As the season has shifted and the darker days and nights are starting to draw in, this is the perfect time to look after your mental and physical health. The winter months are approaching and the winter blues can set in. During this time of year, our self-care and well-being can take a hit due to the end of daylight savings, the weather becomes grey and tinsel has already started appearing in the shops.
With Stress Awareness Week approaching (30 October – 3 November), it’s a good idea to keep an eye on our mental health now that the shorter days and colder months are approaching.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is something that affects many people this time of year leading to low mood, and difficult times due to less daylight. Seasonal depression can take a toll on our emotional health.
There are many positive things you can do to help yourself; spend time in the fresh air even if you many not want to, have a warm bath, avoiding junk food and adopt a healthy diet.
Check out these self-care tips for eco-friendly ways you can look after yourself. Self care is so important so look at which self-care routine tips you could adopt to help with the dark days and cold weather.
A hot drink
This is such a British thing, when we’ve got troubles, we ‘put the kettle on’, it’s a great form of self-care and there’s nothing better than a warm drink. I’m a huge tea drinker and have swapped to loose tea leaves. Some teabags contain micro plastics which could swim around in your cuppa so I’ve ditched the tea bags. If tea isn’t your thing, try Pumpkin Spice Latte or a refreshing Mocha. Give your tastebuds a little head start.
Self-care with candles
When I’m having a soak in a hot bath, I light some candles. Why? Because it’s a fabulous way to unwind and wash away the day. Candles come in all shapes, sizes and scents. I find they’re a great way to get rid of any negative emotions and really relax. If you fancy it, you could even add a bath bomb. I don’t tend to worry if my fingers end up looking like prunes, the goal is to relax and make myself feel better. You could read a book in the bath or listen to some music. I personally prefer to daydream.
A wheat Bag
This is a great way to unwind if having a bath isn’t your thing and these are extra special because they are something you can reuse over and over again. Many are scented with Lavender and other soothing essential oils which can be perfect to help you relax, unwind at watch a good movie at the same time. It can make you feel really cozy.
Time to de-clutter
Having a lot of clutter around you can really affect your mental health. Take some time to start decluttering areas around you that may be bugging you. You don’t have to do it all in one go, do a bit at a time. Look at things you no longer need or use; I’m sure there’s things you can donate to charity or regift to close friends.
Self-care with a sleep mask
Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to everything. Because without a good night’s sleep, it is difficult to function properly. A good sleep mask will block out all light and help you fall asleep. I use one myself and I wouldn’t be without it.
Disconnect from Social Media for a bit
Don’t get so caught up on what others are doing. Remember, people only put the best of themselves on social media, people don’t tend to post the bad side of their lives. You’re only seeing a small snapshot of what’s going on with them and some of what you see is probably artificial. It’s OK to turn your phone off.
Dopamine can be your friend
Lack of dopamine can negatively affect your mood, motivation and focus. Do something you’ve never done before; there’s probably a large hill near you, climb it and enjoy the view. Music is a great way to elevate your mood; put your headphones on and dance around the living room like no one is watching.
Move your body, get some exercise, you don’t even have to go to a class, I bet you’ll find something on YouTube. Now this is a bit extreme for me but a friend of mine has a little lake near her and she goes for a swim. She’s a really strong swimmer and she finds it helps her mood (make sure you don’t go alone and stay safe at all times!)
There are a wide range of essentials oils that help with relaxing, general wellbeing and can have restorative benefits. Check out this post I found with some great information on how essential oils can help your overall health.
This may not be everyone’s bag but writing down how you’re feeling can be quite freeing. I’ve found that once something is out of my head, I think about it less. This is an incredibly personal thing so don’t be too scared to write down everything you think about; the good, the bad and the ugly. Get it out of your head. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK.
Learn something new
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but never found the time? Could be something you may not ever use again… Learn the piano, juggle, learn a new language, twirl a pen with your fingers, memorise all 50 US states (don’t forget Hawaii and Alaska, I always forget those!), whistle with your fingers, play poker, learn the monarch song (I learned this!), line-dancing, balancing act with a fork and a toothpick, how to burp on command. You see where I’m going with this. There are so many things you could learn, do something for yourself and it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else.
The beauty of sleep
A big one to include in your self-care plan. Sleep. Without sleep, we struggle to function. Dark mornings and dark nights can affect our daily routines. Make sure you get a good night sleep and keep your body clock ticking over.
Self care looks different for everyone, there’s nothing selfish about it and the best thing is to find new ways to look after yourself. These self-care practices will go a long way with positive health benefits.