A self-care guide for how to stay happy and healthy during the winter months.
While cooler weather brings with it comfy clothes and pleasant parties, it also brings frigid temperatures that can affect you physically and mentally. In order to keep the effects of winter weather from snowballing, use the following self-care tips. They’ll be sure to leave you feeling rested and refreshed in no time.
By Christina Cannon
Get Enough Sleep
During the winter, it’s not uncommon to feel more tired than usual. As the days get shorter, your body produces a greater level of melatonin, which can make you sleepier. To avoid midwinter exhaustion, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It may be beneficial to go to bed an hour earlier than you typically would to balance your body’s sleep cycle and compensate for the added hours of darkness.
As summer months wane, so does access to fresh, seasonal produce like berries and greens. Still, this is no excuse to give up a healthy, balanced diet. If anything, eating healthy during the winter months might be more important, as it can help keep colds or the flu at bay. Foods such as vegetable stews and curries will keep you warm while giving you an added serving of vegetables.
In addition to eating right, drinking the appropriate amount of water is also important. Prolonged exposure to dry weather or cold winds can remove moisture from your body. Getting the recommended amount of water each day can improve your energy, skin, digestive system function, sleep, and concentration.
Low temperatures may make you want to curl up on the couch, but that’s often the last thing you should do. Your body needs endorphins year-round, and exercising can simultaneously improve your mood and immune system. A brisk outdoor walk, an array of classes, an at-home circuit, or really anything that will get your blood pumping is a good habit to work into your schedule. In addition, outdoor winter activities such as ice skating or skiing can be a great way to get active and get a little vitamin D.
While the festivities that come with the winter season can be a lot of fun, they can also be extremely stressful. Try counterbalancing your calendar by being intentional and carving out time to relax. This can help you avoid common unwanted physical effects of stress such as sleep loss, anxious thoughts, cardiovascular issues, changes in mood, low energy, and even a dull complexion.
Protect Your Skin
Whether you’re taking a hot shower to warm up or you’ve been in the cold all day, the winter months can wreak havoc on hair and skin. By exfoliating your skin, you can remove dead skin cells, increase circulation, and stimulate the lymphatic system. You can make body scrubs with sugar or coffee, and spas and retailers offer plenty of exfoliating products and services. Masks, lotions, and oils can also be used to add moisture back to skin.
Winter blues, or seasonal depression, can happen to many individuals as months grow longer and colder. Get out of a rut by carving out time to do activities that bring you joy. Try adding more color to your outfit, styling your hair differently, watching your favorite movie, or completing projects that make you happy to break up the monotony of winter. HS