As winter wraps us in its cold embrace and daylight becomes a rare commodity, prioritizing self-care during the hibernation season is critical. Below are five easy solutions I incorporate into my days that help keep me healthy throughout the harsh winter months.
Nourish Your Body with Winter Comforts
This time of year welcomes hearty comfort food recipes. A great way to embrace the cold outside temperatures is by indulging in warm soups and stews, loaded with seasonal vegetables. Use this time to nourish your body with wholesome meals that not only keep you warm but also provide essential nutrients to combat the winter blues. I love finding creative ways to use all the root vegetables harvested from our summer garden. This recipe is one I come back to over and over again during the winter months.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Winter air tends to be dry, and the lack of sunlight can leave you feeling sluggish. Combat these effects by staying well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, and hot broths to keep your body hydrated from the inside out. A rule of thumb I like to follow is 1 oz of water/pound of body weight. It's a simple yet effective way to maintain your energy levels and support your overall well-being.
Get In Your Steps
While the temptation to lie dormant indoors is strong, making an effort to get some fresh air and natural light is well worth the effort. A personal goal I set for myself is 10,000 steps a day. I notice such a difference when taking the time to layer up, and walk our dog Jango around the neighborhood lake. It's not only a positive action for my physical and mental health, but also for our beloved four-legged family member.
As the days get shorter, create a cozy hibernation haven at home. Establish a mindfulness routine, whether it's through meditation, reading, or simply enjoying a cup of tea (or snack) when turning in for the night. Taking time for self-reflection and relaxation indoors can be a powerful way to navigate the winter season with a sense of tranquility.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
With longer nights, why not make the most of them? Create a sleep sanctuary by investing in cozy blankets and pillows. Establish a consistent sleep routine to ensure you get enough rest each night. Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining overall health and resilience during the winter months, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
While winter's shorter days may tempt us into dormancy, it's essential to balance the cozy indoors with mindful outdoor excursions and self-care practices. When nourishing the body with seasonal delights, staying hydrated, embracing both the indoors and outdoors, cultivating mindfulness, and prioritizing quality sleep, you can navigate the dark days with grace and emerge into spring rejuvenated and ready for full-blown summer activities.
Heather Kelly is the founder and CEO of Heather’s Choice. She was an NCAA National Champion and CRCA/Pocock All-American in women’s rowing, and hold a degree in evolutionary nutrition. Heather is also a certified eating psychology coach and has coached hundreds of athletes on developing a nutrition plan for optional performance and a healthy, satisfying relationship with food.
Heather lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her boyfriend and business partner Brad, along with their dog Jango. You can likely find her playing with food, building her urban homestead, or rafting rivers in her spare time.