I hope you’re doing well. I got inspired to continue my conversation about self-care after my most recent podcast episode where I answered whether glow-up culture and self-care culture is toxic and self-centered. It was an interesting question because I truly believe mindset is what causes things to be perceived as negative or positive, so if you’re interested please check it out.
Back to the topic of self-care. Self-care is always important but in winter months it’s the most important season to make sure you are taking great care of yourself. The first reason is because of how busy the season is. From October to now, there are so many holidays not to mention the seasonal activities and birthday celebrations during this time of year (If you know a lot of Libras, Scorpios, Sagittarius, or Capricorns- Bless your soul this time of year). As an introvert I always found this time of year busy and exhausting, I would be trying to balance quality time with my friends, my family (before things got toxic), my boyfriend at the time and all while preparing for the year ahead. I would be drained by how demanding everything was. The second reason is if you have a toxic family or during the holidays you are exposed to toxic family members that you can step away from/have no contact with yet, you need to be able to stay grounded until you can get away from them. The third reason is if you are a college student, the winter season is always rough with finals so you need self-care with the amount of stress you have in the small semester.
Self-care ideas for the winter months
1. Find an indoor workout to try
To be fair I am a home workout girl, but I also know so many people who struggle to go to the gym because of the weather. Instead of just not working out, try an indoor workout. I’ll include some of my personal favorite YouTubers to watch for home workouts below. Besides that I also enjoy using my mini stepper, my mini trampoline for rebound exercises, my weighted hula hoop, and using the app SWORKIT. If you need help building a home workout routine, click here for a guide.
Fitness YouTubers I enjoy
(as someone who is just trying to consistently have daily movement)
Juice & Toya
In shape with Mya
2. Develop a meditation practice
I had a meditation class in my 6th semester of college. I needed it especially then because I was having a hard time adjusting to being back to school in person. I fell off my meditation practice since then but I want to get back to it. In the class, our “textbook” was Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. It was easy to understand as a beginner, but there are probably a lot more books to read to give insight into the practice. In the class, we practice the different forms of meditation. My personal favorites were candle meditation and walking.
3. Start a journal
Journaling can be good for many reasons. Most times people use it to vent, keep track of life events, manifest, plan, etc. I think a way to make this more is to create one that’s not centered around writing (it can have short-length writing like lists or poetry). You can use stickers, paper scraps, ink, markers, etc. For some people this may seem childish, but I feel like doing this type of activity could be very healing for your inner child and you can of course use prompts to help design pages.
Current favorite songs (if you have multiple have a Playlist page for the month first and then dedicate each page to a song)
___ Lessons you learned at your current age (i.e. 22 lessons I learned at 22; 27 lessons I learned at 27 - you can either make it a one-page list or design each page centered around the lesson with different themes)
Glue an envelope into the journal and on the inside put either a letter to your future self or a letter to your past self in the style of a vintage love letter (so you would have to create the love letter separately by following the traditional and once it’s done you can put it inside the envelope you glued to the journal page, you can seal it with a sticker)
Patchwork page with pictures you took over the seasons (you can do one page dedicated to the previous seasons or you can focus on the current season of winter)
Dedicate it to a place you either have traveled to and use your pictures or dedicate pages to where you want to visit and leave the other page next to it blank so when you visit you have a spot to show you manifested going
Do color pages and write a short poem about the color (let’s say you made an entire page green and the color green reminds you of your childhood because your family was the outdoors type that went hiking every weekend- maybe the poem can center around those events or the feeling it evokes when you see it)
4. Get candles, plug-ins, and room sprays to enhance your space
Since you are spending a lot of time indoors, how your space smells can influence your mood. I love more gourmand scents or spicy scents in the winter: Hot chocolate, cinnamon caramel swirl, sugared snickerdoodle, merry cookie, vanilla birch, etc. However, these can be too sweet for some people and can induce a headache. So if you are more sensitive to scents opt for subtle scents that smell like clean laundry or even a more citrus scent like orange or lemon because those scents psychologically evoke feelings of cleanliness. Also if you have pets, be sure to be cautious of what you use and check how friendly it is for your friend. I recommend trying to find soy-based candles or beeswax candles because those are less polluting than paraffin-based candles if you want to be cautious.
5. Upgrade the lighting in your room (ambiance lighting or getting a light therapy)
Again your indoor space is so important this time of year but lighting is especially important if you experience seasonal depression. I have a salt lamp but there are so many options. Sunset lamps, sunrise clocks, lighting strips, fairy lights, etc. You also don’t have to get these things new, you can get refurbished versions, buy second-hand hand or if someone you know is changing up their room aesthetic and doesn’t want those anymore, ask them for it.
6. Get a mini room heater
If you live in an apartment and don’t control when the heat comes on and still feel cold no matter how many layers you put on… this will be your best option for staying warm. Also if your room feels warmer, getting up in the winter wouldn’t feel as dreadful.
7. Create a reading list and book log
I started my reading journey in February 2023 while being in my final semester of college. Creating a reading list for each month has kept me motivated and given me a hint of nostalgia. This may not work for mood readers, but if you want to read a certain amount per month and have a mixture of genres you want to get into, this will be your best friend. You can romanticize the process by making your list online or physically designing it as a journal (you can do it 3 months at a time and when you do this make it a good mix- a book for entertainment, a book to help you develop your skill, a book that helps you feel inspired, a book about a special interest, a biography, a book related to the season etc.) and post read worksheets to fill out when you finish your book (I know good reads exist but I think this is perfect for people more private about their opinions and I know for some people this sounds overwhelming or like too much work but personalize the activity to yourself).
8. Upgrade your current routine to use hydrating/ moisturizing products
This is more of a reminder to switch out your products. Even if you have oily skin, moisturizing, and hydrating products are important in the winter so you don’t overproduce oil and break out.
9. Try cooking a new recipe that’s comfort food
Winter is the best time to experiment with recipes. You are typically inside more anyways and for a lot of people, January is the time of working on themselves. Cooking, learning how to store food properly so it lasts longer, learning to meal prep or ingredient prep, learning recipes so you order out less, etc. can be useful for your budget and your health goals. Sometimes I dislike eating food out, I lost a lot of trust when I got food poisoning in April, and from there I stopped being experimental with where I eat. I tend to eat from two local businesses that I never got sick from because I also feel like from larger chains the quality of food has decreased.
10. Create your own seasonal drink
My current obsession is using a vanilla protein shake with oatmeal cookie-flavored creamer, French vanilla syrup, and the lite version of the chai from Tazo (I also add extra cinnamon on top). It’s so good, it helps me hit my protein goals and it’s customized to my liking instead of spending $8 on a drink from a chain. Creating your own drink is so fun and you can even add that as a recipe page to your journal.
11. Increase your vitamin intake (if needed)
I am constantly low on vitamin D whenever I get my blood work done so I need to include extra supplements. You can also focus on incorporating more ingredients that are rich in the vitamins you need into your eating habits.
12. Get into the habit of stretching daily
When it’s cold and you are extra comfortable and wrapped in your blankets, it’s always a good reminder to take time to stretch so you don’t go
stiff from staying still too long.
13. Track your water
This is something I constantly need to remind myself to do in the winter months. For me, it’s easier to drink water in the summer and winter I tend to forget to drink enough. Then at night, I would realize I’m so dehydrated.
14. Prepare for the new year
Okay, I know I’ve been talking about this since October to prepare for January 1st, but I realized a lot of people hate the idea of New Year's starting in the middle of winter. So if you view the spring equinox as the real new year make plans for your goals the same way I suggest to prep in the fall. You can use the wintertime for extra rest if that feels right for you. If you are starting your goals on January 1st like me, use winter time to observe what works well for you and what doesn’t and what you will adjust to the next season of your life.
These are just a few suggestions but I hope you enjoyed this post and found it interesting. Also if you like my content it would mean the world to me if you would also subscribe to my YouTube channel, my Pinterest, and my TikTok account. On YouTube, I have the most inspirational content from Lifestyle Design posts to Digital "open when..." letters to boost your moods. I also keep a copy of my podcast episodes (which is also available on Spotify). I decided that I am honoring what feels right to me and continuously working on building the life of my dreams and helping others do the same. Don’t forget to share this if you feel inspired and I will have more content for you you soon.
Until next time butterflies 🦋