6 Free Self-Care Rituals to Get You Through a Long Winter


We're getting deeper into winter and further into the new year. Was taking better care of yourself one of your New Year's resolutions? While the snow is falling outside and you're wrapped up in a blanket inside, why not get in some self-care for $0? Here are six healthy routines that'll get you through a long winter season. (See also: 14 Smartphone Apps That Make Self-Care a Snap)

1. Embrace the winter harvest

One of the best things about spring and summer is that the farmers markets come back to life with the fresh fruits and vegetables we love and crave. But don't let the winter blues hit your dinner plate. There is much to celebrate about the winter harvest, namely the incredible number of root vegetables that are satisfying, nutritious, and comforting. And they take almost no time to prep. One of my very favorite ways to put more color into my winter cooking is to chop up winter veggies that have been taking up space in my fridge or on the counter — carrots, beets, potatoes, etc. — coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then pop them into a 400-degree oven for 30-45 minutes. You can also roast and mash them, or puree them into a soup. (See also: 20 Cheap and Easy Soup Recipes)

2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Dry winter air saps the moisture from your body. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. And for your skin, feel free to use up those body lotions, body creams, and hydrating hair masks you have to treat yourself to as many at-home spa days as you want. Also, crank up the humidifer to counteract the drying effects of your heater in your home. (See also: 9 DIY Beauty Masks Made From Food)

3. Meditate and reflect

With cold winter weather, take the time to meditate, relax, and reflect in the comfort of your home. Turn on some relaxing music, close your eyes, and take a few moments every day to focus on your breath, check in with your mind and body, and think about the goodness in your life and the goodness you want to manifest. Winter is an excellent time for planning brighter, sunnier days that will be here soon, so take advantage of this down time to nourish yourself without spending a dime. (See also: 6 Meditation Alternatives for People With Busy Minds)

4. Surround yourself with inspiring reads and tunes

The winter is a perfect time to get inspired and share that inspiration with others. You finally have the time to read that book or magazine that's been on your bookshelf forever, and to tell others about them. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, make sure your reading material during these darker days is uplifting to combat the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Do the same with the music or podcasts in your queue. (See also: 6 Podcasts for Travel Lovers)

5. Seek refuge in art

If you're going to be inside, there are few places better to be than in a museum. Surrounding yourself with beautiful images may even inspire you to create some art of your own, and that act of creation is guaranteed to boost your energy and sense of accomplishment. Going to a museum also gives you a chance to be surrounded by other art enthusiasts, and breaks that sense of isolation that you may feel during these chilly months. Many museums offer free entry, as well as free or discounted events and workshops during the winter months. (See also: How to Visit Museums for Free)

6. Snooze

Do you find that this winter weather makes you feel a little sleepier than you are at other times of the year? Don't fight it. Listen to your body. Give your body and mind the rest it's asking you to take. It's completely natural for us to want more sleep with the fewer hours of daylight. Nature settles in for a long winter's nap during these months, and we should feel free and empowered to follow that lead. (See also: Get Better Sleep With These 5 Great Sleep-Tracking Apps)

Winter can leave us wishing for warmer days. Rest assured, those days will be here soon enough. Winter is the perfect time for restoring ourselves phsyically, mentally, and emotionally so that when spring arrives, we will be ready to meet it with a fresh face and a fresh perspective.

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