Self-care is important all-year round, but it’s essential during the cold, dark winter months. Therefore, winter self-care should be a priority.
Making sure we take care of our mental, emotional, and physical well-being keeps our mindset in a balanced place, helps us deal with everyday stress, and encourages our mood to lift when we’re feeling low.
When we’re feeling low, it’s hard to think of ways to practise self-care and find the motivation to do it.
In this post, you’ll find 100 winter self-care ideas to keep you inspired and content.
Why is self-care in winter so important?
It the winter, the darker days and colder weather has a tendency to make us feel lower than usual, which is why sticking to a self-care routine and taking time for ourselves is so crucial.
Health professionals believe that the shorter daylight hours mean we produce higher melatonin, which can leave us feeling lethargic and low.
The lower levels of vitamin D, which the sun is a huge source of, can also lead to feeling low.
Plus, a lot of people simply don’t like the colder weather many experience during this time of year.
All considered, it’s important to take special care of your own well-being in the winter.
10 essential winter self-care ideas
Some essential self-care for winter includes maintaining a routine that takes care of our basic needs as human beings.
The following winter self-care ideas are the non-negotiables that you need to make sure you keep up with if possible.
#1. Take your vitamins
The lack of sunlight during winter can mean we’re not getting enough vitamin D during the colder, darker months.
This may lead to feeling low, unmotivated, and sluggish, which is how many people end up dealing from the ‘winter blues‘.
Therefore, I recommend doing some research into vitamins you might need to take during these months.
#2. Get outside
Another source of vitamin D is – of course – the sun itself.
Even though the weather outside is frightful, getting out once a day and taking a walk or just soaking up nature can help boost your mood.
If you’re unable to get outside regularly for any reason, a light therapy lamp is designed to mimic the sun’s rays (minus the damaging UV rays).
Light therapy lamps are pretty affordable these days. Check these ones out on Amazon:
Budget-Friendly light therapy lamp
Mid-Range light therapy lamp
High-End light Therapy Lamp
#3. Move your body
I shy away from saying ‘exercise’ because I know that, for a lot of people, the word holds negative connotations. It can feel like a chore and something we simply to do be healthy, rather than enjoy. However, finding ways to move our body that we genuinely like and can stay consistent with is a huge act of self-care.
Whether you enjoy yoga, running, walking, or dancing around in your living room to music, moving our body for a little while once a day – especially in a way you don’t dread – will do wonders for your mindset.
#4. Nourish your body
Eating nourishing food that makes us feel good is one of the most basic acts of self-care you can practise.
Winter is a lovely time to eat roasted root veg, soups, and other warm, hearty dishes that make us feel satisfied, full, and happy.
Pro tip: invest in a slow cooker or crockpot (like this one on Amazon) so that you can batch-cook and freeze tons of hearty food for those rainy evenings when you don’t feel like cooking.
The dark, cold days make it easier to isolate yourself from friends and family and basically hibernate.
While this sounds like a dream for us introverts, human beings are social creatures, and it is important to maintain some form of communication with those who are close to us.
Give a loved one a call and let them know how you’re feeling; ask how they’re doing; and perhaps make plans to get a warm cup of coffee one afternoon.
Communication also means talking to your therapist or seeing one if you’re struggling and this is available and accessible to you.
#6. Get enough sleep
Sleep is so important for our overall well-being. However, the short daylight hours can throw our usual routine out of whack. This can result in us not going to bed or waking up at our usual time, or not getting enough sleep.
If you occasionally need to take a nap, don’t fight it. If you’re able to (and safe to), have a nap; listen to your bod and snuggle down under a blanket to catch some Zs.
#7. Drink enough water
The average adults needs to drink an estimated eight glasses – or two litres – of water a day.
In the winter, we tend to forget hydration as we don’t feel like we’re sweating as much as we do during the hotter, summer months. However, we still sweat under all those layers and it’s just as important to stay hydrated.
What’s more, central heating and wind chill can result in our skin drying out, which means we need to drink water to help combat dry skin.
#8. Stay warm
Being cold isn’t pleasant. It can impact our overall well-being and even be really dangerous. Therefore, staying warm is imperative during the winter months.
Make sure to buy mountains of blankets, warm clothes, fluffy socks, and hot chocolate leading up the winter.
#9. Take warm baths and/or showers
Taking warm baths and showers in the winter not only keep you warm and toasty, they get you clean!
Maintaining personal hygiene is basic self-care and shouldn’t stop just because you don’t feel as clammy anymore because it’s cold.
I know from personal experience that even washing your hair can feel like a mammoth task when you’re feeling really low, but I promise it’ll make you feel better, even if it’s only a little.
Treat your bath and shower time like a pamper session. It doesn’t have to take ages and you don’t have to use tons of water; just using your favourite-smelling products can be enough to give you a little boost.
#10. Take your medication
When our routines are knocked out of rhythm, we can forget to perform our little daily tasks. Unfortunately, forgetting some simple tasks, such as taking prescribed medication, can be really bad.
Make sure to set alarms and reminders to ensure you’re taking medication that you’re supposed to be taking whenever you need to take it.
20 effective self-care ideas and tips for the colder months
These winter self-care ideas aren’t as important as basic self-care, but they’ll seriously help improve your mindset and mood during the winter months.
Journaling can be amazing for your mindset, whether you journal intentionally or free-write.
It helps you unload and unpack emotions and events, as well as practise gratitude and set goals.
I recommend journaling all year-round. However, if you’re really struggling in winter, you should definitely start then.
Some winter-related journal prompts you might want to use to get started are:
- How do I feel about the days being colder and darker. Where might this feel come from?
- How did I feel about winter as a child?
- What are five things I enjoy about winter? How can I make sure I enjoy winter to its fullest this year?
- What’s one goal I have this winter?
#12. Practise gratitude
Practising gratitude helps boost mood; it encourages you to focus on what you do have and the good things in life, rather than what you don’t have and the not-so-good things.
It puts you in a completely different mindset while going about your day.
I invite you to start writing a gratitude list when you wake up each morning and see for yourself.
#13. Repeat positive affirmations
Repeating positive affirmations can boost confidence and – if you follow the Law of Attraction – help you manifest your goals.
Using positive, self-affirming statements as tools to combat negative self-talk is also really effective. They give you that little pep-talk you need and improve self-belief.
If you’re struggling this winter, here are some affirmations you might want to try when you feel called to:
- I welcome the change that winter signals
- I am grateful for [insert something you like about winter]
- I love this time of year because…
#14. Do yoga/stretching
I’ve already spoken about moving your body as a basic self-care activity for overall wellness. However, yoga and stretching in general deserves it’s own mention.
Yoga is amazing for the mind, body, and soul.
It helps stretch out any kinks in your muscles, calms the mind, and feels like a mental and physical reset.
What’s more, there’s no ‘rules’ when it comes to your yoga practise. You can wear fluffy socks and a hoody, as long as it’s safe!
#15. Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises can help you destress and ‘reset’ yourself, which can come in very handy during the stressful moments of the holiday season.
Reading has been shown to be amazing for mental health, as well as help us sleep if we’re struggling.
It gives you an escape from the stress of real life that doesn’t involve doom-scrolling on your phone; it encourages you to learn about something new; and it’s also enjoyable.
Making the effort to read for just 30 minutes a day before bed has improved my quality of sleep beyond measure.
#17. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is always important, but during the winter months, especially the festive period, it’s doubly important.
Make sure you’re protecting your own energy and enforcing firm boundaries around the aspects of your life that are important to you.
For example, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time with family that you don’t see often for a reason, you might want to set boundaries around topics you will and won’t discuss, or how long you want to be around them.
#18. Say ‘no’
Similar to setting boundaries, learning to say ‘no’ to people and situations you’re uncomfortable with is crucial throughout all the seasons.
Make sure you’re saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to do and only agreeing to events and tasks that bring you value and joy.
#19. Make time for yourself
Winter can be a busy season.
Exchanging gifts, traveling home for the holidays, visiting friends and family – it can be super-exciting, but it all takes its toll on our social batteries.
Make sure to make time for yourself to just relax, recharge and rest, if only for a day, to make sure you can decompress and destress.
#20. Nourish your soul
Nourishing your body is one thing; nourishing your soul is another.
There are certain foods that you know are nutritionally dense, but you don’t particularly love eating them. They might be beneficial for your body, but they don’t speak to your soul.
I always make sure to eat something that makes my soul happy, even if it may not be as nutritionally dense as a superfood salad. Especially in the winter when there’s so many tasty food options around!
This keeps my relationship with food healthy and keeps my soul happy.
Meditation helps clear your mind and improve mindfulness, which helps dealing with stress, as well as our entire emotional well-being.
If you find it difficult at first, don’t worry. Our brains are designed to run at a million miles-an-hour. Clearing your thoughts isn’t easy – that’s why meditation is referred to as a ‘practise’.
Firstly, remember that meditation isn’t about the absense of thought, it’s about letting them flow through you and focussing on your breath or body.
My biggest tip – as someone who finds it hard to quieten down their thoughts – is to use guided meditations to talk you through.
There are tons on YouTube. My favourite guided meditation channel is Great Meditation. (I’m in no way affiliated with them, I just genuinely love their content.)
#22. Listen to music
Music – whether you write it, play it, sing, or simply enjoy listening to it – can completely change the mood and vibe of a day.
I have a playlist full of songs that make me happy on Spotify that I stick on every morning as I’m going about my routine to give me a boost ahead of the day.
Plus, in winter, it’s never too early to listen to Christmas music.
#23. Explore nature
Getting outside in nature isn’t just a good way to get vitamin D and move your body – two winter self-care ideas that are super important – it also grounds us.
Exploring nature is a calming activity that helps you feel connected to the earth.
You get to witness the cycle of the seasons as the leaves fall from the trees and frost glistens off the grass.
It can help clear you mind and put small problems into perspective.
Just make sure to wrap up warm!
#24. Spend time with loved ones
Winter is a good excuse to spend time with the loved ones you don’t see often.
While you should always know your boundaries and say ‘no’ if you’re really uncomfortable with spending time with certain people, a lot of the time, we don’t see our nearest and dearest as often as we should simply because it’s inconvenient.
Spend time with them now so that you don’t risk regretting it in the future.
#25. Cuddle your pets
Did you know that simply petting our fury friends can help reduce cortisol – the stress hormone?
Curling up with your beloved pet during the chilly winter days and evenings is therefore basically essential self-care!
#26. Drink warm beverages
Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, hot chocolates, herbal teas – winter is the season of warm drinks.
Warm drinks don’t just taste good, they give us a warm feeling inside, which literally warms us up and makes us feel good.
What’s cosier than snuggling down under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows melting on top?
#27. Tidy home, tidy mind
Have you ever head the saying, “tidy home, tidy mind”?
Well it’s true.
I always say that my environment reflects my mental health. When I’m low, I can’t find the motivation to tidy up; when my home is messy, it makes me feel lower. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Try to keep your home as clean and tidy as possible – whatever that means for you. It’ll make your head feel less cluttered too.
#28. Set goals
Winter is the perfect time to start goal-setting for the new year.
One cycle is coming to an end ready for a new one to begin.
A fresh start.
The best way to do this is to:
- Reflect on this last year’s goals
- Write down your long-term goals
- Break these long-term goals into smaller monthly goals
And there you have your first goals for the new year!
Similar to goal-setting, winter is a great time to start manifesting your desires for the coming year.
The excitement that comes with the new year can supercharge your manifestations and really kick your year off to a great start.
Some fun ways to manifest are:
- Scripting: Writing down a ‘scene’ from your dream life
- Visualisation: Visualising your manifestation being true
- Journaling: Write down your manifestations in a list
- Affirmations: Repeating affirmations that speak your desire into existance
- Acting ‘as if’: Acting, dressing and living as if your manifestation has already come into your life
#30. Wear clothes that make you comfortable
Winter is the time of cosy jumpers, cardigans, fluffy socks, and beanies.
Just remember that whatever you wear, you should be comfortable and confident – or at least one of the two.
70 ideas for cosy winter self-care
- Light a scented candle
- Buy artificial candles if you can’t have real ones
- Decorate for the holidays – it’s never too early
- Slather yourself in thick moisturiser to stop your skin getting dry
- Make mulled wine
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Wear soft pyjamas
- Light a fire
- Get an electric blanket
- Make a lift of gifts you want to get other people
- Have your close friends around for festive drinks and snacks
- Watch Christmas movies
- Make sure your indoor plants are doing okay!
- Visit a Christmas market
- Plan out your festive activities
- Knit your stockings
- Play boardgames inside on rainy days
- Build a snowman
- Have a snowball fight with your friends or family
- Tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them
- Write out your holiday menu
- Plan out next year
- Make New Year’s Resolutions
- Clear out your wardrobe
- Donate to charity
- Start clothes shopping for spring
- Declutter your work space
- Send out holiday cards
- Take pictures of happy moments
- Take treats to your neighbours
- Practise your faith
- Sing your heart out to festive songs
- Dance to holiday music
- Fill up your hot water bottle
- Indulge in a face mask
- Unplug from social media
- Book time off
- Write poetry about winter
- Take a course
- Watch funny YouTube videos
- Listen to inspiring podcasts that get you excited for the new year
- Catch up on TV shows you’ve fallen behind on
- Write a letter to a loved one that you haven’t seen in a long time
- Write a list of everything you like about yourself
- Keep an eye on your alcohol intake
- Add cinnamon to your oatmeal
- Add a bit of vanilla, pumpkin spice, or hazelnut syprup to your morning cofee
- Avoid toxic people at family gatherings
- Write a list of ways you bring value to the world
- Sit with your thoughts and no distractions for 10 minutes
- Hold yourself accountable
- Put your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes before wearing them if it’s super cold
- Start your shadow work journey
- Take yourself for a coffee
- Cook yourself a roast dinner
- Wrap presents while watching a Christmas movie with a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate
- Reflect on the past year
- Buy yourself the GOOD chocolates that you only ever eat during the holidays
- Learn a new skill
- Create a good habit
- Break a bad habit – or plan out how you will in the new year
- Take cosy naps
- Have a lay-in
- Go ice-skating
- Create a vision board for next year
- Tackle a project that you’ve been putting off
- Come to the realisation that there’s no such thing as too many fairy lights
- Relax in front of the fire
- Go to a bonfire
- Nurture your inner child
Self-care is important all-year round, but in the winter, it’s doubly important to take care of yourself and just be a little more self-aware.
When you’re feeling yourself getting low, course-correct and take a day to yourself.
I like to speak to myself like I’m a child. I patiently go through all my usual self-care activities and check in with myself to make sure I’ve been doing them.
I approach myself gently and don’t beat myself up for being human.
This helps me be a little kinder and more compassionate towards my own needs.
Self-care ideas for the rest of the year
Don’t need winter self-care ideas because it’s not winter yet? I’ve got you covered.
A witchy ray of sunshine who loves to help others on their journal journey. I’ve been journaling since childhood and have since gone on to earn a degree in English and a diploma in Shadow Work. I love my plant babies, yoga, and anything spooky. Find out more on my about me page.