Shake Off the Winter Blues!
- February 20, 2019 |
Taking a break and focusing on what makes us happy every now and then is vital to our well-being, mentally and physically. And that can look like many things, but there are a few tried and true ways we know to beat the winter blues— taking time for self-care, enjoying some comfort food, and having a little bit of fun.
Self-care can rejuvenate body, mind, and, dare I say, spirit. Detox baths, exercise, meditation, really anything that you enjoy for a little destressing will be good for your outlook and body. Take care of yourself and you’ll feel like a spring chicken again!
No self-care practice would be complete without exercise. Your body craves movement to keep it healthy, and one of the best exercises for overall physical movement is yoga. Yoga can bridge all three areas, body, mind, and spirit.
Yoga is excellent for meditation and can be an ideal way to relieve stress and depression. There are many forms of yoga, from ones that are highly meditative to forms that are extremely physically challenging. A gentle yoga class will have an instructor that leads you through breathing exercises and poses that increase your flexibility. Yoga may reduce your blood pressure and heart rate. It’s a time to focus on you and your body, to be meditative and at peace, oh, and it’s also a little socializing, too.
Detox baths are excellent pampering for the body’s largest organ and thus can help your body function better. A small aside— dry brushing is an excellent practice, one I combine with my favorite ritual of detox baths. Dry brushing encourages lymphatic flow while exfoliating skin. Then a detox bath with a cup of Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils will work even better. A nice hot bath alone can help you melt away stress—and some studies suggest they burn calories too! But combining the above suggestions can next-level your bath time.
While both practices of pampering and exercising can include meditative aspects, slowing down and simply taking time to get grounded and turn off all the chatter is unto itself a ritual or practice you should consider. Meditation can help ease stress, remind you of things to be grateful for, help you reflect, and put you in a better head space for tackling life when you’re back at full speed. Journaling, sitting in quiet reflection, spacing out to sound therapy or soft music, communing with nature … however you choose to meditate, the practice of being alone with your thoughts and getting yourself sorted will make for a better outlook and a clearer head all around.
Everyone knows that comfort food is the panacea for what ails you. Chicken soup isn’t just for your soul— it’s one of those homecooked meals that communicates love and healing while tasting delicious. You can even makeover some of your favorites like mac & cheese and heavier potato dishes, casseroles, pasta meals, and more. These can be lightened up or given a bit of an upgrade-- like adding higher grade cheeses to your mac & cheese dish or substituting soba noodles for pastas. Or just treat yourself to the original and enjoy the comfort of your favorite dishes.
In winter, you don’t have as many reasons to head outside, so pick up a new cookbook and try some new foods. Weekends are great times to come up with meals for the rest of the week, so cook in bulk, package those meals, and have them ready to heat and eat after coming home from work or after picking up the kids at basketball practice.
And last, but certainly not least, have a little fun! Gather friends and family around the table or in the living room after dinner to reclaim your joy during these winter days. Board games, puzzles, movies, or charades can get everyone involved and change your attitude once the laughs start rolling. You can also think up fun activities outdoors to add in the element of exercise or plan outings everyone can enjoy. There are many sporting events you can attend, like high school, college, or even semi-pro and professional sports.
There are also museums to visit, book clubs to join, live music to enjoy at local haunts, new restaurants to go try, escape rooms that are popping up everywhere, and, from one life-long learner to perhaps another out there, you can find loads of classes to take—you can enjoy a cooking class or learn to throw pottery (not at anyone, mind you), pick up a new skill, or simply dive in deeper to an area that interests you. Your local community centers and colleges will have many offerings for your interests. Whatever floats the proverbial boat for you, it’s probably out there just waiting for you to show up.
Now that you have your winter-blues-beating plan, you’ll get rid of those ho-hum doldrums in no time. I hope that we’ve sparked some interest in getting out and enjoying what’s left of winter and that you’ll be encouraged to take care of yourself and lighten your mood while we wait for spring.
PS For even more tips, visit our February 2018 blog, 5 Ways to Escape the Winter Blues.