Top 10 self-care ideas to help you embrace winter
Christmas has been tidied away but winter is going to be here for a little while yet and let’s face it, January has a bad rep. If you’re struggling with the plummeting temperatures and lack of light you’re not alone. We’ve drawn up a list of small steps we can all take to help boost happiness and keep ourselves in good mental and physical health. Scroll on to discover our top 10 ways to find joy in the shortest and darkest of chilly winter days.
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Light a candle
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In nature, winter is a period of rest and recovery, even hibernation for some, and precedes a time of extreme activity in Spring. It’s a time for us humans to slow down and recharge our batteries too. The ritual of lighting candles is a good way to quiet the mind and create a peaceful, cosy atmosphere in your home.
Wrap up and walk outside
It may seem counterintuitive, and it can be very hard to get off the sofa, but everyone benefits from a burst of morning light and fresh air. The winter solstice has passed which means that the days will now be getting a little lighter through January so lean into it - wrap up and go for an invigorating stomp around your nearest green space. Make sure you have shoes with enough grip and check the weather ahead of time.
Drink hot chocolate
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Coming in from the cold and enjoying a piping mug of hot chocolate has to be one of the best things about winter. Turn it into an activity by setting up a cocoa bar with mini marshmallows, chocolate shavings and squirty cream.
Ready Steady Bake
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Home baking can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon and you can choose to either share the results with a neighbour or keep them all to yourself! Make the most of winter spices like ginger and cinnamon and the kitchen will be filled with the glorious, warming scents of the season.
Feed the birds
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Providing food for garden birds is a real win win situation and in January it’s all about achievable goals. It’s great for the birds obviously - bird feeders are an easy food source and an efficient way for them to conserve foraging energy. And it’s great for us, because a bird feeder lets us observe nature just outside the window. What’s more they are fun and easy to make. There are lots of recipes and tutorials online, but this is a nice easy one to start with and will also keep little hands busy.
Volunteer to give back
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The benefits of volunteering can be lifechanging, and not just for the people you are helping but for you as well. If you can do so safely in your area, volunteer at a local food bank, nature reserve or animal sanctuary. Giving time to a charity that means something to you is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference and even more so at this time of year.
Start a windowsill garden
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A sure cure for late winter blues is growing and nurturing plants; it helps you to be gentle with yourself and everyone around you. A windowsill garden offers you the ability to grow all sorts of plants, even edible ones, inside your home, regardless of the season. Choose a windowsill that gets plenty of light and start with something that’s hard to kill like ivy or a snake plant. Herbs that do well in a winter windowsill garden include Rosemary, Chives and Parsley or you can also buy ‘living salad’ mixes at the supermarket which can be potted be up and grown on.
Bathe like a Queen
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You don’t have to be royalty to enjoy a royal bath. Prioritize your self-care game and steep your body, mind, and spirit in a soothing bubble bath. Light some candles, put on some relaxing music, make a tea and turn it into a whole experience.
Treat your feet
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It goes without saying that at SWHQ sandal worthy feet are high up on the list of priorities at any time of year but it’s easy to forget about them in winter. Heavy boots, wet socks and tights can all lead to problems. The standard pedi has now moved on to focus on overall foot health and boutique podiatrists are popping up all over the place. The good news is we can do a lot of the background work ourselves. Giving our toe nails a break from nail polish is a good idea, removing dead skin with a foot file and moisturising with an intensive foot cream is a must.
Go for a night walk
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When the days are short it can sometimes feel like bedtime at 4pm but how about embracing the darkness and taking an evening stroll? There are lots of benefits to a night walk, even in winter, and walking after dinner can help to improve digestion and give you a better night’s sleep. It can be fun to look at the stars or see how pretty homes look when the glow at night. If you live in an urban area and can get up high, the view of a city’s lights is also well worth the effort. Take a friend and a flask.
In a brilliant article on ‘How to embrace winter as a concept’, Emily Kingsley writes,
“It takes character and determination to intentionally slow down, pause and sometimes suffer. But the slow dark times are what make the bright, sunny times all the more fun.”
Saltie Season is just around the corner!