When going through each season, prioritizing your well-being can look slightly different. As the weather and light changes may affect your mood and well-being, taking time for self-care is important. Times when you have the lowest amount of motivation – like in the colder months – are when you need to start prioritizing yourself the most. Here are some essential ways to prioritize yourself during the winter.
Why Prioritize Yourself During Wintertime?
As the winter season comes upon you, there is more of a risk of developing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is depression that manifests when there are changes in the seasons. For most people, it affects you in the fall and carries you into the winter, making you more moody and fatigued.
With shorter days, it can be hard to fit in all your responsibilities, work, social life, and self-care. You may focus on everything but taking care of yourself. However, if you do not manage your well-being, it can lead to more significant issues like loneliness and feeling helpless. Nurturing your health and well-being during this time is extremely important to avoid those negative feelings.
Essential Ways to Prioritize Yourself During Winter
Ways to Put Yourself First
When putting yourself first slips down your priority list, you’ll want to find healthy or constructive ways to get it back at the top. Here are some ways to put yourself first.
1. Spend Time With Friends
If self-care looks like meeting up with your friends and socializing, it may become more difficult as the winter season approaches. With fewer daylight hours and temperatures dropping, the motivation to leave the house or travel can be challenging.
If leaving the house is out of the question, you can utilize other ways to get social with the ones you love. You can schedule weekly video calls or daily text check-ins to maintain your social life. Using today’s technology is an easy and convenient way to stay in touch with people when you can’t see them in person.
2. Take Advantage of the Light
The amount of sunlight you get is important to your well-being. Serotonin is responsible for balancing the moods in your brain. Natural light is one of the best treatments to increase serotonin production, which can decrease the effects of SAD. Getting fresh air during the day best improves your mood. If it isn’t an option, then opening windows or blinds can help too.
You can speak with your employer about flexible hours to get the most out of the available sunlight. Try to see if an extended lunch break is an option or start mornings earlier so you can finish in time to catch last-minute sunlight.
3. Create Morning and Night Routines
When winter is in full effect, it can be difficult to wake up and wind down. Creating routines can make this time of the day effortless and something to look forward to. If you learn how to set up the perfect skin care routine, it will come to feel like a pampering, mindful moment at the beginning and end of your day.
4. Take Care of Your Physical Health
Taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your mind. There are ways to stay active indoors if it’s difficult to get active after work due to the cold or light changes. After your work day, you can make it a habit to stop at a gym, yoga studio, or wherever you choose to get some activity done indoors.
If you need more motivation or feel intimidated going to a public setting to get the activity, you can dedicate a space in your home to get the job done. You can practice light stretching to ease yourself into it if getting active is new to you. Create a workout routine you look forward to doing to increase your motivation. There are online resources that provide classes or tutorials. Remember that any movement is good movement.
5. Indulge in the Little Things
Don’t underestimate the power of small things to bring you joy throughout the day. Tiny gestures to yourself can have a more significant effect on your mindset than you think. Small things can make you feel more present in the moment, whether it’s lighting a candle, listening to music, or enjoying your favorite drink.
Many people use journaling to feel more present in the moment. It’s a great little thing to do each day to reflect and bring to light what brought you joy. You can find prompts online if it’s hard for you to free write on your own.
6. Treat Rest as a Right
This winter, give yourself unconditional permission to rest. You do not need to earn rest. It can be hard to unlearn the notion that all your tasks need to be completed before you can sit down and relax. At the end of the day, your to-do list is an ongoing reality. There is always something that can be done tomorrow or the following week.
Rest can be considered anything you enjoy that makes you feel mentally, physically, and spiritually at peace. It can be a massage, reading a book, or spending a day in bed. If it’s nourishing you in some way, then it’s a great task to do.
The Bottom Line
Wintertime can be a challenging season when it comes to our priorities and motivation. Making sure you put yourself first is essential for staying in the best shape, both mentally and physically.