Why You Need A Seasonal Self-Care Routine
Winter has arrived, and with it, there’s a change in temperature, humidity, pace, and routines. Obviously, this winter is unlike any others. Change can often be inherently stressful, making seasonal changes intense periods of anxiety and depression.
If you already have a self-care routine and have been finding that it’s not quite relieving the same amount of stress that it used to, keep reading for some helpful tips on adapting to the change in season.
First, reassess how you’re feeling in this season of change. Are you more tired than normal? The addition of daylight savings time does not help with that. Time changes can affect your sleep habits; these are actually proven to be quite detrimental to health as it pertains to sleep. As the nights get longer and the days get shorter, sometimes your work can extend into the evening hours, affecting your quality of sleep and normal nightly routines.
Our physiology is best when linked to the circadian rhythm; that is, we work better when attached to the cycles of the sun. Extending our days in the fall and winter is not the best thing for our stress and health.
In order to have good sleep ‘hygiene’ it is important to have an established evening routine. One method to add to your routine is to incorporate a good relaxing self-care moment.
Diffuse calming essential oils as you begin to wind down and this provides aroma therapy (we recommend Lavender oil,) turn off overhead lights and use lamp + candle lighting instead, and drink a soothing tea. Chamomile is known to help with sleep and is a very gentle and calming herb. This has been used for thousands of years to wind down in the evenings.
Read More: Essential Oils & How To Use Them
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very real and can wreak havoc on your mental state. SAD is exactly as it sounds, this is a depression that usually starts in Autumn and extends into the Winter. It is related to the shorter days and longer nights. While physicians are not really sure why this happens to some people there are a few theories. It may be that the change in the circadian rhythm (the ‘body clock’) is enough alone to cause SAD.
Some believe that there is a depletion of serotonin and melatonin; these are neurotransmitters that are linked to mood changes. As the days get shorter and the nights get darker, many people suffer from a decrease in natural Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 has been linked in multiple studies to healthy brain function and a lack of this essential nutrient can contribute to an unhealthy mental state. Any nutritional deficiency can make it more difficult for your body and brain to function properly, which can lead to a depressive state.
As the weather gets colder, you may not feel like going on a run outside. As it takes longer for the sun to rise, you may not have time to exercise before work. Do your best to incorporate at least 30 minutes of light exercise into your daily life – before or after work.
If you normally go for a jog in the mornings, you may have to pack workout clothes in your work bag and stop at a park on your way home for the day.
How to Adapt: Bring exercise inside. You don’t have to get a gym membership to do this – you can purchase inexpensive hand weights, resistance bands, and more to build and maintain strength even in the winter. Try to do a few yoga poses each morning, gradually increasing the amount of time you devote to your practice as your strength and flexibility builds. Just doing basic work with your own body weight should be enough to improve strength and allow the brain to improve and enhance sleep abilities.
Yoga is also great for improving your mental health by solidifying your mind-body connection, which can help you improve your mental well-being. The breathing techniques from a good and well-taught yoga practice are excellent medicine for brain health, blood pressure management, mood stabilization and to improve stress adaptability.
At the end of the day, it’s always a good thing to remain flexible and able to adapt to trying times. This creates resiliency, which helps you maintain physical, spiritual, and emotional balance even through trying times.
Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.
She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.
At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:
- Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
- Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
- Fill the gaps in our daily diets
- Manage pain associated with inflammation
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