Respond to the invitation of winter
Winter is a very special time. We can settle in and pull into ourselves–and the weather around us supports this. Winter is a time when the whole family can belong to themselves and each other. Winter is a time when breaks for warm, spiced cider, hot chocolate, or popcorn seem like necessities. Nature invites us to pull “into,” whether it is into ourselves or into each other. The schedule may seem the same, and yet there is an open invitation to allow “longer quiet stretches.” We feel so much better when we allow ourselves to respond to the invitation of winter.
From Anne Wilson Schaef’s Meditations for Living in Balance
How do you respond to the invitation of winter? At Frontline Wellness & Psychological Services, we nurture our mental health and embrace all things cozy.
Let’s start with our winter mental-wellness tips:
- Utilize a natural sunrise simulator alarm clock. Gentle and gradual awakenings, anyone?
- Exercise! Too cold outside for a workout? Peruse our Dorm/Bedroom Fitness Pinterest board for indoor fitness ideas.
- Listen to uplifting music. Try a YouTube uplifting music mix or check out Ryan Farish’s tunes, “Pacific Wind” or “Open Sky.”
- Be the light. A Japanese proverb says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.” This winter, consider sending a weekly “just because” text to a friend or family member, volunteering on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, or preparing Valentine’s for residents of local nursing homes.
- Bathe in aroma. During your bath or shower, use peppermint, orange, rosemary, lemon or peppermint oils or scrubs. This is an affordable and powerful way to clear the mind and refresh!
- Sleep! It’s normal to feel sleepier this time of the year. So, take a 25-30 minute nap. You might also consider going to bed 10-20 minutes earlier to make up for the changes in your circadian rhythm.
- Nourish: Sideline the junk food and indulge in citrus delights such as clementines, grapefruits, mandarins, oranges, lemons, and limes! If you must satisfy a sweet tooth, check out these dark chocolate covered clementines with sea salt.
- Embrace the hygge! Read on to learn more…
If lack of sunlight is the culprit for your winter blues, set an appointment with your provider or mental health professional to discuss seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression related to the change in seasons. Symptoms often begin in the fall and remit after winter. If you’re affected by SAD, ask your provider about light box therapy.
Important note: A small amount of the “winter blues” is normal. However, if your feelings become overwhelming, affect your functioning, cause physical symptoms and/or last for a long period of time (e.g., two weeks or more), it warrants evaluation from a professional. For more information on depression symptoms, treatment, and how/when to get help, review the NIMH manual.
- If you want to harm yourself, call 911 (in the United States).
- For 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
At Frontline Psychological Services & Wellness, we also respond to winter by indulging in a hygge lifestyle.
In 2016, The New Yorker published, “The Year of the Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy.” Hygge, says Anna Altman, is a “quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Hygge is associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude. Not surprisingly, winter is the most hygge time of year. “It is candles, nubby woolens, shearling slippers, woven textiles, pastries, blond wood, sheepskin rugs, lattes with milk-foam hearts, and a warm fireplace.”
Here’s our recommendations for hygge attire and indulgences:
- Start with your feet. We love Pudus and Walmart’s Aniwon Cozy Slipper socks.
- Warm up the legs. We like fleece-lined anything. Our favorite options are Walmart’s fleece lined leggings, L.L. Bean’s Hottotties leggings, or Target’s fleece lined sweatpants for men.
- Mind your arms, hands and torso. We use fingerless arm warmers (thanks, Etsy!) because they slip on easily. For the torso, we layer with multiple tops to adjust for temperature changes. Importantly, we avoid the “itchy wool” feeling by first layering with cotton or lycra.
- Don’t forget your head! Fleece caps with ear covers, beanies or fleece ear warmers complete your hygge attire.
- Get toasty with a heating pad. Each evening, we use one to warm the bed. Check with your health care provider to see if a heating pad is a safe option.
- Try microwaveable heated fingerless and thumbless warming mittens or Hothands insole footwarmers
- Check out the Toasty Toes Heated Footrest
- Sip warm beverages. Oh the delight of a cuppa’ on a cold winter’s night! We indulge in Tazo’s Berry Trifle and Good Earth’s Sweet and Spicy. For more beverage ideas, check out this list of ten non-alcoholic drinks for the winter months.
- Add a blanket or two. Affordable options exist at Walgreen’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Costco. Once again, we like fleece but for particularly cold climates, wool is a must.
To your warmth and wellness.
“In winter, the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity…”John Burroughs
#wellness #health #winter #hygge #selfcare