion, paying extra attention to the heels, elbows, hands and feet, or by getting a massage, there is no better time to start paying attention to your skin than right now. My favorite way to take care of my skin is by doing doing a face massage with my jade roller (I have the Daily Concepts one), or with my hands before I go to bed at night. Not only does it relax me, but it makes me feel beautiful and like I really love myself.
No matter how you cut it-winter is a time where self care is needed and should be prioritized! In 2020, self care is doubly needed, but Expanding our concepts of self-care and getting into the habit of practicing it can take time. Self care looks a little different for each and every one of us (read Three Pillars of Self Care) but I hope this reinforced, inspired, and got you thinking about new ways you can care for yourself this winter. Use these tips however you want-or don’t use them at all! If you did find this article helpful, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment or follow the blog!
Originally published at http://imperfectionfreak.wordpress.com on December 10, 2020.