Aside from Christmas and Cecilio’s birthday falling on winter, it is my least favorite holiday. I cannot stand cold weather whatsoever, I find it incredibly difficult to get out of bed and I am so thankful that Cecilio walks the dogs before I wake up (sometimes I do walk them if he gets up too late and doesn’t have time to walk them though). I then go through the painful process of finding something to wear, especially in layers (and especially wearing tights under pants, which squeezes the circulation out of my thighs). Getting out of my apartment doesn’t seem so bad, until I get in my car and touch the steering wheel. My Raynaud’s phenomenon start to kick in and my hands turn numb, even with gloves. Ouch. I also get sick more around January, and my joints get stiffer, especially during weather changes.
Dealing with winter last month was brutal. It was 30°F almost every morning. Now, the morning temperatures range from the high 30s–high 40s, which isn’t so bad as long as I bundle up. In fact, it felt heavenly when I left yesterday morning and it was 51°! (It was raining, which does help make the weather warmer) This California girl finds anything under 60° to be way too cold! Though I’ll never have a high pain tolerance for winter once it comes, I can manage it with these self-care and pampering tips I want to share with you, whether it snows heavily where you live or if you are a wimp like me (I have never experienced a white Christmas and I don’t think I want to!)
1. Light some candles
There’s something about candles that bring instant warmth (literally and figuratively) to your home. Daytime during the winter is dreary and gray, which dampens your mood. By lighting some candles, you create a comforting ambience, and the temperature in your home rise a little bit. It’s also just so relaxing to smell different scents (especially if you have a fake tree and want to capture the essence of a freshly cut tree). Here are a few of my favorite winter candles.
2. Stay active
When it’s freezing cold outside, the last thing you want to do is get your butt out of bed. But trust me when I say that it’s the best thing for you. If you don’t like running outside, you can go to the gym and use the treadmill or do some free workout videos on YouTube. I have a membership at Pure Barre, and it can be difficult to wake up on the weekend for an morning class or going after work when I’d rather go home right away. But I feel like a million bucks afterward, and I have much more energy. The cold weather stiffens our joints, but exercising will loosen and lubricate them, which is especially important if you have an autoimmune disease and are prone to joint pain as a side effect.
3. Take a nice warm bath or shower
Whether you like to splurge on LUSH bath bombs or prefer bath salts, taking a bath is so soothing on your skin and your joints. Be warned though, you are never going to want to get out of the bathtub!
4. Put on a hydrating face and lip mask
Winter is notorious for making our skin dry and dehydrated. Put back some moisture by pampering yourself with a rich face mask. Look for masks that are labeled “cooling” and hydrating”. All year round, I like to put on a lip mask such as the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask because it softens my lips and gets rid of the dead skin really well, but it’s especially important for winter. Not only are your lips chapped from the weather itself, the heater makes it worse.
5. Treat yourself to a nice bowl of soup
Yum…I don’t know about you, but if there is one thing I DO like about the winter, it’s the perfect excuse to devour a hot bowl of soup. I know that the packaged Maruchan Ramen isn’t healthy at all, but Cecilio and I often have it for dinner because it’s cheap, quick to make and really tasty (even though the flavored powder it comes with has way too much sodium). We add eggs, spinach and miso to make it more filling and somewhat nutritious. Once in a while we do like go out out and eat at one of the many ramen or pho restaurants nearby (we have a lot of good eats where we live, but it just also gets insanely crowded). I also like to freeze a bunch of fall/winter veggies (carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, onions) so that the next day, I thaw them and boil some veggie broth to make soup. I add the veggies and beans for protein. It’s so delicious, hearty and nutritious!
6. Get your C’s on
Please don’t forget to take your Vitamin C this winter! It will help so much with the common cold, or at least prevent it from getting worse. Oranges are in season right now, and they have a chock-full of C’s! My mom has an orange garden (that my dad planted years before he passed away), and the they just keep getting bigger and bigger every year. We love giving it away to our family and friends. Strawberries are full of Vitamin C’s too, but since they are not in season right now, I like to buy a bag of frozen ones and make a smoothie with them, bananas and milk.
7. Invest in a winter capsule wardrobe
Buy a few coats that will get you through the winter. And layer, layer, layer: I cannot stress this enough! Wear a cardigan underneath and then wear a long-sleeve top under (I love wearing long-sleeved button ups under cardigans for a classic look). Don’t forget your accessories such as scarves, beanies, gloves, tights, and extra thick socks.
8. Cuddle up!
There’s something powerful and healing about touch. Touch is one of Cecilio’s love languages, and nothing feels better than giving him a massage (or him giving me one) after a long day at work, or curling up together and watching TV, especially on a dreary winter night. Don’t have a significant other? If you have pets, just stroke them and allow them to sit on your lap. Pets also aid in healing too, and I firmly believe that my mental health has improved significantly since I got my dogs almost 4 years ago.
9. Have a hot drink
Treat yourself to something hot to drink and carry in your hands, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. During this season, I love making hot chocolate for Cecilio and I for dessert. I spike mine up with Smirnoff peppermint vodka for extra buzz and warmth. You can find my recipe here.
10. Dedicate a whole day to rest
In the Ten Commandments from the Bible, God commands for us to have a day of Sabbath, which is a day of rest and worshiping Him as a symbol because God rested from the 7th day of creating the universe (now I don’t believe that God literally created the earth in 7 days. I believe that you can still have faith as a Christian and still accept evolution, but that’s a completely different story and topic). Now, if you’re not religious at all, it’s still important to dedicate a rest day and recuperate from the week. This is a bit difficult for me sometimes because Cecilio and I break up our errands throughout the weekends, but I’ve been wanting (and been more mindful) to finish errands on Saturday so that I don’t have to worry about them on Sunday because the weekends feel way too short. It may not always be realistic, but try as much as possible.
How do you take care of yourself during the winter?
Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.