Self Care For Winter
By: Chloe Foster, pre-licensed clinician
As we move into some colder months, many of us experience mental and emotional changes synchronous with the change of season. Millions of Americans deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is characterized by the onset of depression with the change of seasons and is frequently experienced with the onset of winter (National Institute of Mental Health). Changes in seasons may also mean a change in the kinds of self-care that people may be able to engage in. As spending time outdoors becomes more difficult and hours in the day become shorter, people might find themselves in search of new ways to maintain their mental health and engage in self-care. Thinking of ideas for what to do for self-care in your home can be difficult and the process of deciding what to do might discourage us from doing anything. To help ease some of this decision-making stress, here is a list of some self-care ideas that are great for the colder months of the year. Whether you have a formal diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder or you would just like to add some more self-care tools to your toolbox, this list may be helpful for you.
Ideas to get your creative energy flowing
– Make a hat, scarf, or a blanket. If you are a crafty person and know how to knit or crochet, you may enjoy making an accessory to keep you warm during this time. This may also be a great idea if you are looking to learn a new skill during these months.
– Decorating your space: some people feel excited by the opportunity to decorate their space with whatever they associate with the winter. Taking the time to do this in your space might brighten up your space and lift your spirits in the process.
– Try out a new recipe: If you are interested in using some seasonal produce or attempting to make some of your favorite winter dishes or treats, the winter is a great time to get in the kitchen and get creative.
– Try some mindful coloring: Coloring books/pages are great for engaging in some structured expressive arts, and in the process of creating something fun and colorful, the opportunity for reflection becomes present.
Ideas to get moving
– Find some engaging exercise videos: whether you’re interested in a high-intensity workout or a slow and gentle yoga, there are more than enough videos online that can guide you through some activities that will get you moving which is associated with improved mental health outcomes.
– Do some winter cleaning: organizing your space, determining what clothes/items you may be ready to part with or getting into a deep cleaning are all ways to engage in some productive activities that may leave you feeling better than when you started.
– Have a dance party of one: this idea is just what it sounds like. Put on whatever music you like and enjoy some solo dance time. Moving your body and enjoying some music is an easy way to infuse some fun into your day.
Ideas to relax and unwind
– Enjoy some intentional television: whether you have some favorite holiday films or want to watch something you’ve never seen before, spending some time enjoying movies is an easy way to relax in the colder months. Add your favorite snack and a blanket
– Engage in some intentional hygiene: Take the time to have a more mindful bath or shower, do some intentional skincare or haircare. Whatever you want to do to unwind and make yourself feel cared for is great for this time of year.
Ideas to connect with yourself
– Meditate: take some time to engage with an online guided meditation or put on some relaxing music and sit with yourself and meditate however works for you.
– Journal: put pen to paper and allow yourself to express your thoughts, feelings, ideas etc. You can find some prompts online or just allow yourself the space to journal freely
Ideas that involve others
– Ask someone to go do some seasonal activities: If you have someone in your life that you like spending time with, it might be fun to plan an activity that you associate with the winter months.
– Call someone while you do any of the ideas listed above: if you find yourself wanting some company during these activities, feel free to call someone up and do them together over the phone or invite them to join you in person to do some self-care!
Winter months can be difficult but hopefully these ideas spark some inspiration for self-care to help make this season more manageable.
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Seasonal affective disorder [Brochure].