As the days grow shorter and the sun becomes less frequent, temperatures begin to drop, and snowflakes start to fall. Winter can be a challenging time for our mental well-being. We leave and return to our homes in the dark, and our moods swing more than usual. Melancholy knocks on the door, and we may feel less inclined to socialise and more prone to stay indoors and hibernate. Everyone has their way of coping with this beautiful yet challenging season and keeping their spirits up. Practising a self-care routine and pampering yourself can help you navigate the coldest months of the year.
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The importance of self-care
Taking care of ourselves and finding time for self-care becomes even more crucial during the winter season. As the season changes, it affects both our bodies and minds. When winter approaches, we must make peace with the shorter days, lack of daylight, vitamin D deficiency (affecting our mood), and dropping temperatures.
The lack of natural light can play havoc with our sleep patterns by affecting our body's release of the melatonin hormone (a sleep hormone whose regulation is based on daylight). This can negatively affect our sleep patterns and may result in an urge to go to bed earlier, making it challenging to wake up in the morning. Please don't assume it is our fault if we become lazier during winter, as our bodies react to the seasonal changes.
Have you ever heard of SAD? SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a disorder that resembles depression in its symptoms and is caused by the change of seasons, specifically the lack of daylight. Regular self-care can help us maintain our mental well-being and cope with the challenging winter season.
Regardless of whether we love or hate winter, it affects the body in the same way. That's why it's essential to take extra care of yourself and look after your body and mind. Just 10 minutes a day dedicated to yourself can make a huge difference. If you're interested, keep reading; the following lines will provide you with self-care ideas for the coldest time of the year.
Spend time outdoors
Although low temperatures and unpleasant weather may not seem inviting, it's worth stepping out of your comfort zone, wrapping up warm, and getting outside. Spending time in the fresh air boosts your immunity and helps regulate melatonin production, which is crucial when its production is often imbalanced. A few minutes outside can make a big difference, even if you feel sluggish or unmotivated.
To fully enjoy your time outdoors, consider trying barefoot shoes. These shoes provide the freedom of being barefoot even during winter while also keeping your feet warm and dry. If you’re feeling down and in need of some inner revitalisation, why not try spending some time in nature enjoying the freedom only barefoot shoes can offer?
Don't worry about cold temperatures; quality barefoot shoes provide thermal comfort even in minus degrees. Plus, with an ultra-flexible and thin sole, your feet can move more freely, generating heat and keeping you warm. Our best-selling winter model, the Be Lenka Winter 3.0, is insulated with Merino wool and designed to withstand even the harshest winter conditions.
If you’re feeling daring, you can take off your shoes and feel the sensation of the ground beneath your feet for a few minutes. This practice works wonders for the immune system while also providing unparalleled sensations, luxurious micro-massage, and nerve stimulation. However, this can be achieved through barefoot shoes with thin soles, minus the cold, of course.
If you tend to avoid going outside during the winter months, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and include at least a 10-minute walk in your daily self-care routine. You'll be surprised at how much better you'll feel!
Treat yourself to something special
We tend to be more active in the warmer months, but as winter approaches, the instinct to slow down suddenly kicks in. This is not due to sudden laziness but rather an evolutionary response to conserve energy. In the winter, the available nutrition in nature becomes scarce, and every organism, regardless of size, must save energy. Humans are no exception. So why don't we slow down and be more present?
Slow down. Stop and smell the roses. Treat yourself to something special by wrapping up warm in a cosy blanket, lighting a scented candle, and reading a good book. You could also make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy its sweet warmth while listening to your favourite playlist or podcast or simply in silence. Run yourself a bubble bath and let yourself unwind. Just relax and pamper yourself for a while. You deserve it.
Move your body
Regular physical activity is essential throughout the year but becomes more crucial during winter since we tend to move less. When we move less, our immunity weakens, we feel low on energy, and we become susceptible to mood swings and sluggishness. Therefore, motivating ourselves to get up and get moving is vital.
Do you enjoy winter sports? That's great! However, if you prefer something other than outdoor activities, you can look for indoor alternatives. Fortunately, there are endless possibilities available. You can visit a gym, attend group workout sessions, or take lessons from a personal trainer. Additionally, you can use apps and websites that offer home-based workouts, which you can perform in the comfort of your living room.
The choice of activity is entirely up to you, based on your preferences, mood, and availability. How you stay active is not important; what is essential is that you do. Irrespective of your view on self-care - whether you consider it a necessity or a luxury - prioritising physical activity should be your top priority when taking care of yourself.
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin, especially when combined with central heating. Your skin may feel drier and thirstier than ever, so adjusting your skincare routine to meet its changing needs is essential.
In the winter, your skin requires heavier and more nourishing care than it does in the summer. This means swapping those light-textured gels and creams for thicker and more hydrating options. Take this opportunity to make your skincare routine a moment of self-care, indulging in 10 minutes of pampering each day. Treat your skin to nourishing serums, heavenly-scented oils, and hydrating creams to keep it looking and feeling its best. Remember, your skin is your largest organ, so remember to moisturise your whole body to prevent dry patches and eczema.
Remember to hydrate both inside and out, and make sure you're drinking plenty of water. While winter calls for special beverages like hot chocolate and mulled wine, these drinks should not replace your daily water intake. In addition to these special treats, drink enough water or tea throughout the day to keep yourself and your skin healthy and glowing.
Adjust your vitamin intake
During winter, we tend to consume fewer fresh fruits and vegetables compared to summer. Despite the wide range of fresh produce available (even if imported), the amount of veggies and fruits consumed has reduced.
Why does this happen? During summer, we crave lighter veggie salads and raw, unprocessed food. In contrast, winter makes us yearn for more nourishing and grounding foods like soups and stews. This is an instinct, and evolution is to blame yet again. In winter, we need to store more energy than in summer. Therefore, if we have to choose between a light salad and a comfort food like spicy lentil dhal, we may instinctively opt for the latter.
Due to the lower intake of fresh greens and fruits, we may lack vitamins. So, we need to add them differently by taking supplements. Our daily dose of vitamins should be composed of vitamin C, vitamin D (as we lack sun in the winter, we need to supplement it by taking vitamins), and B-group vitamins.
To ensure we eat healthily, we should add legumes, high-quality red meat, and green-leaf veggies to our diet. We should also consume as many fresh fruits as possible and follow the 5-a-day rule by consuming five different kinds of veggies and fruits. Different kinds of nuts are the perfect source of healthy fat; eat a handful daily to keep your intake balanced.
The power of gratitude
When the sun rises late and sets early in winter, we may feel more gloomy than usual. As the holidays approach, we tend to focus on what we want but don't have, forgetting about what we already possess and should be thankful for. This is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves of the abundance in our lives and to practice daily gratitude. Doing so can shift our overall perspective, making us more grounded and present. We stop searching for what we lack and instead feel grateful for what we already have.
If you feel like it, you can even start a gratitude journal to keep track of your feelings and thoughts. Journaling is popular technique therapists and life coaches use to help people express themselves in a way they might not be able to verbally. Writing things down can make it easier to express yourself, giving you a confidante where you can express your emotions without feeling ashamed or judged.
Start your day with a little self-care routine of expressing gratitude, whether verbally or in written form, and watch your perspective shift and you become more centred and thankful.
Surround yourself with loved ones
Winter can be a time when we tend to socialise less. We often look forward to coming home, leaving the gloomy winter weather and heavy clothing behind closed doors. While it's natural to want time for ourselves, it's important to remember that the line between needing time for ourselves and isolation is thin. If we cross this line, we may feel isolated and lonely. Loneliness and winter melancholy are not a good combination, so taking steps to prevent it is essential.
Even if you don't feel like a social butterfly now, consider calling your friends or visiting your family. Spending time with people you love can help prevent feeling lonely. Try to set your phone aside and be present when you're at home. Spend time actively engaging with your family, and plan activities you can do together when it's too cold to go outside. You could invite friends over for a night of board games or spend an evening talking to your partner.
Winter nights can be long and dark, but they also provide an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with loved ones, whether it be through deepening friendships, nourishing your partnership, or getting creative with your kids. Spend time indoors doing anything that brings you joy, as long as it's surrounded by a good company that brightens up your mood. Don't let the winter blues get you down!
Learn something new
As winter approaches, the cold weather and lack of daylight tend to drive us indoors, where we spend more time than usual. However, you can use this opportunity productively by exploring new hobbies and learning something new. Rather than aimlessly scrolling through your phone, try a new skill and make the most of your time indoors.
You could learn to play an instrument, try some arts and crafts, or improve your baking skills. Taking the time to learn something new is a form of self-care that can benefit your mental health. You may even discover a new passion that will keep you entertained during the long winter nights.
There are numerous ways to spend your time productively and with purpose. Whether your idea of self-care involves indulging in a sophisticated skincare routine, reading a book wrapped in a cosy blanket, or taking a walk in nature, the choice is entirely up to you. It reflects your personality and your needs and is as unique as you are. Taking time out for yourself is not selfish but rather a necessity. You cannot cater to the needs of others while neglecting your own. You need to take care of yourself first to be able to share with others.
Make a promise to yourself to find just 10 minutes a day to pamper yourself and cater to your needs. This is more important than you may think, especially during the winter season. Spoil yourself, and care for your body and mind. Winter can be harsh, and our bodies and minds undergo challenges during this time. The act of self-care can be a game-changer. It can help you overcome tough times, get centred, and become more balanced. It is a balm for your soul and a heavenly treat for your body.
Just 10 minutes of indulging in a self-care routine can work miracles. Love yourself, respect your needs, spoil yourself, surround yourself with goodness and loved ones, and don't forget to be grateful for your abundant life. See your world shift and become a better place to live, no matter the season.