Minnesota winters are long and cold. If you’re a Midwesterner you know very well the toll winters can take on your mind, body and soul. While I try to keep active and enjoy the outdoors and everything it has to offer during the cold, snowy months, so days are just too darn cold to go outside. Here’s my winter wellness “routine” to keep my mind, body, and soul happy and healthy. These are (mostly) daily practices that help me get through the winter months.
1. Drink a lot of water.
I know you hear this all the time, but it’s because it’s important. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can impair energy levels and mood, and lead to major reduces in memory and brain performance. In a study of young women, fluid loss of even 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration and increase the frequency of headaches. So, here’s your friendly reminder to grab a glass as water before you continue reading. Sometimes drinking just plain water can get a little boring so I try and change it up by adding citrus and herbs to may water. My favorite combo as the moment is cucumber, orange and mint!
2. Practice meditation and be present.
There are numerous benefits of meditation. When practiced continuously, meditation reduces stress, helps manage anxiety, lengthens your attention span, enhances awareness, generates kindness and improves your sleep. Best part of meditation is it can be in any form, anywhere. From a calm peaceful spot on your mat to waiting in a cue for you morning coffee. By simply taking time to practice self-awareness, mindful thought and breath, you can reduce your stress and lower your anxiety. I find this really important for me during the winter months, but I also try and do this year round.
3. Move your body everyday.
Best case scenario it’s a workout. But somedays it’s simply a walk or yoga stretches on my mat. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise increase the production of endorphins, which are known to produce positive feelings.
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4. Get in touch with nature.
This could mean simply tending to your houseplants or you could visit a greenhouse or plant nursery. According to a study published in the journal of Positive Phycology, taking time to engage in some form of connection with the natural world had an improvement on one’s happiness. The study showed that it isn’t about spending hours in the outdoors or taking long walks in nature. It’s more about being mindful and engaged with the natural world. It’s as simple of just taking notice of your houseplants or the tree outside your window each day.
5. Eat a healthy immune boosting plant-based diet.
Eat foods rich in Vitamin A like sweet potatoes and squash to keep your immune system healthy and functioning at its best. Foods rich in Vitamin C like broccoli and spinach contain powerful antioxidants and help protect your body from damaging free radicals. One of my favorite ways to incorporate a lot of these immune boosting foods is my making a veggie curry with a side of rice!
6. Diffuse germ fighting essential oils
Diffuse germ fighting essential oils like Thieves oil. I like to do this at night before I go to bed.
DIY Thieves Oil Recipe to add to a diffuser:
5 drops of clove bud essential oil
4 drops of lemon essential oil
3 drops of cinnamon essential oil
2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
2 drops of rosemary essential oil
Top it off with water and diffuse away!
Thieves essential oil is well known to reduces stress, neutralize bacteria, and help strengthen the respiratory system. Making a great essential oil blend to diffuse during the winter months.
7. Dry brush your body.
Dry brushing is great for exfoliating dry skin and unclogging pores during the winter. It also helps detoxify by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymphatic drainage. It also stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel invigorated afterwards. I like to do this just before I jump in the shower.
8. Take a relaxing bath.
Lastly, wind down your day by taking a relaxing bath every so often with epsom salts. Epsom salts help to relieve sore muscles and will help you sleep better. Just be sure to stay properly hydrated during your hot bath by drinking lots of water or tea.3