By Emma Grace Fairchild:
Do you have a routine throughout your busy life that serves simply to make you feel good? Commonly called “self-care,” this intentional time in our lives when we can take care of ourselves can be an important part of mental, emotional and physical wellness. While we each have different needs for self-care, some common ways to indulge include body care, a special hobby or activity you enjoy, or some sort of treat like a trip to your favorite bakery. Self-care is a healthy practice all year, but I find that winter is an especially crucial time. When parts of the world get colder and darker, sometimes we need a little extra love and attention to make it through the long nights. Here are some tips from myself and the Green-Mom team to attempt incorporating into a healthful lifestyle.
My usual habit first thing in the morning is to drink a shot of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in water. It’s a very easy way to boost digestion, alkalize the body, and start the day. During the winter, however, I update my tonic by using hot water to warm myself up when it’s cold outside. Alternatively, I start with a cup of miso paste mixed with hot water to make an instant soup. You can read more about miso and its benefits here. The warmth from a nourishing drink is a comforting way to start the day.
Dry lips are commonplace in the winter, and while your favorite Chapstick is a good solution, try making one that you really love. Homemade lip balm is relatively easy with the right ingredients, and can be customized with your favorite essential oils (make sure you use a high quality brand that can be consumed). Read how Green-Mom writer Kim Robson makes her own here.
Another simple self care practice is taking some time to make your indoor space cozy and comfortable. Clearing clutter, diffusing essential oils, and lighting clean-burning candles are some ideas. Additionally, try incorporating some natural materials such as beautiful fallen leaves, boughs of pine trees, or mistletoe branches into your home. Full spectrum light bulbs have been associated with improving psychological health and praised for similarity to natural light. These can be replaced one by one as old lightbulbs die, or consider an entire room bulb switch during the darker months. You can read all about the benefits of using full spectrum bulbs here.
Dry brushing is an ayurvedic practice that exfoliates the skin and stimulates the lymphatic system. Using a stiff and dry brush all over the body, the practice gently removes dead skin cells and clears pores while increasing blood flow to the areas. This helps me keep my skin soft and healthy in the winter because of the extra dry heat coming from radiators in the city. You can read more about dry brushing techniques, benefits and what kind of brush to purchase here.
Whatever approach you take, it’s a nice practice to give yourself a bit of extra love in the wintertime. Feel free to try these ideas, one of the many other Green-Mom living tips, or any personal interest of yours to get through the dark winter with a bit of healthy support from yourself.