30 Self Care Ideas for Winter
There's just a certain vibe about winter that makes you want to snuggle up under your favorite blanket, turn on Netflix, and hunker down with hot coffee in your favorite Anthropologie mug. There's also something about winter that can leave you feeling a little blue sometimes, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It seems like there's really no in between. Either you've got the winter blues or you're merry and bright all throughout the cold months.
I sort of go back and forth. One day I'm content browsing Pinterest, sipping hot cocoa, watching the snow fall, writing. The next day I'm too slow and too tired to even get out of bed and slip into my fuzzy leopard-print slippers. Do you feel it too?
Finding a consistent self care routine (or revamping your usual one) in the winter months can be tricky. There are a lot of activities that just aren’t practical due to the colder temps. If you're an outdoor person, it can be especially hard to settle into a routine.
So, when you're feeling dreary and your mood matches the gray clouds outside on a blustery January day, take a look at the following ideas below to start getting your self care mojo back.
30 Self Care Rituals Your Winter Self Will Thank You For
1 | Wake up slowly.
Your bedroom is no doubt darker in the winter time, cozier, and warmer with an extra quilt on the bed.
And who wants to leave that?
If you feel your body wanting to linger a little longer than usual, just go with the flow. But I don't mean hitting "snooze" 5 times in a row. Wake up when your alarm goes off, but take a few deep, mindful breaths until you're fully awake. Then check to see how your body is feeling. Are your toes nice and warm? Wiggle them a little.
Move around. Stretch your arms up and out. Let yourself have the luxury of not jumping out of bed or checking email the second your eyes pop open. Just...be...for a few moments longer than necessary.
2 | Do some yoga.
Along the same line, once out of bed, find yourself on the mat and start with a gentle morning flow. Nothing fancy or extra bendy required. Just a little more stretching and breathing before you immerse yourself into the daily grind.
A little yoga before you start your day can help loosen up your body before you go out into the colder weather.
3 | Smile often.
Honestly, I'm a huge believer in "faking it 'til you make it."
So, if you don't automatically wake up bursting with sunshine with a giant smile on your face...than we've got something in common. I'm not what I would call a "morning person"; I'm more of a "I-tolerate-the-morning" kind of person. I do know, though, that if I put a smile on my face first thing and make myself be positive, I can help set myself up for a pretty great day. You should try it some time.
4 | Drink water.
If you're anything like me, you make a bee line straight to your Keurig after your morning pee. I love a flavored latte, but it's not always what my body needs. Often, I don't realize how dehydrated I feel in the morning until I've already downed a whole bottle of water while waiting on my morning brew. When you wake up, your body needs to be adequately replenished and water is the only thing that can do that.
Before chugging your Starbucks, get some sexy H2O down instead. If you don't like plain water that much on its own, opt for hot water instead and add some lemon and honey. You get your "cozy-wrap-your-hands-around-your-mug-soak-up-the-warmth"-ness that you normally get from coffee, plus it's actually good for you. As it turns out, there seem to be a lot of health benefits to adding lemon in your water. (And if you're suffering from a winter cold and sniffles, the honey is good for your throat.)
5 | Go for a walk.
It may be chilly outside, but if you can stand the cold, I recommend getting some fresh air when you can. Your morning checkup on email and Instagram can wait. Bundle up and go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood instead.
We tend to stay indoors way more often during the winter months—for good reason!—but it's not always so great on our mental health. Staying cooped up inside all day will only exacerbate a foul mood. Keep yourself from going stir-crazy and take in some nature.
6 | Dress for the day.
This is especially important if you work from home. I know it's tempting to want to stay comfortable and care-free, but you'd be surprised how much better you feel when you take the time to put in some effort into your daily appearance.
Whatever it takes to get you feeling more like yourself—do it. I'm not talking anything fancy. A touch of mascara, a dab of lip gloss, a smear of concealer. A hair fluff. Brush your teeth, shave your legs, paint your nails. Whatever. Just do something that makes you feel like a human person.
7 | Enjoy a long soak.
If you've got a little more time in the morning or maybe a few extra hours in the evening after a long day, take time to enjoy a loooong bath. Light some candles and put on your favorite music (not gonna lie, I'm a big Enya fan).
Grab that novel sitting on your bed-side table you've been meaning to finish and get your relaxation on. No interruptions.
No guilt for taking some much-needed "me time." Just soak up all the goodness (and bubbles) until you're pruny and relaxed.
8 | Have a legit conversation.
Ditch the texting—unless it's to make plans with a friend. Instead of using social media to keep in touch, talk to someone in person. Meet up for a coffee or lunch date with your best friend, significant other, or your mom. When you're talking to someone face-to-face, you have a much better chance of forming a deeper connection with that person.
Don't just talk about the weather or business or...horror of horrors...politics. Ew. No. Go deeper and be fully present. Be mindful of the moment you're in while you're in it.
9 | Practice daily gratitude.
If you already keep a gratitude journal, you're way ahead of me. I've wanted to start one for a long time and found the perfect opportunity when I decided to start bullet journaling. I now plan on keeping a gratitude journal log.
How do you practice gratitude?
It's not just appreciating what you have or where you are in life but also realizing why you're grateful and how you came to be where you are. It's taking the time to really be in that place of thankfulness. This is not something to rush through. This is a good place to wake up to in the morning.
Before starting your day, take a pause while you're still in bed under the covers and ask yourself: "What do I have to be grateful for today?"
That's guaranteed to bring a genuine smile to your face. (see #3 above)
10 | Take a vitamin D supplement.
In life, there are few shortcuts, but sometimes you just need a little extra somethin' somethin' here and there...a little extra "boost", a little extra help. If you find it hard to make it outdoors as often as you should during the winter, it could be beneficial for you to take a vitamin D supplement to make up for what you would normally get in the summer/warmer months. Making sure you have an adequate amount of vitamin D could also help fight off that winter depression.
However, I am not a doctor and do not give out any medical advice on this blog. Before taking anything, you should consult a medical professional. You may also want to read up on vitamin D supplement alternatives as well.
11 | Practice a hobby.
You know that one thing you keep saying you'll come back to "when you have the time"?
You're finally going to finish that painting you started 6 months ago.
You're going to perfect that lasagna recipe if it's the last thing you do.
I'm going to complete the scarf I started about a decade ago.
Yeahhhh. About that. You should get on it. No more procrastinating—for either of us. I really want to start up playing the piano again. And there’s really no better time than the present. Let's promise each other we won't wait another day, okay?
12 | Free-form journal.
I mentioned bullet journaling above, but it's not the only type of journaling there is. If you have a jumble of thoughts just begging to be put to paper, well...what are you waiting for? Jot 'em down. It doesn't matter how you write; it doesn't matter if your words spill out onto the page in messy confusion. If you can't read your own handwriting, it's fine.
And then write some more. Then take a break and make a cup of hot chocolate. And then write some more. You might be surprised what comes out. I know I always am when I free-form journal or “brain dump” as others like to call it. It helps me feel less stressed and anxious, and really helps to illuminate how I’m actually feeling about different topics. It’s become a necessity for me to do a few times a month.
13 | Organize.
Personally, I feel so much more at peace and relaxed when the spaces I occupy are clean and tidy. I get subconsciously stressed out when there's junk everywhere I look. It's intense.
I make it a habit of keeping my room free of clutter every day. Suzanne Hall had the right idea when she said "touch it once"...and then be done with it. When I keep it clean on a regular basis, it's never a hard job because there's never much to have to pick up. If you let things go for weeks at a time, however, there's a lot more to do, and the task can start to feel really overwhelming. Been there. It sucks.
Start with just one room in your house (or even just one corner or one drawer if the thought of organizing makes you a little queasy). Throw out or donate everything you haven't used in the last 6 months...everything else, find a place to keep it permanently and begin to organize. As my grandmother always says, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." She’s so smart like that.
If you find yourself staying indoors due to the colder weather, this is the perfect opportunity to get your shit together. You know I’m right.
14 | Take up a daily positive affirmation.
I recently had a conversation with my mom (who gives some of the best advice a girl could hear), and she was telling me that she decided to get up every day and tell herself that she loves her job and she's thankful for it. She said she was determined to be positive, even if she wasn't really feelin’ it in the moment. She knew that to make a change in her mindset, she had to speak it over herself daily.
What you think and speak has power over you...positive or negative. If you've been feeling like you need a change in perspective or mindset, try making a list of at least 3 positive affirmations you can say out loud (and think on periodically throughout your day) each morning. Write them down and meditate on them.
Then watch your life change.
15 | Sleep more.
You know that inclination you have to hibernate in the winter like a bear full of honey? Go with that feeling and get some more shut-eye. With Daylight Savings time in full effect, the days get shorter (and darker) faster, so it makes it easier to get to bed earlier.
Just say "no" to one more episode of Netflix or one last scroll through Instagram and hit the lights.
(Oh man, if ever there were a time to really listen to my own advice, it would be now.)
Power off the smart phone because you and your pillow need some quality time.
16 | Create a self care playlist.
TED talks, old-school 90s R&B, reruns of 7th Heaven...whatever your vice. Create a go-to playlist of your favorites that you can refer to again and again whenever you feel the winter blues start to creep in.
I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over and over (literally...I've done this), and it never fails to put me in the best mood. Or I can blast my favorite song and sing really badly in the shower, and I'm a different person in 5 minutes.
Find what works for you and go with it. You could just be one TLC song away from a great day.
17 | Maintain a healthy eating routine.
I already know what you're going to say. How do you eat healthy during the winter when cold weather and comfort foods go hand in hand? Your body may want unhealthy stuff, but during the winter, it’s even more important to eat healthy to keep from getting sick.
So shovel in some broccoli once in awhile, okay? Your body (and your skinny jeans) will thank you. It's a lot easier to feel like yourself when you're eating like a normal human being.
18 | Pamper yourself.
One of my favorite ways to practice self care is to paint my nails. Simple, yeah, but so relaxing and therapeutic. I love it. I usually do it when I'm catching up on one of my shows (hello, Housewives binge). Another favorite practice of mine is facial masks or hair masks. I like to get creative—sometimes I make my own from stuff I have in the house.
I love that self care is so unique to each person. What does pampering yourself look like to you? Does it involve a long soak in the tub followed by a foot rub? Maybe a blow-out at your favorite salon? Cooking your favorite meal?
19 | Unplug.
I enjoy social media, and during the winter when it's not as fun to get out of the house, I think it's a great way to stay connected.
But there's a time and place for everything, and the time for social media is not during the first part of the morning or right before going to bed.
I'm terrible at this. I check my email and Instagram right when I wake up, and I fall asleep doing...the exact same thing. But I'm trying to do better. Really. And I know that I'm a much happier (and well-rested) person when I set aside time to be off my phone and present in the moment.
If you're having trouble distancing yourself from "the Twitter," try designating certain times during the day to check up on email and social media. That way, you're not left feeling completely deprived but you also know it's off limits during other times of the day, like right before you go to sleep.
20 | Moisturize.
Winter is not kind on our body's biggest organ: our skin, so don't forget to moisturize! It sounds so simple and unimportant, but it can be an often forgotten step in a self care routine. Indulge in your favorite aromatherapy oil or body lotion after a shower and soak up all the goodness.
This is also a good time to give yourself a massage for ultimate relaxation.
21 | Read.
When I was younger, I was an avid reader. I would go to my local library and lug home 10 books at a time. (And I'm not talking the skinny ones, either.)
As I've gotten older, I love reading just as much, but I don't make the time to read like I should. Instead, I spend hours online or watching t.v. But I really miss reading. I don't realize just how much I miss it until I randomly pick up a book and start reading, which happens every few months. (A few months ago, I got back into reading one week after a months-long hiatus and quickly polished off about 5 books in a week!)
If you're a fellow bookworm, take time out of your busy schedule to get up close and personal with a book. It will give you a chance to rest, recharge, and de-stress your mind. Got any book recommendations? I'd love to hear them!
22 | Forgive.
Forgive others. Forgive yourself.
There's nothing worse than having bad joo-joo with somebody. I don't like conflict, but I know that it's a part of life as much as anything else, and it can creep up on you. I've learned that the best way to handle conflict is to acknowledge it, address it, and then let it go.
is there anything you're still holding onto? Is there a relationship that still needs healing, even your relationship with yourself?
Forgive others. Forgive yourself.
23 | Burn a seasonal candle.
Okay, some of my favorite scents just so happen to be associated with the wintery time of the year: apple spice, pumpkin latte, salted caramel, Christmas sugar cookie, hazelnut...the list could go on. I love candles, and I currently have about 6 different ones in my room.
My name is Bria, and I'm a candle hoarder. (Feels good to get that off my chest.)
My favorite scents always put me in a cozy mood and help me not mind the windy cold outside so much.
24 | Get comfy.
Temperatures have finally started to drop, but is your wardrobe and home keeping up with the changes? Treat yourself to that new winter coat you've been eyeing or stock up on some new blankets and cute scarves.
And yes, this is absolutely an excuse to shop.
Last year, my aunt made me a quilt for my bed that has some of my favorite colors in it. It's super modern in design and goes perfectly with my room decor. I got it back out from storage a few weeks ago when it started getting colder outside, and it's been the perfect addition to my room.
You know you need one more blanket scarf in your collection.
25 | improve your posture.
Sitting in front of a computer all day (guilty) or slumping down in bed while watching t.v. at night (guilty again) do nothing for my posture or the back and neck pain I sometimes experience. Colder temperatures can sometimes make me curl in and hunch down under the covers, seeking that extra little bit of comfort and warmth.
If you're guilty of the same, let me ask you: how is your posture now as you're reading this? I bet all of my student loan debt that you're hunched over right now, with your chin resting in your hand. Right now, sit up straight and tall and take a few deep, unhurried breaths.
26 | Spend quality time with loved ones.
Quality time is my love language. I can't tell you how many movie days I've had with my best girlfriends, days spent lounging on the sofa, eating too many chocolate chip cookies and drinking way too much coffee. I love just chilling with my best people. It's one of my favorite things to do, especially in the winter when I want nothing more than hot coffee in my mug and my favorite Christmas movie on t.v.
What is one of your favorite winter activities? Watching holiday movies all day long? Ice skating? Sipping a hot drink by the fireplace?
Spend a day just doing what you love with your favorite person.
27 | Start fresh each day.
I love the look of nature after a fresh snow. Everything is so quiet. Blanketed. Soft. Serene. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.
That's how each morning should be. Wake up from underneath the warmth of a soft blanket to the quiet stillness of an early day. There's a peacefulness in the morning, and the day is ripe with expectancy and ambition.
What's stopping you from making the day yours? Let yesterday's struggles and failures go. State your daily affirmations and carpe that diem.
28 | Create a vision board.
Take some time to reflect on everything you've accomplished in the last year or so and start planning your goals for the near future.
A good way to do this is with a vision board. My medium of choice when creating a vision board is Pinterest, because, well...it's a goldmine of creativity and inspiration. But I also love making physical vision boards too and think they make a great addition to any room’s decor, especially if you use some of your favorite colors that match your home’s interior aesthetic.
What pressing goals do you have? Do something today that your future self will be proud of.
29 | Take a break.
No matter the season of the year, it can be all too easy to get swept up and overwhelmed with everything that life throws at you. Every now and then, it’s important to take a break from all the to-do lists, and the planning, and just the day-to-day living. It's okay to take a break and learn to rest.
You're only one person. You can't do it all.
And that's perfectly okay.
30 | Embrace the season.
Just because the weather is changing it doesn't mean your commitment to daily self care has to suffer. When it seems like the winter months drag on, and the weather makes you more gloomy than usual, that's when you have to get a little more creative with how you practice your routine of self care.
The change in season is actually a really good thing! It helps keep things fresh and new and offers you a chance to revamp your daily rituals and try something different. Self care is something to find joy and contentment in, and it doesn't need to be complicated.
During the winter, add seasonal activities to your self care routine to keep things interesting. Just to give you a few ideas, this could include:
ice skating with friends
decorating for the holidays
baking your favorite holiday foods
investing in an updated winter wardrobe
or going on a winter vacation.
The best kind of self care routine is one that comes about naturally and helps you embrace whatever season you’re in. And just remember, you're worthy of having every good thing.
You deserve it.
What are some of your favorite self care ideas to practice during the winter? I'd love to add more to my routine, too. :)