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Winter Self-Care Ideas

Written by Miranda Owen 

Miranda Owen is one of NAMI Wake’s work study students, helping us as a social media technician and blog contributor. 

As we enter the winter months, it can be hard to prioritize self-care. But with shorter, darker days and lower temperatures, it’s more important than ever. If you’re dreading the winter ahead, check out these self-care ideas to schedule for yourself or for you and your whole family!

Winter Activities

Along with skiing and snowboarding, many ice rinks are operating at limited capacity with masks and distancing requirements. These can be great activities to do by yourself or with family members. Going for nature walks or hikes are also good for getting some sunlight and exercise during cold weather. I recommend using AllTrails for planning these excursions as the website generally gives updates about accessibility which is especially helpful in snowy areas. 

If you are more comfortable spending time inside, there are plenty of indoor winter activities that are great for self-care. Participating in your family’s favorite holiday traditions is always fun. If you can’t gather with family this year because of the pandemic, try to plan times to video call your relatives or write them letters. This year my family could not meet for Thanksgiving, so we all set up a Zoom call after eating dinner to celebrate together. I definitely recommend some kind of virtual interaction with your family or friends, especially if you will be quarantining alone this winter. Having these interactions with your family and friends can benefit your mental health and improve feelings of isolation brought on by quarantine. Decorating for the holidays, picking out and wrapping gifts, and preparing to celebrate are all ways to engage in self-care this winter. 

Get Cozy 

The winter months are a perfect time to indulge in self-care activities. Cozy clothing and warm socks can lift your mood and keep you comfortable all winter long. Taking warm baths, using moisturizer or face masks, and slipping into cozy socks is the perfect way to unwind after a long week. Trying out journaling, reading a book, or relaxing with a holiday movie can all help boost your mood. If you’re busy this season, making small changes to improve your day are still beneficial acts of self-care. Taking a few minutes to stretch out in the morning, lighting a candle with your dinner, or treating yourself to take-out are all ways to show yourself love that won’t take much time. 

Baking 

Many people crave comforting foods during cold weather, and it can be great self-care to bake your own treats to soothe your cravings. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different bread recipes and am preparing to make holiday cookies. Baking can help you unwind, and baking with roommates or family members can be a fun bonding experience. Don’t forget to make yourself a warm drink like hot chocolate or tea to go with your baked treats! 

Exercise

It can be challenging to stick to your workout schedule during winter, especially if you primarily exercise outdoors. Despite the colder weather and shorter days, you can still make time to get active during winter. Yoga, stationary cardio workouts, and strength training can all be done indoors. Check out YouTube fitness channels for your indoor workout inspiration. I love following Chloe Ting’s cardio and strength videos, and yoga videos from Yoga with Kassandra. Winter sports are a great way to get out of the house, have fun, and get some exercise. Additionally, if you like running, hiking, or other cardio activities, your body may stay warm enough to be comfortable continuing to exercise outdoors; if you prefer walking, just bundle up before you go out so you stay warm. Be sure to bring your mask and social distance if you are planning to exercise outside. 

The winter season can bring challenges including holiday anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Monitor your stress levels, mood, and mental health this season, and reach out to others if you see them struggling. If you or a loved one need to talk to someone during this difficult time, the NAMI HelpLine can be reached at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). NAMI’s 24/7 Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting “NAMI” to 741-741.

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