We all deserve extra care and attention during the winter months. Now it’s November, the days are getting ever shorter, and colder. Sometimes its easy to forget what daylight looks like – and it can feel like we’re running on empty.
Before winter takes hold, spare a moment to take stock and create a care plan for your mind, body and soul. Here’s my list…
Dispirited after a long, cold day? There’s no cure like a hot bath. Although it’s nice to start collecting a store of lovely bath products, ultimately it doesn’t really matter what you put in it – it’s the hot water that’s the tonic. And bath’s aren’t just for evenings. If you find it hard to jump in the shower on a cold morning, try a bath instead. You might need to get up a little earlier, but it’s worth it. A 15 minute bath is such a gentle and soothing way to start your day.
Walk or cycle as much as you. Fresh air is always a cure for the blues. Sitting in stuffy cars, buses and trains create a lot of mental cobwebs. Blow them away by walking and cycling whenever you can. Try swapping unnecessary five-minute car journeys with a walk.
Remember to eat well. It’s easy to eat healthily in the summer. In winter, not so much. The lure of comforting, stodgey food is just so tempting. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again: soup is the answer to your problems. It’s easy, low-carb and nutritious. Make a big pan of simple vegetable soup and freeze into small portions. If you have a microwave at work, take it with you in one of these cute travel mugs.
Eating outdoors is something that gives me so much pleasure over the warmer months. Don’t give up just because it’s cold outside. You just need to rethink things a bit. Drink a cup of coffee while walking round your garden or stroll through town with a bag of hot, salty chips – they’re simple pleasures that’ll warm your heart.
Indulge in the nicest winter hat and gloves you can find. It’ll make stepping out of the door in the mornings the much easier. Choosing a new set is always one of my favourite autumn pleasures. Don’t let your scarves and hats be apologetic – wear things that make you smile, inside and out.
Look after your hands. Cold winds, hand-washing and central heating take their toll on our hands. If I’m not careful mine end up dry, cracked and bleeding by the end of November. This year I’m determined to take better care of them. Use gentle soaps and remember to moisturise as much as you can. I’ve been using the hand therapy by Crabtree and Evelyn for the last 15 years – it’s always my first port of call. This goat milk and oat version, with its sweet lavender infused scent, is my current favourite.
And while we’re at it, remember to look after your hair too. It’s easy to forget, but our hair bears the brunt of the cold weather too. Indulge in lots of moisturising treatments (maybe while in your bath?) to keep it looking its best. I would love to try this hair and scalp treatment by Kiehls which sounds like it could be a lifesaver.
Write a gratitude diary. It doesn’t need to be much – and you don’t even need to write it down. Just take the time to think of one thing you’re grateful each day – or just something that made you happy. I’m going to be trying this with my children this winter.
Take up a craft. I’d recommend crochet. I find making endless granny squares a deeply soothing winter activity. I can keep one eye on the telly, and fiddle away. It’s nice to have a sense of purpose and something to show for all those evenings spent indoors.
Put down your phone, and read an actual book. Force itchy fingers and an impatient mind to slow down with a good book. Books are something to invest your time in – a slow-burn pleasure that has absolutely nothing to with instant gratification. Losing yourself in the pages of your book will give your brain time to recharge.
What’s on your winter self-care list?
Thank you to Crabtree and Evelyn for sending me their Goat Milk and Oat hand range to try out.