The winter months can feel long and hard — reduced sunlight can affect our general sense of wellness and lead to feelings of gloom. We likely spend more time indoors and, in time, this can lead to us feeling irritable, even impacting our sense of self. Though our wellbeing can feel harder to strive for in winter, it’s totally possible.
Winter can actually be a great opportunity to focus on ourselves — to take stock in a gentler way and to nurture. With intention and mindfulness, the winter months can offer us the opportunity to experience the changing seasons, exactly as they are, and to embrace seasonal activities that only come around once a year.
Fay recently caught up with Knix— an apparel brand that’s empowering people to live unapologetically free with clothing that’s designed to make you feel more comfortable in your own skin — to dish some tips on how to embrace the harshest months of the year. Fay tested out the brand’s new Baselayers and Loungewearin the wild before diving into five key ways you can recharge, boost your mood, and even relish the coldest of seasons.
Reconnect with Nature
Time in nature can drastically improve our sense of connection and mindfulness, allowing us to momentarily evade the pressures and stresses of everyday life. Mindfulness can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and a whole number of other benefits.
Depending on where you live (and whether the temperatures dip into the minus figures), getting outside can be challenging and isn’t always possible to do for long stretches of time. The good news is, even small increments of time outdoors can be just as effective as a mental reset. Scheduling fifteen-minute breaks in your work calendar or journal to get outside can make this more achievable.
Body temperature can also impact our desire to get outside, which is why baselayers are a worthy investment that can provide a boost of warmth — because no one wants to be distracted by chattering teeth while exploring the great outdoors. Better yet, these can be layered with other items, like leggings and hoodies, to create multi-functional sets.
If, on some days, you can’t muster the energy to brave the plummeting temperatures, just spending time admiring the outdoors from your window might be the moment of reprieve you need to reset and rebalance.
Bring Nature In
Getting out into nature, incredible as it may be, isn’t always possible. Whether it’s due to the cold, days of constant rain, or the shorter days, winter can lend itself to feeling cooped up. But by bringing nature indoors, we can still get many of the same benefits.
Sun lamps, for instance, can help regulate our moods and cope with lower light levels, which can impact our sleep patterns, cognition, and have a detrimental effect on those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). By emulating the light of the sun, these handy lamps can help us wake up in a more natural way or be kept near our desk — providing valuable light throughout the day.
Introducing houseplants into your décor can provide a much-needed boost, too. Not only do our plant friends help cleanse the air, but they also help reduce stress, promote calmness, and seamlessly integrate nature into our everyday. By adding nature-based smells to your space with an essential oil diffuser you can also help recreate the multi-sensory experience of being outdoors. Eucalyptus, for instance, can help with colds, flu, and sore throats, while lavender can help reduce stress and anxiety.
There’s a tendency to regard winter as a season we have toendurewhile we wait for the spring and summer to make appearances again. While the warmer months often mean being able to enjoy nature to its fullest, considering things you enjoy that are unique to winter can help shift your mindset fromwithstandingtoappreciatingthe winter months.
It could be as simple as creating a list of winter-themed pastimes you enjoy — whether it’s cozying up with a book and a steamy cup of tea or luxuriating in a hot candlelit bath. You can also use the winter as an opportunity to try a new hobby, like a creative outlet you can undertake from home or a winter sport.
Exploring being more gentle with yourself can also extend to the clothes you wear, and enveloping yourself in soft fabrics could be what you need to feel comfy and take things slower.
Create Seasonal Habits
The habits we cultivate are determined by the actions we take. As our actions gradually become routine, they create the fabric of our lives and, in turn, shape our wellbeing. Winter is often seen as a time to hibernate or nest, but that’s not a bad thing. The wintry months can provide us with the conditions to foster and relish in new habits and routines.
Finding a movement practice that works for you, introducing mood lighting, and integrating seasonal produce and foods into your diet are just a few ways you can embrace winter and boost your wellbeing by regulating your nervous system.
Exercise, be it gentle or more intense, is a great way of igniting our sense of wellbeing thanks to the release of endorphins and serotonin. There’s no right or wrong way to move, from unwinding in nature to a sweat session at your home gym (also known as your living room). Unless you’re among the lucky few who have a dedicated exercise space, consider ways you can make the space you have conducive to consistent movement.
If you find it hard to concentrate, make your exercise free from notifications by turning off email alerts so you can really allow yourself time to connect. Keep in mind that it’s natural for your energy levels and movement routines to fluctuate with the seasons, so be gentle with yourself and find ways to move that work for you.