Winter is the time to take things easy. We don’t mean hibernating for months on end, but we do encourage everyone to relax a bit more.
That’s because winter can be hard for many of us. Long nights, short days, a chill in the air, and for lots of people a time of year when money is tight. The temptation is to work harder, worry about ourselves and our loved ones, and charge headlong into the summer desperate for a break.
If this sounds about right to you, then don’t worry. For all the doom and gloom that can surround winter, there’s also positivity too. That Scandinavian feeling of hygge when cosying up under a blanket watching TV; the power of a hot water bottle; the smell of a warm dinner that fills the kitchen.
There are many ways to enjoy the winter without going all-out and exhausting yourself. And you don’t need to throw money at the situation either.
Instead, it’s all about slowing down your routine. Many of us work too hard in the lead-up to Christmas, trying to cram everything in and being ready for the big day. We then dive into January desperate to better ourselves, but end up exhausted.
We all need ways of relaxing and recharging our batteries over the cold months, and reducing our routine only to what’s important. This way we can focus on ourselves and be the best we can be.
So, here at take good care we’ve come up with a few tips for taking it easy this winter. This doesn’t mean slobbing around in front of the telly and getting takeaways every night! It’s about being mindful of what we do, how we eat and when we unwind.
See the light
The first thing you can do to immediately improve your mental and physical wellbeing over winter is to get outside in daylight. If you have free time and the weather’s good, go for a walk or even a journey into your town or village. There doesn’t have to be a reason for going outside, the important thing is you’re out and about. You’ll get Vitamin D from the sun, your eye muscles will get a workout from seeing farther, and your joints will loosen up.
Stop work earlier
It may seem obvious but many of us work longer in the winter because either there’s nothing else to do, or we don’t realise the time. Working longer hours is sometimes unavoidable but making a habit of it will impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. It means you have less time to switch off, and no time to enjoy life. So, if you can do set a deadline for ending work and don’t come back to it until the next day.
Avoid nighttime screens
Screens are a big issue in the winter. We look at our screens more and the blue light keeps our minds and bodies awake. This means it’s harder to get to sleep, and when we do doze off our slumber is of worse quality. What happens next is we wake up groggy and tired, and turn to our phones for comfort. The cycle continues all winter.
The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. We need it to revive and re-energise our bodies and minds. So, make sure an hour before bed that you put your phone away and build in a nighttime routine. This could be mediation, yoga or even chatting to a partner or family member about their day. There are other ways to de-stress than looking at our phones.
Heating bills are going to be higher than usual this winter due to the energy crisis, but there are ways of staying warm. Wearing warm clothes inside isn’t just necessary, it’s cosy too. You can also fill a hot water bottle and enjoy warmth throughout the night. Setting the boiler on a steady low temperature will also help keep your home warm without unnecessary overheating. Exercise, working at the office, socialising in community centres and meeting up with friends are other ways to stay warm during the day, and also catch some of that winter sun!
Massage and stretch
Body and mental wellbeing comes together in massage therapy, which gets you to focus on areas of your body and relax them as part of a calming routine. You can either massage yourself or ask a loved one to help. The benefits of massage are widespread, and head, back and limb massages can all help keep things steady, while also improving your flexibility during these cold months.
What’s more, stretching through yoga or pilates will keep you physically nimble, and also relax the mind. The benefit of massaging and stretching is you can relax, renew and then resume your life in a more mindful, managed manner. And this means you’ll come out of winter and embrace spring with enthusiasm.