While summer gives us long days, sunshine and the energy to do all the things, winter’s traditionally a time to slow down and focus on nourishing and taking care of yourself. During the winter months, we naturally tend to spend more time indoors because of cooler temperatures and shorter days. These seasonal cues and a deeper connection with nature shape the way many cultures approach winter; in Chinese Medicine winter represents ‘yin’ - it’s the time to slow down, turn our attention and energy inwards, rest, reflect and keep warm. Winter is seen as a an opportunity to embrace the slow, live more consciously, focus on self-care and find joy in the small things.
Here’s six tips to help you feel cosy, sane & well during these colder months -
Keep Cosy & Sane Indoors
The Scandinavians, with their long, freezing winters, have nailed the art of keeping cosy indoors. The Danes cultivate something known as hygge; ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that gives a feeling of contentment or well-being’. Hygge is an effortless feeling of cosiness and comfort, which you might get from being wrapped in a wool blanket, lighting candles or a fire, drinking something warm and delicious, reading a good book or sharing a meal with friends.
If you’re WFH or spending more time at home, do the best you can to separate your spaces - even if it’s just putting away your work things at the end of the day. Implement some little rituals and routines to help you mentally switch off at the end of the day. For me, this involves putting on a favourite playlist and burning some incense or a candle to change up the feel of a space.
Get More Quality Sleep
The average adult needs 7-9hours of quality sleep each night, to allow the body to rest, restore and repair. If sleep is something you struggle with, there are a a number of things you can do to help, such as limiting your caffeine intake (and keeping these to the a.m only), going screen & tech-free one hour before you go to sleep, and developing a bedtime routine to help with winding down.
Having suffered from different forms of insomnia for years, I’ve finally found a sleep mediation that seem to be working for me, thanks to a podcast recommendation from Highly Enthused - Try the Yoga Nidra for Sleep meditation by Zoe Kanat on Insight Timer.
Move Your Body
Daily movement helps to build strength & fitness, improve your mood and support your immune system, so it’s important to find a way to move your body that feels good for you, and do this everyday. Even gentle exercise can do wonders for mental health, such as rugging up and going for a walk in nature. For indoor movement options, these are some of my favourites for home: Good Vibes offer a complimentary virtual yoga studio via youtube, with a range of class styles to suit all skill-levels and bodies, and Good Times Pilates & Hustl both offer affordable online memberships options for online pilates workouts that are actually fun.
Always keep a water bottle, thermos or carafe with you throughout the day - know how much water it holds, and make sure to keep drinking and refilling until you reach 2L. If you find you're struggling to drink enough water during the colder months, try upping your intake of herbal teas for a warmer option with flavour + herbal benefits. At the moment I’ve been drinking a lot of calming tea, full of gentle herbs to calm and support the nervous system like lemon balm, lavender & chamomile.
Eat With The Seasons
Winter’s all about warming foods - think slow-cooked meals, soups, broths, congees and curries, packed full of flavour goodness (Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Ostro gets a solid workout during this time). While I think it’s important to enjoy all your favourite foods, eating a mostly wholefood diet full of local, seasonal fruit & veg will do good things for your health and the environment.
If you’re not sure what’s in season, save this handy guide.
Switch Up Your Skincare
During Winter, constant exposure to environmental stressors such as colder weather, harsh winds, air conditioning (and mask wearing) can result in dry, irritated and even congested skin. During these cooler months, I recommend making some small changes to your routine to assist with nourishing & repairing your skin.
- Switch to a gentle and nourishing cleanser, and a heavier moisturiser
- Use a weekly hydrating mask
- Include face and body oil to your routine, either in place of or in addition to your moisturiser (to layer this for extra TLC, use your oils before your moisturisers)
Image: Captains Rest Tasmania