Winters are already hard, but slap a pandemic on it and shit just got even harder. It’s dark for most of the day, cold, and we can’t have holiday parties??
Many of us aren’t going to see family and if we are, it’s probably a smaller gathering than usual.
Personally, I am opting out of visiting my family in the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC this year. I have never missed a year and never thought I would, but obviously with Covid, it’s unsafe.
There are probably many feelings we have oscillating through our bodies day after day. And I’m sure they aren’t all bad! There might be some relief from the usual holiday stress this year and maybe you appreciate a quiet holiday for once. This is why it’s extra important to take care of yourself at this time.
First, before you start checking off all the self-care items on this list, check in with yourself. Spend a few minutes everyday just being in your body. Whether that’s meditation, movement, or sitting in silence, do what works for you. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “what do I need today?”
This is actually a much harder question than it sounds if you aren’t used to doing this. But this is an essential question for adequate self-care this winter. Taking care of yourself is about getting your basic, physical, social, mental, and emotional needs met.
Now, after asking yourself this question, use this list to help you figure out what might meet those needs.
Warmth & comfort – Wrap yourself in a cocoon of blankets, take warm baths, get creative with hot drinks, turn the space heater on, wear your coziest, comfiest sweaters, or cuddle up with someone. Bring in as much warmth and comfort as your heart’s desire.
Rest – It’s hibernation season with more dark hours of the day than light. Maybe get an extra hour of sleep a night, take naps, & don’t put pressure on yourself to “do all the things.” Pay attention to your energy and when you need a break.
Physical activity – This is more important than I’ve ever wanted to admit before. I have started walking most days and when I don’t go for a walk, I am noticeably more depressed & low energy. There are a myriad of benefits to movement including improving energy & mood, so find something you enjoy and get after it.
Gratitude – I am not a proponent of being positive all the time & ignoring the negative (a.k.a. toxic positivity), but practicing gratitude can really turn your mindset around. This isn’t about ignoring your uncomfortable feelings or a way to escape the negative. Gratitude is a way to shift your attention to the joy, love, & abundance in your life, because they’re always there no matter how bad your situation.
Social interaction – This one is tough and weird right now. I know so many of us are sick of Zoom, so if you aren Zoomed out, there are a million other ways to keep in touch. If you can see people safely in person, do that as often as you feel comfortable. Remember just regular old chatting on the phone? You can do that too. You can also send each other funny video voicemails through Marco Polo, text each other, chat through social media (my sister and I are constantly sending each other cat videos), or even voice chats through Voxer. Don’t let social interaction fall by the wayside. This is an extremely important part of your health.
Nourishment – Don’t skip meals, keep your fridge & pantry well-stocked if you can, make sure your meals are well-balanced with carbs, proteins & fats, drink lots of water, meal-prep if it makes your life easier, eat warm & hearty foods to stay cozy, and eat foods that satisfy you.
Remember, self-care is not selfish and it doesn’t need to be an extravagant gesture to get the job done. Caring for yourself simply means getting your needs met. That’s it.
Oh and also, striving for perfection or thinking of self-care in all-or-nothing terms will not help you. There is no “right way” to go about self-care, there is only the way that works for you.