Winter, with it's short days, harsh weather and traditions steeped in stress, can often become a barrier for our self care routines - we feel a sense of having less time in the day to get things done and quickly start to neglect our own wellbeing needs. Add to that the additional chaos, stress and anxiety that the holidays and gifting season bring, and we can easily find ourselves feeling run down and burnt out.
We also know that an additional barrier to self care at this time of year can be the tightening of budgets, so that's why I've put together fourteen budget friendly self care ideas to help you start adding more wellbeing focused activities back into your winter routines.
1: Bundle up and get outside
It might be cold, but the air is fresh and a short walk outdoors a few times a week not only helps you get in some exercise but can also help clear your head and so you reconnect with the present moment. Outdoor walks are great for stressful days to help refocus your mind and find some joy.
2: Mindful breath work
Breath-work is a great way to help manage stress and introduce more mindful moments into your day. If you're an Apple Watch user try setting up the mindfulness app to get reminders throughout your day to breathe and reflect.
3: Guided meditation
When you're head is full try taking short breaks to practice some guided meditation; apps like Headspace are great for supporting this and making it approachable if you're a beginner or new to the practice of meditation.
If you're someone who finds it difficult to make time for yourself because "doing nothing" makes you uncomfortable, reading is a great way to carve out some relaxation time and refocus your mind on a topic that brings you joy.
There are so many benefits to regular journaling: it gives you a space to vent or dive into your feelings, it allows you to reflect on your experiences and create meaningful next steps and if nothing else, it gives you an opportunity to 'empty your mind'. If you're not sure where to start with journaling, try signing up to my FREE 7 day intro to mindful journaling course.
The holidays create plenty of opportunities to get creative and make a glittery mess. Try out some winter crafts, make some paper tree decorations or even look into what craft workshops might be running in your local area. If you're really stuck for ideas, browse some of my creative classes on Creative Fabrica.
7: Be more conscious of how you 'spend' your time
Your time is valuable so reflect on how you are sharing it out. Where could you make more time for the activities that bring you joy? Which tasks are currently consuming more of your time than they need to be? Is it possible to delegate some of your workload so as to free up more of your time? Organisation and planning are self care as they allow you to create space in your routines for rest and breaks. Need more help with this? Listen to this episode of Fill Up Your Cup.
It costs absolutely nothing, but it's benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing are countless. Changes in daylight hours can affect our sleep patterns and routines so be sure to check in with yourself and how much quality sleep you are getting during the week.
9: Try out a new indoor exercise
If the winter months affect your exercise routines (or your desire to exercise) then challenge yourself to try something different that you can do from the comfort and warmth of your own home; try a YouTube dance lesson or home yoga practice and try to fit in a little bit of movement that feels good everyday.
10: Spend time with someone who makes you feel good
Socialising is one of our basic wellbeing needs, but the holidays can often put us in social situations that drain us or around people who we wouldn't usually choose to spend time with. Counter this by planning to do something with a friend who helps fill up your cup (and try your best to return the favour for them).
11: Declutter your space
Your home should feel like a welcoming space where you feel comfortable relaxing; so if it doesn't right now, see what small changes you can make to improve this.
12: 'Comfort' food
If food is your (self)love language, then make some space in your routine to spend time in the kitchen cooking and baking foods that make you feel warm and cozy inside.
13: Say no
Saying no is self care! Don't be afraid to say no to events, parties or so called 'holiday obligations' if you don't feel that they will be good for your wellbeing or if your schedule is already packed!
14: Do a body scan
Check in with yourself regularly by doing a 'body scan'; start at your head and visualise scanning each part of your body to see how it's feeling then respond to those feelings with meaningful actions - feeling tired? go to bed early. Feeling tense? Do some stretches.