Cold-Weather Self Care Tips
The time has come (at least where I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania) to start bundling up, staying inside more, eating comfort foods and thinking about the holidays. I love the holiday season, but the cold weather comes with it's own set of challenges. The NIMH estimates that around 10 million Americans suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of seasonal depression, caused by a lack of sunlight, restricted access to seasonally available fresh fruits and veggies,and a decrease in physical activity. Though SAD is seasonal, it is just as real as year-round clinical depression. SAD can cause weight gain, changes in energy levels, insomnia, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Though SAD is a common problem, and a lot of people deal with it, especially in colder climates, there's a few easy tricks to help ease the chilly pain this year!
Get Some Sun!
Yes, I know it's cold outside. One of the reasons people struggle in the winter is a lack of serotonin due to a lack of sunshine! Try for 10 to 15, very bundles up minutes outside each day, getting some sunshine on your face will make you feel better! Plus, fresh air never hurt anybody. You might also want to pick up a high-quality Vitamin D supplement from a natural pharmacy, to help make up for decreased sun time!
Eat More Citrus!
Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is a powerful immune booster- helpful when winter colds come around. Citrus fruits also conjure up feelings of happy,sunny days and can help brighten a tough, chilly winter day. Try making tea with grapefruit, orange or lemon.
Scent plays a big part in our environment, how stressful we perceive a situation to be and in many cases, how energetic, calm or sleepy we are. Aromatherapy has been used for years to combat depression, so it's no surprise that it's and excellent tool in the SAD arsenal. There's a few different ways to do this- you can diffuse essential oils, burn candles, find handmade soap or bubble bath. I think diffusing oils is the easiest way, though I LOVE a lavender bubble bath in the winter. Look for oils with a bright smell, citrus does well for this, as well as bergamot (my fave), spruce, blue holly, and eucalyptus. Play around with different scents and see what works best for you! If you have pets in your home, double check scents are safe for them.
It's more important than any other time to get moving in the winter. Our bodies are naturally more sedentary, and it's difficult to muster organic motivation to exercise. In the winter, we need to be more proactive about movement. Try to get 3 to 5 workouts in per week. It can be gym classes, solo home videos,anything! If you don't have gym access and the outside is too cold, search google for body weight HIIT workouts to do at home.
Take Care of Your Skin
It's very easy to get dry skin in the winter, leaving us itchy, restless and uncomfortable.Get ahead of the problem his year with a regular exfoliation and moisturizing routine. Look for an in-shower or after shower moisturizer that you'll regularly use. I love coconut oil for this, it doesn't leave your skin too oily and smells nice and tropical, which helps avoid the winter blues.
Once a week, try this exfoliating leg scrub! Just scrub your legs with it, rinse and shave it off. I like to do 2 rounds and then just slather on more of the coconut oil. Enjoy!
Coconut-Citrus Leg Scrub
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Coarse Sugar
1 Lemon,lime,orange or grapefruit - juiced
Essential Oil (optional)
The combination is customizable! I love Grapefruit juice and bergamot oil, lemon juice and tea tree oil, and lime juice with peppermint oil. The steam from the shower creates a DIY aromatherapy spa, and you don't even have to leave your house!
Winter doesn't have to be sad and terrible, just get ahead of the blues this year and take care of yourself!