Let it snow!  Self-care is super important all year round.  After all, the relationship you have with YOU is the most important one you’ll ever have.  But Winter, in particular, can be a tough season for many.

Sure, glistening snow, vibrant evergreens, pretty lights, and holiday magic are delightful.  But freezing temperatures, messy weather, lack of sunshine, a surplus of homebound days, and the sluggish feeling of not wanting to do anything – most decidedly not delightful, especially after all the holiday festivities have passed.

This undercurrent can make our hard days seem harder.  But a girl’s gotta catch a break somewhere.  So let’s talk today about some self-care tips that are perfect for winter.

 

  1. Meditate

Ladies, I cannot say enough about the health benefits of meditation, so I’ll keep it short: Just do it, it’s good for you.  There are so many good techniques out there from sitting in silence/breathing, to using mantras, music, poetry, or a guided meditation CD/MP3Find what works for you and schedule it into your day: at least once a day, every day.

 

  1. Breathing Exercises

Related to and often incorporated into meditation (although it can be done on its own), are various breathing techniques you can use to calm anxiety and shift focus.  Controlling our breathing can slow down our heart rate, change our energy level, and clear our heads.

A simple technique is to take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, breath out for 5 seconds, and hold out for 5 seconds before the next breath.  It is recommended to take at least 5 deep breaths this way, as it usually takes about 5 breathes to start feeling calmer.

Another simple technique is the balloon technique which requires you to lay flat on a bed or the floor putting your hands on each side of your bellybutton so the tips of your finger touch.  As you take long even deep breaths in and exhales you feel your diaphragm expands and contract ballooning out your fingers and bringing them back together.

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  1. Journaling

Since winter is the season of reflection, making a habit to journal regularly (daily, if possible) is a great way to reflect on the past year and start making your plans for the new year.  Don’t know what to write about? There are plenty of resources online that give you journaling topic ideas and journaling prompt books you can find on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

  1. Take a Ritual Bath or Shower

Pampering yourself is a wonderful self-care tool.Give yourself some love.  Light some candles, burn some essential oils or incense.  Throw in some bubble bath, bath oils, or bath salts.  My bestie even has these bath capsules that dye the water fun colors.  Play some relaxing music, take a book in.  Spend some time with yourself and feel your worries melt away.  You can do an excellent visualization of your worries going down the drain with the dirty bath water (or visualize the shower washing away all your anxiety).  When you are done, wrap yourself in a warm fuzzy towel or bathrobe and just chill for a bit, feeling the new clean and refreshed you.

 

 

 

  1. Aromatherapy

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, aromatherapy is defined as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit.”

Often this is achieved by mixing essential oils (usually with some water too) in diffusers which then burn the oil and release the scent into the room.  You can pick out a single oil scent that you like or you can make mixtures of scents that go well together.  Scented candles, incense, and making wearable oils are other methods of aromatherapy.

Some of my personal favorite calming scents include sage, lavender, dragon’s blood, and rose.  My sister and I share an inexplicable love for anything macintosh or sweet apple scented.  Winter scents I love include winter herbs and berries, like bay and blackberry, cedar, pine, clove, cinnamon, and “traditional” winter scents like frankincense and myrrh. (I blame Catholic school for those last two.)

 

  1. Indoor Exercise

Get that body moving!  Crank up the music and dance like no one’s watching (or maybe just your cats and goldfish).  Do some yoga or pilates.  Go to the gym or take a class (Zumba?  Spin?). Does your community center have an indoor pool?  Go do some laps.  (Aquatic exercise is a fave for me.)

On nicer days, maybe even venture outside for a walk.

 

  1. Books, Books, and More Books

Winter is one of the best time for books since most of the time the weather keeps us from wanting to venture out.  Plus getting lost in a good book can be an escape from the dreary weather making it feel like the next time you pick your nose up from that book, it’s almost spring.

Pull out some of your favorite books for comfort, or go through your bookshelves and make a pile of the ones you haven’t read yet for your next set of adventures.

Need more books?  Take yourself on a date to Barnes & Noble or your local library, or peruse Amazon if the weather’s too nasty. (I know that’s a dangerous suggestion if you’re as much of a book lover as I am.)

 

  1. Fun with Hair, Makeup, and Nails

The creative process of trying different styles is a delightful method of self-care.Let your inner makeup artist and hair stylist out!  Spend some time playing around with hairstyles (or dye it!), makeup styles, and painting your nails.  The creative process of trying different styles is delightful.  Plus, the more styles you practice, the less hassle to morning routines or getting ready to go out.

 

 

 

  1. Start a New Hobby

With more homebound days than the rest of the year, winter is the perfect time to learn a new hobby.  Always wanted to write a book or start a blog?  Learn to play a musical instrument? Learn how to crochet, draw, paint, sculpt, woodwork, glasswork, or take on new craft projects?  Make jewelry? Learn to bake from scratch and not out of a box?  Whatever it is, now’s your chance to do it!

 

  1.  Do Nothing.

This means different things to different people. But for me, this means laying on the couch, looking out the window to the trees in the backyard or staring into the roaring fireplace, and breathing.  Perhaps I’m laying in silence listening to the rain and wind, birds chirping, or the crackling fire, or maybe I’m listening to music that inspires or comforts me.  Never feel guilty about spending some time doing nothing.  It’s relaxation, not wasted time.

 

  1. Have a Virtual High Tea, Coffee Date, or Happy Hour

Winter can be a time of hermitting, but cutting off too much of our social contact can make us feel isolated, giving rise to feelings of depression and anxiety.  It’s important to keep our connections with friends alive during this time of year.  But often times the weather or just not wanting to venture out can make socializing more difficult.

That’s okay though because yay, technology!  Set up a virtual coffee date or happy hour with a girlfriend (or group of friends).  Schedule a time to meet on Facetime or Skype.  Put on the tea kettle, coffee pot, pour yourself a glass of wine or beer, or mix up a cocktail.  (Maybe consider some small munchies as well).  Then kick back online and chat it up with a friend and feel free to get as goofy as you want since you’re in your own home.

 

  1. Color

Let your inner child out and spend some time getting lost in a coloring book!  Coloring has long between known to produce calming effects.  And adult coloring books are super popular right now.  Some of my favorites are Celtic knotwork, mandala patterns, and adult sayings and curse words written in pretty cursive (for those of us who like some class in our vulgarity).

 

  1. Music

Music is excellent self-care!Music moves the soul.  I love making tons of playlists for different occasions and then letting them be the soundtrack for my day.  It’s really incredible how just a bit of music can change the atmosphere of a room (or a small apartment).

 

 

 

  1. Declutter

Spend some time picking up your home, decluttering, and reorganizing.  A decluttered home and office (or if you’re like me, just the right amount of clutter) can bring more clarity to your thinking.  If you’re feeling ambitious, rearranging a room can breathe new life into it and engages your creativity.  When I rearrange, I often move objects to where they “feel right” (and often I’ll even ask the object itself where it should live), but learning about Feng Shui and energy movement can be helpful, too.

 

  1. Make a Self-Care Kit

A self-care kit is like a first aid for emotions.  It’s a collection of items that make you feel safe, comforted, and cared for; things that spark your inner SoulFire and make you feel good.  Gather these items, and put them in a basket or box in an easily accessible area for whenever you need them.

 

BONUS   Make a Vision Board

Simply put a vision board is a collage of words and images that encapsulates your inspiration for your future.  Collage together the things that are important to you, that inspire you, and what you want to manifest in your life.  Making a vision board serves for clarifying your goals and setting intentions, a creative process for the artistic symbolism of your dreams, and as daily inspiration to manifest those dreams as you see it every day on your wall.

 

Have other suggestions for Winter self-care tips?  Comment below or on the SoulFire Tribe – Light It Up Facebook Group!  Share your knowledge and engage with other women!  Share this article with a friend and continue the conversation!

Xoxo,

 

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Stella Autumn

Founder, Women's Empowerment Coach, + Writer/Blogger at SoulFire Tribe
* Queen * Rebel * Unicorn * Coach * Writer * Lawyer * Witch * Geek * Goth/Alt Chick * Poetess * Explorer * Artist * Hippie * Book Dragon * Ladyboss * Quirky, Curious, + Creative * // I empower women invested in personal and professional growth to discover the courage and creativity within themselves to lead happy, balanced, and successful lives defined by their own terms!

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