For many of us, a new year means wiping the slate clean—starting a new fitness regimen, a healthier diet, and all the things that we think we should do. The thing is, winter is the time that our bodies are programmed to slow down and rejuvenate for the coming spring- a type of human hibernation. So why not lean into the season and do the things that make you happy. Not sure what those things are? Here are some great ways to treat yourself this winter—for your body, mind, and soul.
Even though your heart says to curl up with a good book (a real one, with paper pages) by the fire and get cozy under a big throw – which can be a great idea -- you do need to keep some sort of fitness routine in the winter too. Aside from helping you burn off any left-over holiday indulgences, exercise releases the endorphins that help chase away the winter blues.
Yoga or Pilates in the home is a great way to get moving. If weather permits, a brisk walk is excellent. If you like outside exercise, you could take up a winter sport. In most areas, you can reach a winter resorts in a few hours. Try snowshoeing if you live in an area with lots of snow. If you can't swing a ski trip, opt for trying out ice skating—most cities have indoor and outdoor public rinks. You'll be twizzling in no time.
After a day on the snow and ice, take a tip from the Finnish and enjoy a sauna. It will keep you warm and relax those tired muscles.
Winter temps are hard on your skin—low humidity and high winds outside, combined with dry heat inside, simply dry you out. The last thing you want come your spring vacation is red, dry, scaly skin, so stay ahead of winter dryness with these tips.
Humidify your home
Staying hydrated in the winter is more than drinking enough water; it's making sure that you're hydrated on the outside too. One easy way to take care of winter skin is to put humidifiers throughout your home.
Run them intermittently through the day in the rooms where you spend the most time, especially at night. If you have delicate sinuses or a cold, a humidifier makes it much easier to breathe. Maintaining some moisture in the air will also help your skin stay hydrated and avoid scaly, itchy patches that are so common in the cold months.
Treat yourself to premium moisturizers during these dry months. Forget your lightweight summer sheers and go for rich, creamy butters. Shea and mango butter, urea, and petrolatum products all create a barrier between your skin and the elements. Look for butters that contain glycerin, to slow down evaporation, and ceramides that make the moisture barrier even stronger.
Try a bathing brush
A treat for your body that will have you glowing -- before you step into the shower, exfoliate with a bath brush—a natural, soft-bristle brush for bath or shower. Starting on the bottoms of your feet, use long, sweeping motions towards your heart. Do the same thing when you get to your arms, (sweep inwards). This removes dead skin and gets your circulation going before you shower. Afterwards? Moisturize with a body butter for a springtime glow in the dead of winter.
Then a warm bath
You've heard all your life that hot baths in the winter are a bad idea. A warm bath in an inviting haven of a bathroom is a great way to ease the pain of cold, stiff muscles. Even a 15-minute soak in the tub can help reduce stress and tension, improve circulation, and completely improve your mood. It also increases your body's temperature, which in turn helps you fend off winter viruses.
Add some bath oils to your water to seal in moisture or apply an oil to your skin before you gently towel off. Don't forget to moisturize those dry winter piggies with a rich foot cream.
Give into the feeling of slowing down and dress down for lazy days at home. Fleece-lined leggings and big cozy sweaters are just the thing when you're hanging out, alone or with friends. Opt for a heavy cotton knit Fair Isle sweater—a modern twist on a classic that doesn't have to be dry cleaned. Cotton rag socks are also a better choice than wool—they help your feet retain moisture and are less likely to cause you to perspire.
For a good night's sleep
Before you curl up with a luxurious throw and that book (no electronics before bedtime), make yourself a cup of herbal tea. A nice cup of chamomile will relax you and get you ready for sleep—something that many of us struggle with in the winter. Difficulty sleeping is not in your head. It's because shorter, darker days play havoc with your body's melatonin production, which interferes with your sleep/wake cycle. The urge to hibernate really manifests itself with sleep—but try not to sleep in or nap too much during the day. That just makes it harder to get on a normal schedule. Ask your doctor about a melatonin (it's a natural hormone) supplement to help you sleep.
Get creative in the Kitchen
Here's a tip—now is a great time to update your kitchen. All those great ideas you had about changing things up while you were entertaining over the holidays? Get it done while it's fresh in your mind. You don't have to commit to a full remodel—simply installing a new farmhouse sink or warming drawer can make all the difference in utility and esthetics.
What better way to spend a cold weekend than developing a new culinary skill? There's more to kitchen skills than what we learn on the Great British Baking show—try your hand at making pasta, or growing an indoor herb garden. Honestly, nothing brightens up a winter stew more than fresh herbs from your windowsill. Since most produce is out of season, play around with new herbs to find new flavor combos.
And-waffles. Waffles are more than a syrup and whipped cream platform—serve cornbread waffles with chicken or chili.
Let us know your tips for winter self-care. Or contact us for more information about a new farmhouse sink.