With less sunlight and colder temperatures – plus, add a pandemic in the mix – winter can be a tough time to get through in regards to your mental and physical health, which is why winter self-care tips are important to heed this season. According to Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (known appropriately by the acronym SAD) is a type of depression that comes with the change of season beginning commonly in the fall and continuing through the winter. SAD often leaves sufferers with less energy and more volatile moods. Some other side effects of SAD include oversleeping, appetite changes, low energy, losing interest in activities and more.
To help you feel better this winter and potentially treat some of the effects that come with seasonal depression (or just the general blues), there are some winter self-care tips you can employ to take the best care of yourself this season. Fight the cold and the blues with self-care that will lift your mood and help fight some of the physical symptoms that can manifest during this time. If you’re feeling down, make sure you try some of these winter self-care tips to get back to your normal self.
Warm drinks and soups
Having a nice hot beverage or a tasty soup will make your whole body feel warmer and cozier on cold days. Depending on what you choose, they can also come with added benefits. Firstly, hot liquids will help you hydrate, and they also help loosen mucus if you’re dealing with winter congestion. If you choose coffee or tea, the caffeine will help to give you energy and make your mind more alert. And if you choose a soup, there are a ton of great, healthy options that can come with extra protein, veggies or vitamins like chili, vegetable soup or carrot soup for an extra dose of vitamin A.
There are so many benefits to a relaxing soak in the tub, but beyond being physically warming, baths can be truly restorative in times you’re not feeling your best. The isolation, quiet and comfort of a bath can help to reduce feelings of depression and bring you subconsciously back to the safety and comfort of the womb. Baths can also help relieve sore muscles, and taking one before bed may help you sleep better. Make your bath a luxurious experience by just adding what sounds good to you – be it oils to soften your skin, Epsom salt for aches and pains, or just lighting a candle with a soothing scent. So make a spa-night at home for pandemic-safe relief and relaxation.
Try healing herbs and vitamins
Fortunately, throughout human history, many cultures have been keeping tabs on which herbal remedies and vitamins helped alleviate various symptoms. So if you’re looking for something that might help by acting as a supplement without requiring a prescription, then adaptogens – herbal supplements known for their ability to treat symptoms – could be worth a try. Goji berry is known for boosting energy, and turmeric has been cited for fighting depression. A vitamin D supplement is also something to consider in the winter when you’re absorbing less sunlight.
Stay warm (from the neck up)
While we now know that the adage about 40-45% of body heat being lost through the head is not quite accurate (it’s more like 10%), it is true that your head and neck are the areas of your body most likely to remain uncovered. Since the rest of your body is typically covered by clothing, it stays warmer. To keep yourself from feeling as cold on those chilly winter days, cover the back of your neck and your head, which can often go neglected. You’ll be surprised what a big difference this small act of winter self-care will make.
Spend a little time outside
With frigid outside temperatures keeping us inside, it’s easy to forget to get outside. Staying inside all of the time means we miss out on all of the health benefits that can come with getting out of the house. Research has shown that spending time outside reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress and even Type II diabetes. In addition, the vitamin D you can get from sun exposure can help to reduce depression. For all these reasons, it’s important to bundle up and try to get some time outside each day as long as weather permits.
Move your body
One of the best ways to boost your energy, no matter what time of year, is to get a bit of exercise at least a few times a week. You don’t have to run marathons, but if you try to squeeze in a walk or an at-home workout when you can, it’s shown to help boost your mood, increase your energy and promote a better night’s sleep. It’s a small but easy way to contribute to your self-care this winter.
If you’re not feeling your best this season, then these winter self-care tips can help you feel better. Think outside of the box and indulge in a bit of comfort, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make in your condition.
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