Winter can be a tough season for many people, so winter self care is more important than at any other time of the year. The lack of sunlight can make you feel tired and unmotivated. Cold weather can keep you inside and make you feel isolated and bored.
Having a 9 to 5 can make it even worse when all the daylight hours are over by the time you head home, and it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to be productive or simply enjoy yourself.
It’s really important to have a winter self care strategy to survive the cold months with your sanity intact, so I’ve put together a list of ways to help you take care of yourself both physically and mentally.
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Winter Self Care Ideas
1. Find the beauty in winter
Embrace the beauty of winter. You can have an attitude of “winter SUCKS, it’s dark and cold all the time and I can’t go out,” or you can flip that around and embrace the opportunities for nights in, cute coats and scarves, and watching the rain or snow through the window.
Obviously there are a lot of things in life outside our control but you can choose your mindset and decide that you will make the best of the season. This might be something you have to remind yourself to do each day, but it’s worth the effort.
When you shift your mindset these self care ideas to help you get through the winter will be even more effective.
2. Hibernate in maximum coziness
Take the crappy things about winter and turn them into a positive. It can be a bummer when it gets dark so early, but use that as an opportunity to snuggle into your comfy home.
When it gets dark at 5pm turn on your string lights (if you don’t have string lights up somewhere in your house what are you even doing with your life???), light some candles, and make your space extra cozy. Put soft flannel sheets on your bed and faux fur throws on your sofa. Wear fuzzy socks and silly pjs with reindeer or snowmen.
Get a heated blanket if your house tends to be cold. My old home didn’t have a working heater for about 15 years, my heated blanket saved me. However, my BEST friend each winter was my space heater with a remote, I could turn it on while still in bed and let the room warm up for 5 minutes before dragging myself out of bed.
3. Read some good books
Light the fireplace (if you have one) or put on a Youtube fireplace video (this is my favorite) while you get cozy under the blankets with a good book. There is something really comforting about being in a cozy little nest while getting lost in a story. You might get some ideas from my book lists below.
- My November and December Winter Reading List
- My September and October Fall Reading List
- Witchy Books for the Fall
- The 12 Best Self Help Books for Personal Development
4. Create a new fitness routine
It can be harder to stay active in the winter. Not only can you not do outdoor activities much of the time, but gloomy weather can zap your energy and motivation.
Put together a fitness routine that works for you. You can get a gym or studio membership that’s on the way home from work, or you can create a space and routine that you’ll do at home as soon as you wake up in the morning or when you get home in the evening.
Winter is honestly a great time to focus on strength training, you might be taking in a little more calories at holiday parties so it’s a good time to build muscle and then in the spring you can focus on shedding fat with more cardio.
You can also just do something simple like daily yoga. There isn’t a right or wrong way to stay active as long as you are moving your body.
5. Have all the winter foods and drinks
One of my favorite parts of winter is the opportunities for hearty comforting foods, and yummy warm drinks like apple cider and hot chocolate.
Keep everything in balance by having lots of seasonal veggies. I love making a tray bake with potatoes and whatever veggies are available like zucchini, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, onions, squash, etc. Or you can put them in soups and stews.
6. Bake your favorite treats!
Winter is the best time for baking! There are so many desserts to try, from cookies to cheesecake, pumpkin pie to cherry cobbler, I’ll take one of everything please! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
There is nothing better than the smell of a pie baking in the oven, whether you make it from scratch or buy a frozen one. One of my favorite things is putting vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on warm apple or berry pie. Pie is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving and Christmas, honestly I don’t care much about presents just give me some pie and I’m good.
7. Get Vitamin D!
The lack of sunlight can be a huge reason why people get the winter blues. It’s actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and affects many people. If you can, get sun through a window or during a walk for at least 15 minutes each day.
If you are unable to get sunlight for geographical or weather reasons, you might want to invest in a light therapy lamp and vitamin D supplements, I use these vitamin D drops everyday which have a nice minty flavor and you don’t have to swallow a big pill.
8. Have at home Spa Days
Take some time for long bubble baths. Light some candles, put on music, use a fancy bath bomb, and put on a face and hair mask. Read a book or just day dream. Leave your phone out of reach on the counter.
Afterwords slather on some moisturizer and put on comfy pjs. While your muscles are nice and warm it might be a good time to stretch or do yoga.
Better yet, get a Full Body Massage Mat, it will change your life.
9. Invite a friend over for dinner and a movie
You might not feel like going out, so invite someone over for a cozy night in. Put your phones away and actually talk to them. Sometimes you just need a real, aka not online, human connection.
Make a delicious dinner and dessert and watch your favorite holiday movie together. Or have a game night with Monopoly or Uno!
10. Learn a new skill or hobby
Take cooking or photography classes. Buy a calligraphy workbook or an adult paint set. Learn to knit. Enroll in a coding class. Watch tutorials on youtube or sign up to a site like skillshare. Sign up for a new class at a fitness studio.
Challenge your brain and get outside your comfort zone!
My favorite part of winter is decorating for Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas that’s ok, you can still decorate for winter without Santa or a tree. My high school best friend’s mom would put lights on her fake palm tree, it totally works to brighten the place up!
This year I bought this 3 foot fake tree for my bedroom and it’s making me so happy! Put up some cheery lights, change out your throw pillows (I love these velvet pillow covers), put a wreath on the door, throw red plaid blankets everywhere, hang up some snowflakes.
I know people can get kind of low if they live far from their families and don’t have anyone to celebrate with, but decorate even if you live alone. It’ll cheer you up!
12. Plan a winter or holiday themed outing
Even as an introvert I understand that sometimes you really just need to get out of the house and find something to brighten your day. Try doing an activity you haven’t done before.
- Go for a sleigh ride.
- Attend a Christmas tree lighting event in your city.
- Go skiing.
- Rent a cabin with family or friends.
- Go to a festival and drink hot cider.
- Drive around town to see Christmas lights.
- Take a walk in the rain or snow.
- Go ice skating.
Just do something that feels festive and will make a good memory to look back on!
13. Don’t worry about what other people are doing
If you’re on social media you’ll probably see people with their “perfect” lives having the most magical time in a super cute outfit in a perfectly photo ready wonderland with their equally glamorous friends.
Your life doesn’t have to look like that. Their life doesn’t even really look like that. Do life your way.
But if you want some cute holiday pictures for your Instagram feed, then grab a friend, dress up, and go take some. Just do it in the spirit of fun and not needing to impress anyone.
14. Do a light declutter
Don’t wait for spring to clear out the physical and mental clutter in your life. Things in your home can kind of stack up and become stagnant during the winter and drag down your energy levels, so winter can be the perfect time to have a little life detox.
You don’t have to do a deep cleaning in the middle of winter, but a light decluttering can really help you feel like a weight has lifted off you. Look around and take note of what bothers you about your space.
Is there too much stuff cluttering up your living room, do you cringe when you open your closet, is it a struggle to close your dresser drawers, does your pantry drive you bananas?
Pick an area—or several areas—and make a plan to clear out any clutter and reorganize them. You’ll feel so good after!
15. Create a luxurious skin care routine
While the occasional spa night is amazing, having a luxurious skin care routine can be a great way to practice self care daily in the winter months.
Whatever products you use, take your time and be really present in the moment. Enjoy taking care of yourself.
16. Have a hot cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or cider daily
Create a daily routine out of making and enjoying a hot drink. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or in the evening after work, make your cozy drink and then sit and just be in the moment without distractions.
17. Light a yummy candle
This will be really obvious to some people, but I didn’t realize how powerful scent is until about 4 years ago. Having your home smell really amazing can do so much for your mood.
When I light my favorite candles in the winter it instantly makes me feel good. Not only that, but it creates a cozy atmosphere in your home.
Writing can be very cathartic when you aren’t feeling amazing, so a regular or even just occasional journaling practice can be beneficial.
You can have a gratitude journal where you write down 5-10 things you’re thankful for that day, or a self-love journal where you write down 1-3 things you like about yourself each day. Challenge yourself to do that for 30 days and see how you feel at the end, I bet you’ll feel pretty good about yourself.
Or you can just write about your day and vent about anything that’s bothering you.
19. Play and be creative
Playing is the best kind of self care there is. Make time to just have fun. Play old video games you liked as a kid or teenager. Play board games. Do something creative like painting, drawing, or buy some coloring books. Write bad poetry. Have a karaoke night.
If you have snow, challenge someone to a snowman contest. Challenge your friends to a scavenger hunt. So ice skating. Make memories!
20. Plan for the New Year
Quiet winter days are a good time to reflect on life and figure out where you want to go from here. Journaling is a great way to check in with yourself, so I recommend trying these 35 Journal Prompts for an Amazing New Year so you can get a little perspective on yourself and the future you want.
You may also find the Manifest Your Goals guide to be helpful for setting intentional goals and taking the steps to achieve them.
How do you practice winter self care?
I hope you found these winter self care ideas helpful my friend. What are you going to try? What do you do already to look after your well-being? The winter months can be hard so take care of yourself, you deserve it. Have a safe and happy holiday season.