Wellness Rituals That'll Make You Forget The Winter Blues
We were recently on the phone with our bestie, who told us she had a strong case of the winter blues. She’s a sun lover like us, who lives for summer nights with the gals, weekend Euro trips, and days spent by the water. However, with winter well and truly on the way, the bitter London temperatures, and shorter days, she asked for our list of tried-and-tested self-care tips. We told her we’d think about it and finally got around to sending her an eight-minute-long voice note with all our tips and tricks backed by studies and science. About a second later, we knew we had to share this list with you guys too…
Are the Winter Blues Real?
Let’s set the record straight: winter blues are real. Among doctors, it’s commonly (and appropriately) referred to as seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It’s a type of depression correlated with seasonal change. Many doctors attribute SAD to high levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone) as #FunFact: melatonin is produced in the dark. Longer nights and less natural sunlight cause these levels to spike, making you feel more tired than usual and giving you a greater desire to retreat. It can take the form of a low mood, fatigue, lack of motivation, increased anxiousness, or low self-esteem.
This is why it’s so important during these months to practice self-care and find ways to boost your serotonin levels (the happy hormone). The good news is we have tons of suggestions…
1. Get Out During Sunlight Hours
Since SAD is heavily linked to a lack of sunlight, it’s super important to make the most of what you’ve got. Studies show that approx. thirty minutes to an hour of natural light in the morning can boost serotonin levels, improving your mood and reducing stress levels. Plus, it’s been shown to strengthen your immune system and improve your sleep quality. You can’t argue with science!
We realize stepping outside into the cold may not sound appealing, but it’s SO worthwhile. Even sitting inside in direct sunlight has been proven to benefit your mood. That said, try making getting out and about part of your daily routine. Use the time to do something else you enjoy, like listening to a podcast. We’ve recently been listening to High Low with Emrata and Archetypes with Meghan, and we couldn’t recommend them enough. Failing that, make it a social activity and schedule a daily walk with your bestie, roomie, work wife, or furry friend.
2. Get Off Your Devices and Daydream!
If you take a look around RN, we bet you’ll see at least two digital devices. We mean, just to be reading this, you’ll have one in your hand. The reality is we’re sooo dependent on our devices – losing your phone can literally f*ck up everything! However, it’s really important to take a step back – especially if you’re feeling a little low – and just be, or better yet, daydream. While most of us might think daydreaming is a waste of time, it actually has soooo many proven benefits. You didn’t think we’d come without receipts, did you? Studies have shown that it can increase anxiety and stress while boosting creativity and improving your problem-solving skills, like how to slot that summer feeling into your winter routine. More on that later…
3. Invest In Supplements
Supplements have been slipping their way into the beauty sphere for years, and we’re total converts. Especially when they come in the form of a delicious, sweet gummy… Umm hello? Guilt-free candy, anyone? Well, during the winter months, they up the ante.
Wanna know our current supplement recommendations? First up, we take a vitamin D supplement daily to counteract the lack of sunlight, like the Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies, $17. We’ve also been taking the HUM Nutrition Moody Bird, $26, to stabilize our period pains, and Private Party, $26, to support vaginal health and keep unwanted UTI drama away. Finally, we snack on the HUM Nutrition Glow Sweet Glow, $26, to keep our glow game in check as our summer tan fades into the abyss.
4. Create Healthy Sleep Habits
@worldeconomicforum Experts say healthy sleep habits can lower your risk of serious health problems. Learn more by tapping the link in our bio #sleep #health #wellbeing ♬ original sound – World Economic Forum
The world is finally waking up to the importance of sleep and if you’re still hitting snooze on the topic, let us reset the alarm. It’s the corner to good physical and mental health. However, it’s a tricky one in the winter since cozying up all day and sleeping more can feel like a great plan, but the reality is it can mess with your mental health. So instead, focus on getting 8 hours of quality sleep rather than extra hours. The easiest way to do this is by establishing healthy sleep habits to guarantee your bedtime and morning alarm rings consistently. Need tips? Check out these experts’ hacks for developing healthy sleep habits.
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5. Self-Care To The Max
@jackieaina how I protect my peace daily ☮️ #selflovery #mindfulnesstechniques #selfhelptiktok ♬ Take Me to Pluto – idonthateyou
PSA: self-care is essential – it’s not self-indulgent. In fact, it’s fundamental to your mental health. RN, we’re passing the mic over to self-care queen: Jackie Aina. In her bio, Jackie confirms, “Self-care isn’t selfish” – a girl after our own heart! To guarantee we hit our self-care quota each day, we slot in two to three self-care moments in our calendar, from positive affirmations and an indulgent skin routine to pick-me-ups like spritzing your fave mood-boosting perfume. If you struggle, set a reminder on your phone – make some time for YOU!
6. Get into Meditation
@ayla.eulalia love starting into the day like this🌿💛 #meditation #stayhome #achtsamkeit #mindfulness #mindfulmorning #foryou #fy #berlin #mentalhealth ♬ The Journey – Sol Rising
There’s literally no better time to start meditating every day than right now! Studies have shown that meditation reduces anxiety and helps you to de-stress. A recent study even revealed that it increases your attention span so that you’re more productive throughout the day. So, set up a cozy spot in your house and make it a part of your daily routine. If you need some guidance, don’t worry, meditation guidance has never been more accessible than it is now, thanks to tons of free apps. Our go-to meditation apps are Headspace and Calm.
7. Use Sex as Self Care
We won’t beat around the bush on this one: pleasure is self-care. Whether you’re doing it with your partner or riding solo, studies have shown that it’s a major YES for your mental and physical health. All we’re sayin’ is: use the cooler temperatures as an incentive to get sweaty between the sheets. For more advice, check out three ways to prioritize your sexual health – it’s a worthwhile read, trust us! And if you still don’t believe us, just look at what orgasms can do for your skin!
8. Convert your Fave Summer Activities with Winter Vibes
@janevas Дали ќе одите во Маврово оваа зима? #зима2020 #tiktokmacedonia #winterpicnic #forupage ♬ Aesthetic – Xilo
Ok, so this one was inspired by our BFFL. She was talking about missing all of her fave summer activities. Our response? Why not do them anyway? Get creative and think of ways to convert them into cozy winter activities, like a cute winter picnic with candles, fairy lights, and hot chocolate. Or, find a local swimming pool with a jacuzzi and bring your friends. We realize it may not have the same allure, but it’ll give you a lil’ slice of summer fun.
For more wellness tips, check out TikTok’s go-to wellness hacks.