Happy Winter! Who’s excited?! Who’s rolling their eyes?!
Yeah I know what your thinking, bloody winter is here again! The winter months suck and you’ve got the impending winter blues!
Right now it’s November here in the UK and we are in the middle of lockdown 2.0. If you’re reading this 10 years from now, hey remember when a global pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill?!
Anyways I’ve not come here to talk about the pandemic, I’m here to talk about the winter blues and how to tackle them. With my very easy self care tips you’ll be all set for the winter months.
But first story time…
The truth is I hate winter and my mental health is always at it’s worst around Christmas. The winter months have well and truly kicked my ass in years gone by. At the beginning of December last year I was crying down the phone to my mum because I was so depressed and anxious. Why am I telling you this you ask? Don’t worry I’m not here to bum you out. This blog post is going to get more positive I promise.
The reason I tell you this is because I often find reading these self care tips articles that the reader makes it sound so easy and I question if they really understand the struggles I’m going through. I want you to know that I struggle with the winter blues myself and that whilst I’m sharing these winter self care tips I understand that the winter months can make you feel absolutely shit.
These winter self care tips aren’t going to be over complicated ‘you must meditate and exercise for 1 whole hour every single day’ kind of impossible tasks. Although if you can exercise and meditate for 1 whole hour every single day then do it. It will make you feel great. I don’t know for sure though because I’ve never done it.
My winter self care tips are super simple, easy, achievable tasks that will help you combat the winter blues.
Here is winter self care tip number 1:
What I mean by get outside is stand outside your house/flat/mansion/boat and breathe in some fresh air!
I remember once when I told someone that I was struggling with my depression and in her well meaning wisdom she said “just go for a walk”. I honestly wanted to bang my head against a wall. How can I go for a walk when I’m struggling to get out of bed every day??!
So I’m boycotting going for a walk because whilst walking is super good for you I know it’s not always manageable and I don’t want you feeling bad about yourself when you’re not able to go for a walk like I did.
All I’m suggesting is step outside your front door and take 5 deep breaths of fresh air. I can guarantee you’ll feel a million times better!
Winter self care tip number 2:
Invest in some cosy warm snuggly jumpers and pyjamas!
For a lot of people heating bills cause a boat load of anxiety during the winter months and if this is you I’m here to tell you that you’re in safe hands. I get it. In my house we went 2 winters without heating when I was at university because our boiler broke and me and my single mum couldn’t afford to get it fixed.
This is why I’m a big believer in investing in cosy, fleecy, soft jumpers and pyjamas. They will keep you warm, snuggly and give you all the feel goods whilst saving you from heating bill stress.
My favourite places to get my cosy clothes from are Sainsburys, Primark and Shein. All super cheap and cheerful and made with maximum snuggly material. Also Shein does an amazing Plus Size range for all my fellow curvy girls reading.
Winter self care tip number 3:
Talk to others!
Once again I get it, talking to others when you’re deep in the winter blues is the last thing you want to do but let me tell you it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
If you can’t face a group of friends or all the family narrow it down to 1 friend or family member. If you hate calling and video chat talk to that friend or family member over text.
When I’m feeling my most depressed I try to push myself to talk to just 1 friend over text. I don’t have to tell them how I’m feeling although when I do it does help massively. If you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling that’s ok, talk about them, talk about travel (that always makes me feel better, no surprise there), even talk about the weather. As a Brit I can formally vouch that the weather is the easiest small talk subject there is! The weather is always changing so there’s always something new and pointless to say about it. If you’re reading this and you’re not British I strongly urge you to channel you’re inner Brit and talk about the weather if you don’t want to talk about your feelings!
Loneliness effects people more in the winter so it is so important to stay connected with others be it in person or virtually. I know being connected virtually can often get a bad rep but for those who don’t have their loved ones on their doorstep having the opportunity to talk to friends and family online can be such a lifeline. During lockdown I’ve smiled the most when I’ve been talking to friends over text, calls, video chat ect.
Winter self care tip number 4:
Take Vitamin D supplements!
During the winter months there is significantly less sunlight which means we are missing out on a boat load of valuable feel good Vitamin D. I absolutely recommend taking Vitamin D supplements and if like me you struggle to get your 5 a day of fruit and veg in I would highly recommend taking a multivitamin tablet each day as well.
Vitamins don’t have to be expensive. Don’t let these fancy health shops take you for a ride. I buy the supermarket home brand vitamins for a couple of pounds a tub. It’s the same product just in less fancy packaging and without the pretty health shop bag to come away with.
Winter self care tip number 5:
Make a hot drink!
‘Oh I do love a good cuppa tea!’. Imagine me saying that in my thick Northern English accent and try not to laugh.
It’s true though. A good cup of tea solves everything. Or if you’re working from home and are piled under a mountain of paperwork opt for coffee to get you going and warm you up. Hate tea and coffee? I got you. Warm blackcurrant juice works. Heck, I used to drink warm diet coke when I was hungover. It used to sort me right out after a night of partying in my early 20s.
Now at the age of 32 my favourite hot drinks come from Costa. They have pink hot chocolate and all kinds of seasonal drinks available. I mean we have Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day all in winter so there’s no end to the tasty seasonal drinks. I love taking myself to Costa for a coffee or hot chocolate. I feel like I’m treating myself which further boosts the feel good vibes.
There’s something about a hot drink which makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t know why it just does. If you’re a medical professional or a psychologist reading this please explain the science/psychology behind it in the comments, it would be interesting to find out.
Winter self care tip number 6:
Be kind to yourself!
I saved the most important one till last and I did it because this is the one I’m going to talk about the most. You have to be kind to yourself!
Yes I know it’s so easy to get disheartened when you see the superwomen and supermen on Instagram proclaiming to do it all whilst remaining super happy and having perfect makeup all day. I’ve been there I’ve felt it. We have to stop comparing ourselves. We have to stop believing that we should be doing something just because everyone else seems to be doing it.
Story Time again…
I saw everyone meditating as part of their morning routine on Instagram stories and I thought I should be doing it. Thing is though every time I tried to meditate in the morning I’d fall asleep. I talked to my therapist and she told me that I’ve got to stay true to my authentic self and if it’s not right for me I don’t have to do it. Truth be told my true authentic self doesn’t wake up until 2 coffees, fresh air and 3 hours in to the morning which is probably why I was falling asleep whilst meditating first thing in the morning.
I’m not saying meditation isn’t important because it is. However my preferred spot for meditation is on a beach or in the middle of the countryside somewhere. Just because I don’t see loads of people on social media meditating on a beach doesn’t make it any less valid.
I know I went off on a tangent but if I’m struggling with being kind to myself and comparing myself to others I’m pretty sure you as my readers will be too.
You are special, unique, authentic and have gifts that no one else has but you! Don’t let the winter blues beat that out of you.
So these are my winter self care tips, what are yours?
Leave me a comment or message me on Instagram. I’d love to know what you lovely readers do to beat the winter blues and survive the winter months.
Sending love to you all this winter