“Self-care is how you take your power back”—Lalah Delia
Winters are hard for so many of us, and this year it will be especially true. We will all be spending more time at home and spending less time in close contact with our friends and family. If you are someone who puts yourself last or keeps going until you burn out, I want you to reconsider that. This is not the time to be a martyr. Self-care can act as a layer of protection against the anxiety of the outside world. Putting steps in place now will help protect your physical and (even more importantly) your mental health as we get into the colder season.
1. Find easy ways for you to eat nourishing foods.
Feeding yourself healthy foods on a regular schedule will protect your immune system and keep your energy and mood steady. Try to make eating fruits and vegetables as easy as possible by prepping them ahead of time. If you like drinking smoothies, consider gathering all of the ingredients and batching a few servings at once. Keep them in the fridge or freezer so that they are easy to grab and toss in the blender. Personally, I don’t really like drinking cold beverages in the winter. A cup of soup or broth is a great snack. Make a big batch and throw it in the freezer. Here are a couple of my favourite easy and nourishing meals:
Peanut Butter Noodles (make sure you add veggies!)Overnight Oats
2. Clean up your sleep.
I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve been allowing technology into their evenings and it’s been having a bad effect on their sleep. Sleep is vitally important for maintaining our immune system, regulating our emotions, and protecting our cognitive function. It is also the one change that you can make that will have the biggest impact.
Try to limit scrolling on your phone before bed. Consider implementing a “wind down” routine. This might involve a bath, reading, stretching or even watching TV (no phone!). Most importantly, create a consistent wake up time and stick to it, even if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Once our bodies and brains know that we need to wake up at a consistent time—no matter what—our brains will try to make the time we have to sleep as efficient as possible.
Looking for more sleep tips? Check out this blog post.
3. Plan to be social.
We can’t meet in person like we used to, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with those we care about. Pull out your calendar and schedule it in!
- Plan a Zoom wine night or a watch party with some friends.
- Organize a family game night (here are some suggestions).
- Schedule an online workout or yoga class (if you’d like to practice with me, my schedule is on my homepage). If you invite a friend to join you, you’ll have that added accountability.
- Pick a cuisine and plan a menu for a special at-home date night with your partner.
4. Get outside.
I know that it can be hard to get outside when the weather is cold and the sidewalks are icy, but try to spend even fifteen minute outside every day. In the winter time, our vitamin D stores deplete, which can affect our moods. Getting some sun on your skin can help your body to synthesize vitamin D. Also consider supplementing your vitamin D during the winter.
If you are planning to buy any outside gear this year, invest in some good quality pieces that will make being outside comfortable. Walking is a great form of exercise. You can even make it social with a physically distanced walk break with a friend.
5. Get help if you need it.
Sometimes all the self-care in the world just won't be enough. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. In fact, I would argue that recognizing when you need help shows strength. Seek out mental health support if you need it. Know that it’s okay to take mood medication if your health professional recommends you take them. And please reach out if you need help or resources. We’re all in this together.
Here is a list of great mental health resources.
Hi, I'm Gillian.
I’m obsessed with helping women live their best lives. Together we'll use yoga and mindfulness to build confidence, reach goals and have some fun!