Self-Care in Winter

If you are anything like me, the winter season is most enjoyed when it is filled with cozy clothing, warm drinks, and most importantly, slowing down. We all know the importance of self-care, but it becomes even more important to develop a routine in our long and cold Edmonton winters! Our bodies are more susceptible to stress, illness and fatigue during the winter months. Here are some tips to help you move through the next few (or six) months more easily.

 

Slower Living

Our natural instinct with the changes in nature (less light, colder temperatures) is to search for comfort through warmth, rest and relaxation. I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation where we plan to go to the gym, but instead find ourselves curled up on the couch with a bowl of soup. Most often, we feel negative feelings towards ourselves for choosing comfort, but try not to. Allow yourself to slow down during the winter months. We all need time to rest and restore.

 

Eat Seasonally

In the winter, a bowl of chili with a piece of grainy bread is much more appealing than a salad with garden veggies. This makes sense, as fresh produce is harder to come by, and we are looking for warmth wherever we can find it. Instead of forcing yourself to eat raw veggies that you don’t enjoy, embrace the idea of warmer meals. Bulk up your soups and stews with a source of protein, root veggies and whole grains.

 

Winter Movement

You are not alone if you find that your exercise level drops off in the winter months. In Edmonton, there are so many opportunities to get outside in the summer, but the colder temperatures impact how much we can do. Back to the gym conversation – if you find yourself moving away from the ways you typically move, switch it up and find something you genuinely enjoy doing. Try a relaxing yoga class or bundle up and try cross country skiing or snow shoeing; or work with a personal trainer to gain new ideas (and expectations)! Again, give yourself some grace and don’t put too much pressure on yourself with grand goals.

 

Reflection

Although it is a good idea to incorporate some form of reflection year-round, the start of a new year and more time spent inside provides a great opportunity to incorporate this into your self care routine. If you find it hard to pick up a journal and a pen, start with a small prompt, like “what are you grateful for today” or “how have I been feeling lately”. You will be surprised at how this simple routine can change your daily outlook.

 

By Kalin Herbach, Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist) & an advocate for self-care