10 Winter Whole Body Self-Care Tips
We have winter approaching and for many of us that will mean colder temperatures, more darkness, increased wind and rain and more time inside our homes, so how can we maintain our wellbeing and support ourselves to feel vital, energised and enthusiastic?
Whole Body Self-Care makes our whole body wellbeing a priority, whether physical, mental or emotional they are all connected. How we feel about ourselves impacts on our posture, everyday movements, habits and overriding our wellbeing in one area can have a ripple effect in all areas.
The winter offers us a different reflection to enjoy in all its aspects: be it crisp days, fresh air, beautiful shadows at dusk, social events, but it also may be a time for lack of natural light, drying out because central heating systems, fatigue, increased social commitments, loneliness, higher emotional demands, eating stodgy food that is not nourishing and less physical activity.
1. Make space for you
With the many commitments we take on in life, the ‘you’ can get lost in the tick list of what is next to do. Making space for you in your day is essential. Be it to sit down to drink a cup of warm tea in the morning, to stretch when getting out of bed, to prepare your clothes for work the night before, to take time to breathe and be still in ‘stop’ moments in the day. Practically you can place a reminder on your phone each hour to reflect on your posture and breath - these regular check-ins can be very supportive and a few moments for yourself in the day, be it a stretch or a rest can revitalise and reenergise.
2. Don’t ignore stress
Winter like every season brings its opportunities to connect and enjoy events and social occasions, it can also however exacerbate the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Signs of stress show themselves in a variety of ways be it, a low mood, nervous system over stimulation and tension, fatigue, skin conditions, aches and pains, low energy, anxiety and digestive issues etc…find ways that support you, be it a hot bath, a rest, a walk, meeting up with a friend or going to bed early. Every seemingly small choice to self-care can support our levels of stress to reduce. If you need support from friends, family, complementary health practitioners, *health professionals reach out and make it happen.
Make space to rest, if you are tired and fatigued get yourself to bed earlier, have a lie down on the sofa for a few minutes - a healthy and supportive rest and sleep pattern allows the body the necessary time to replenish, heal and regenerate.
4. Eat Well
There is a temptation to eat food that offers you a quick energy such as carbohydrates and sugar however through winter it is important to nourish and replenish the body by including food that really supports you. Reflect on how certain foods makes your body feel after eating. With a growing honesty and observation, we can enable ourselves to make food choices with more care and clarity that will in the longer term offers a sustaining and enriching impact on our bodies’ health.
5. Get Outside
Hibernating is not for humans. It may be grey, dark cold and wet, but getting your warm coat or waterproofs on and getting outside can have a supportive impact on how we feel. Even though the sun may not be as strong it still feels very different being outside in daylight. We can begin to feel isolated due to staying in because of the weather, rug up, make sure the heating is on at home ready for your return and step out in to the world.
6. Exercise Regularly
Don’t give up your exercise routine in the winter months. It may need adaption or you may be ready to begin a new routine and start exercising. Being physically active can be very beneficial for our whole body health. Be it a gentle walk, a swim, a stretch…Allowing the body to move and so not sitting for long periods supports our lymphatic and circulation system, our mental wellbeing and our postural health.
Many of us may drink more alcohol in the winter season or reduce our water intake because of wanting to stay warm. It is however essential to stay hydrated, although you may not sweat as much as in the summer the body needs to maintain a balance and wearing more clothes, breathing out water vapour and being in homes with central heating systems can have an effect if we do not maintain our hydration. If you do not like cold water, leave some at room temperature, or try a herbal tea or decaffeinated alternative.
8. Take care of your skin
The extremes of temperature that we encounter in the winter with the wind, rain, snow and central heating systems can have an effect on our skin, as can wearing heavy clothes, with a reduced amount of sunlight. Exfoliating the whole body can have a positive effect, sloughing off the old skin cells and increasing circulation to the skin, as can massaging in rich moisturisers and oils.
9. Embrace the season
Don’t fight winter! We can spend a lot of the dark, cold and windy days, grimacing, moaning and grumbling about the better days of summer. Rather embrace the season, as each season offers us something to reflect upon, learn and enjoy. Bring out the twinkly lights and candles, grab a blanket and get cosy on the sofa, if you have a fire, light it, and make warm nourishing meals to share. Slow down and connect.
10. Reflect and Appreciate
Winter can offer us a point of reflection as the year comes to an end, as a cycle moves to completion and new beginnings. In the northern hemisphere it is darker and colder in the winter, the animals and birds response is to slow down and consolidate, there are signs and messages all around to observe and learn from. Reflect, write, ponder, deepen in your knowing of yourself and your purpose, appreciate your quality, appraise and appreciate relationships that support you, observe the relationship we have with yourselves and appreciate the moments that have been chosen throughout the year to self-care and take responsibity for your wellbeing.
Offer yourself the gift of whole body self-care this season.
* This is a sharing to enhance wellbeing, it is not meant as a replacement for medical advice. If you do have a concern, regarding your health, please contact your GP or a health professional.