Self-care series: Tips for the winter months

Published 5:32 pm Friday, December 6, 2019


Community columnist

The winter months can be among the most difficult in Kentucky. It can be hard to practice self-care when it is cold and dark. However, winter is a great time to devote yourself to better self-care. Here are some tips to practice for good self-care during the winter months:

  • Get as much light as you can. Real sunlight is best, but even artificial light can be helpful. Try to avoid dark places during the daylight hours as much as you can. Move a computer or work spaces closer to a window. Set up brighter lights in your work areas at home or at work. Allow natural light to shine in through open windows when possible. Reduce the amount of time you spend wearing sunglasses. 
  • Notice how you dress. Dress to conserve energy and warmth. Many people that feel sad or tired during the winter months report that they are sensitive to extreme temperatures.  
  • Add in exercise every day. It may feel like it is harder than ever to exercise during the cold months of the year. There are some days when we may just simply need more than a little extra sleep or a little extra down time. But don’t let extra sleep or down time replace your exercise time. You may only have a few minutes each day, but try to add in exercise wherever you can. There is nothing else that can have such a positive impact on mood. Plus it provides critical health benefits. When possible, get outdoors so that you are getting sunlight while you exercise. 
  • Sleep schedules are critical. Try to keep yourself on a regular sleep and wake schedule. People who go to sleep and wake up on a regular schedule report feeling more alert and less fatigued. Try to aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Avoid staying up late during the winter months. Arrange outings for day time and early evening. 
  • Put off major life changes if you can. This may not always be possible, but it can be best to put off major life changes until spring or summer.
  • If you can, plan a trip to a place where it is warmer and sunnier. This can have a major impact on your mood. 
  • Take care of your body. Use a good moisturizer to care for dry skin in the winter. Take your time when you apply it. Massage is good for the soul. If possible, take a long bath. Take the time while you are in the shower or getting ready at the mirror to appreciate how amazing your body is. 
  • Reconnect with yourself. Self-care practices are a great way to renew ourselves. A journal can be a great way to do this. Journaling is quick and easy and helps deepen our relationships with ourselves. It can also be a time when we can have a moment to ourselves and reflect on things in our lives, which can help reduce stress. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Feel free to write anything you want. You can record your dreams and desires. You can set goals. You can write out something that is bothering you to find the best solution. 

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A good friend of mine told me that you can’t pour from an empty bucket. That is such a great reminder of how important self-care really is. You can’t be a resource for someone else if you’re running on empty yourself. Take time for yourself this winter, as well as year round.


For questions or comments about healthy lifestyles feel free to email me at