So you’ve swapped your favorite crop top and sandals for cozy outerwear and chunky boots (or, if you’re like me, a weekly rotation of various sweatsuits). That’s right: Winter is officially here. Just like our wardrobes, our wellness routines should look different come winter. Our bodies need different things every season; the self-care, foods, exercise, and TLC your body craves in winter is going to be different from what it needs in the summer. So it’s time to switch up your wellness routine to support what your body needs during colder months and shorter days. Read on for ways to help boost your daily winter wellness regimen for a healthy, stress-free season.
Now that we’re experiencing shorter days and less vitamin D than we grew accustomed to during the summer, it’s natural to feel some winter blues, AKA you may feel a little more lethargic and tired this time of year. Because there are fewer hours of daylight, the body produces more melatonin (a sleep hormone) this time of year, and chances are your sleep habits have been affected by the time change. Instead of fighting the fatigue, think of this season as a time for rest and recovery, and adapt your self-care routine accordingly. Enter: Equilibria’s Rapid Sleep Melts to help ensure you get your solid Zzzs. With a short 10-15 minute onset, the all-natural, vegan, and sugar-free sleep aid makes falling asleep fast a no-brainer. Use them consistently to increase efficacy and get ready to experience dreamland at its best.
Focus on relationships
Yes, even caring for yourself includes tending to relationships. Connection is an important part of a wellness routine because fulfilling relationships help improve our happiness and overall satisfaction in life. Winter is the perfect time to prioritize connection because of the holiday season, but your social calendar can extend well beyond New Year’s Eve. Make extra plans throughout every week to catch up with your mom on the phone or have a movie night in with your best friend. If cabin fever is getting the best of you, grab your sister to go for a drive or test your skating skills at an ice rink with your friend group (which also counts as exercise!). However you decide to foster connection, it should spark joy and help you reset so you can show up as your best for yourself and also for the people you surround yourself with.
Ditch the raw foods and cold meals
During the summer, nothing hits the spot like biting into a juicy piece of watermelon, noshing on a crisp salad, or sipping on a refreshing smoothie. But when the temperature drops and we’re in the thick of winter, you may notice a change in your appetite and your body craving warm, grounding meals like chili, pasta, and warm figgy pudding. Sound familiar? With dreary weather and less exposure to sun, it should come as no surprise that we find ourselves reaching for heartier, comforting foods to boost our mood and warm up our bodies. Remember that salads and smoothies aren’t the only healthy foods. Get creative with nourishing stews, soups, and roasted veggies instead.
Incorporate seasonal produce
If you don’t already know, eating in-season is where it’s at. Luckily, winter offers many delicious, flavorful produce. For fruit, try apples, pomegranates, oranges, persimmons, and pears. As for vegetables, load up on butternut squash, sweet potatoes, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and beets, just to name a few. Listen, if you can’t live without your avocado toast or love eating mangos year-round, it doesn’t mean you should ditch produce that is in season during spring or summer. The most important thing is to eat your fruits and veggies, no matter what they are (and you should always enjoy the food you eat!). Instead of replacing your favorite foods, think of adding winter produce. For example, top your avocado toast with pomegranate seeds or make a side dish of roasted winter veggies.
Honor your sweet tooth
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the goodies that are synonymous with this time of year: cookies, apple pie, eggnog, Starbucks holiday drinks. Instead of depriving yourself of sweet potato casserole and worrying about how many calories you’re consuming from holiday leftovers, take the time to enjoy the flavors of the foods you love and focus on connecting and celebrating with loved ones. Bottom line: If you’re craving sweets more during this time of year, don’t panic. Reach for antioxidant-rich dark chocolate or naturally sweet foods like bananas and raw honey. But also indulge in your mom’s famous cookies or a cup of hot chocolate when you want to, totally guilt-free. As with any time of the year, being mindful is key, so check in consistently with how your body feels.
Know that resting is just as good for you as movement
Whether you’re busy with work deadlines and a packed social calendar or the aforementioned winter blues have left you feeling tired all the time, workouts can easily fall by the wayside come December. The thought of leaving your warm, cozy bed can deter even the most hardcore workout enthusiast, and guess what? That’s OK. If your body isn’t feeling like going on a three-mile jog or doing a HIIT class, don’t force it. Instead, move your body in ways that feel natural and nourishing, like going for a walk to get some fresh air, doing a yoga flow, or stretching before bed. Also, remember that rest is just as important for the body as exercise, so make R&R a key part of your exercise routine. Your body knows what it needs; you just have to listen to it.
Adjust your favorite workouts for the weather (but get outside when you can)
Are you a runner who loves to hit the pavement or a hardcore walking devotee who can’t miss their daily walks? You don’t need to forego workouts altogether when the temperature drops. Instead, make the outdoors more bearable by layering sweat-wicking pieces or hit the gym for a Taylor Swift treadmill workout. If you’re more into Pilates or yoga, you can’t go wrong with doing an at-home workout or an indoor group class (hot yoga, anyone?). Since it’s important to always enjoy the type of workout you’re doing, stick with your go-to heart-pumping methods indoors while still getting outside for walks and hikes to reap the benefits of being out in nature (think: feeling happier).
Try hacks to stay motivated
And if it’s lack of motivation or the continuous rotation of Hallmark Christmas movies playing that’s keeping you from breaking a sweat (same), use small tricks and tips to stay motivated to move your body regularly enough to feel healthy. For example, squeeze in multiple movement sessions of ten minutes or less throughout the day (it adds up!), take a walk while on a work call, and don’t underestimate what a cute, new fitspo outfit can do to get you off the couch and breaking a sweat.
Add more layers
Let’s face it (pun intended), our sun-kissed and supple complexions have become dry skin, and we’re lacking that fresh-from-a-facial look we had going for us during the summer. So what better time to hit refresh on your skincare lineup? Like any fashionista would advise when it comes to dressing for the cold, layering is your friend. And the same goes for your skincare regimen during the winter months. Add a cleansing oil into your routine, pat on an additional hydrating serum, use a thicker moisturizer, and top with a hydrating oil to seal it all in. Even if you don’t want to totally change your skincare routine season to season, a couple added basics can make all the difference.
Try a humidifier
Many of us are experiencing dryness and irritation from all the time spent indoors this time of year. Consider buying a humidifier for your bedroom, especially if you tend to crank the heat up in your home or live in a dry climate—it’ll be your new best friend (goodbye, dryness!). A humidifier not only adds moisture to the air while you’re sleeping, but it can also give your skin the extra hydration and refresh it needs during the winter (how’s that for a win-win?).
Focus on skincare from within too
While you’re at it, load your plate with healthy fats (think: avocado, wild salmon, walnuts), which can help regulate your skin’s oil production and soothe dry skin. Achieving radiant, J.Lo-like skin (talk about a major glow) is not just about what you put on it after all. It’s also about adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.