The wintertime can bring seasonal depression with the cold weather, gloomy days, and early sunsets. It can be easy to get caught up in the feeling that warm weather will never come again, but a great way to get through the winter is by practicing self-care. While there are self-care practices that can be practiced year-round, there are ideas specific to winter to get you through the cold months.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is essential year-round because it enhances your sense of well-being and promotes health. It can improve your mental health and the way you see yourself as you engage in activities that take care of your body both mentally and physically.
However, in the winter, self-care is crucial because this time of year brings about unique stressors. The days end sooner due to daylight savings time, and people are less likely to go out and connect with friends and family. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, which adds a unique layer to winter stressors as most are stuck inside due to quarantine. Self-care is critical to fighting these feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Self-Care Activities for Winter
By creating an environment where you can practice self-care and then engaging in it, you can improve your mood, mental health, and overall well-being. Here are some ideas for self-care during the winter months:
Take a Warm Bath
It is no secret that winter’s cold temperatures can play a role in seasonal depression. Taking a warm bath or shower can warm you up and create an overall sense of calm. Consider playing your favorite music, using a bath bomb, essential oils, candles, plants, and salts to enhance your bath experience and enter into a stage of relaxation. You will feel warmer, calmer, and ready to take on the day.
Move Your Body
In the winter, you may find yourself staying inside more on the couch and under a blanket; this can be cozy, but extended periods of inactivity can play a role in seasonal depression. By moving your body, you can release endorphins, which naturally boost your mood. You don’t even need to engage in intense exercise. Merely participating in yoga, going for a walk, or doing a light workout can be enough to get your body moving and have you feeling better.
Spend Time Outside
Even though the temperature outside can be freezing, going out for even a few minutes a day has numerous benefits. Your vitamin D levels will increase, you’ll be in a different environment other than your home, and breathing in the fresh air can give you a sense of calm. You don’t have to stay outside for long, even ten minutes can bring you some benefits. Take a couple of minutes each day to go outside and breathe in the fresh air; your body will thank you for it.
Look After Your Vitamin D Levels
Going outside can help increase your vitamin D levels. People get less vitamin D in the winter due to the sun rays not being as intense or even showing. Still, you can soak up some rays by going outside or taking supplements to get you a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body. Insufficient vitamin D levels can lead to symptoms of depression, which can worsen your mental state during the winter months. Ensuring you have the proper amount in your system is a great way to combat the winter blues.
Have a Special Mug for Your Favorite Warm Drinks
Just as taking a hot bath can help warm you up in the winter, drinking your favorite hot drinks can do the same. Picking out a special mug or cup that you like can make the experience more remarkable, as well as throwing in fun such as marshmallows and whip cream in your hot chocolate. If you don’t like hot chocolate, consider hot apple cider or hot tea. Whatever your preference, having a cup with designs you enjoy and that is your own can help lift your spirits in even the smallest of ways.
Stay Bundled Up
Some people find themselves not dressing warm enough for the winter months, even inside their homes. You may want to be comfortable wearing a t-shirt, but feeling cold can significantly bring down your mood. Consider investing in a scarf or warm hat to keep you warm while still being comfortable. Remember that even the smallest things can impact your overall well-being, and taking steps to address them can make all the difference.
Winter can be a time of loneliness, seasonal depression, and prolonged feelings of helplessness. While it can be easy to feel swallowed by the darkness of winter, there are ways to combat these feelings and take care of yourself. Practicing self-care is essential year-round, but doing specific activities in the winter can boost your mood and overall sense of well-being. Specifically, you should practice self-care activities that keep you warm, improve your mood, and promote your mental and physical health. Even the smallest actions can make a big difference. At Northstar Transitions, we understand how dark winter can be for those struggling with mental illness. Our team is well-versed in helping those stuck in a dark place step into the light. The NorthStar difference is clinical excellence, evidence-based therapeutic modalities, personalized treatment plans, and our location in the serene and majestic setting of Boulder, Colorado. Should you ever find yourself struggling, reach out to our staff and let us help you get back on track. Call today at (303) 558-6400.