Tips For Improving Winter Self Care
Every year it seems to astonish and flummox us when the nights draw in. We are thrown into disarray by less light, time, motivation. And yet it's something we know all too well is coming. Like the season's, changes occur in our energy, hormones and life/work routines all year around. Why is it then that the winter months cause us increased anxiety, imposter syndrome and have us freaking out about our failings and unticked goals list? There are other things like lower moods, lack of Vitamin D that go hand in hand with less motivation in our work.
Changes to our climate are not playing a helpful role in creating a harmonious seasonal routine either... summer temperatures in October? Nevertheless, the winter months take up almost a third of our year so it seems sensible to create our own personal set of survival tactics.
After 32 years I am finally embracing the idea of not just acknowledging these seasonal fluctuations, but looking at how I can build them into my business and life better going forward. But here seems to be a good place to start...
Feeling those 'Winter Blues' and not sure what to do?
SAD - Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that the NHS estimates to affect approximately one in 15 people in the UK between September and April. It can be particularly severe during December, January, and February. For some people, SAD is so disabling that they cannot function in winter without continuous treatment. Others may experience a milder version called sub-syndromal SAD or 'winter blues'. source Mental Health Foundation
I am not saying that we all experience such strong seasonal symptoms (the above are severe cases that show up for 1 in 15 people) But turning our attention to some of the points below may help improve your winter well-being and outlook for the coming year!
Pause that huge list of tasks not yet done - any additional big tasks that have escaped you so far this year can more than likely be saved until next year. If you are your own boss it's exciting and empowering to be able to alter that plan or timeline to suit your own needs!
Goal setting comparison - do it your way or even just leave it until the new year when you've had a break and a new sense of perspective. Or jot a few ideas down to get them out of your head and revisit. Either way, your truly inspiring ideas won't run off and leave you. Genuine aha moments appear when you are ready for them and aren't forgotten easily!
Your Mood - Feel the feels, let those ups and downs surface, acknowledge that the winter months can have a profound effect on our work and life throwing balance into question at every turn! How can you use this as an opportunity to tune in and get to know yourself a little better?
If those feelings are not manageable then ask for help. Winter brings low immune systems, lower vitamin D and many more physical and mental imbalances. Find someone you trust, or a professional to check in with.
Your time - Create a seasonal routine that suits you RIGHT NOW. I have been really struggling recently with not being my usual early bird morning loving self. At first, it freaked me out and really had me questioning my health and business... dramatic I know. But once I cut myself some slack and a new workday routine with a later start and additional breaks I finally started to feel the positive impact of changing things up. Doing less better this time of year seems to be key. More catch-ups with friends and connectedness are where it's at in work and life.
Your finances - Pressures to have this years must have artisan en vogue item weigh in on us all no matter how overtly aware of current trends we are. The world of advertising is clever and often subliminal! Our society is obsessed with more, best, instagram worthy possessions. But this time of year can see our finances get out of control and our stress and anxiety peak.... for what? Do you get caught in this trap? How can you take back the winter months and keep your finances in check for a healthier bank balance in the new year?
Cutting the crap - If you're not loving the idea of it (project, deadline, social event, Xmas obligation) don't do it. You don't have to be harsh but you do have to honest and kindly explain that you can't do the thing. This time of year is prime for those feelings overwhelm as we rush toward the must have's, must do and be seen to be doing/having....
Hygge mentality - Is that Danish art of coziness something you are loving or feel overwhelmed by the plethora of faux fur throws and Scandi must have's! Either way, the idea of cultivating magic in the little moments is something I positively reinforce on a regular basis... so find your own version and create a few new seasonal practice or tradition.
Surprising treats! A friend of mine mentioned a great little self-care ritual which involves creating a self-care package (including some small yet favourite treats and treasure) at the start of every year and then hiding it away until the winter months. Perfect for when you need a pick me up but may have less money or motivation to seek out said lovliness. Why not make 2 and send one to a friend in need at the same time. I am going to try this technique this coming year and include things like fancy tea, a candle, a cinema ticket gift card, wooly socks etc... it doesn't have to be expensive either, you could squirrel away some bits and bobs from christmas to save money.
Quick tips (image @gurlstalk)
Winter self-care is not just rose petal baths and Xmas frivolity. It's a hotch-potch combination of cutting the crap, tuning in to your energy, connecting with like-minded peers and loved ones and stepping away from that old friend comparison. The days are shorter because traditionally its a time of hibernation. There is most definitely a place for rest, reward and a little extra luxury during the winter months too. So whether yours is a turmeric latte, an extra yoga class or getting your invoices up to date before you take a few weeks off.... embrace it as an act of survival! (And pass me that bath bomb)
Our podcast episode - Getting Over The Glorification Of Busy - might be perfect listening for you right now!
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