5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

Wellness Article Wellness Tip

As the year winds down and the weather gets cooler, it can create a change in our physical and mental space. Before you say yes to more invitations and holiday to-dos, it’s important to check in with yourself first and make sure you have the capacity to take on additional tasks, to prevent burnout and over committing yourself. 

If you’re feeling like you want to end the year with more peace and calm in your life, here’s a few ways that you can support your mental wellness this winter season. 

1. Bring Your Attention to the Present Moment

Stay in tune with what you’re doing now. 

When you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be completed, just focus on what needs to be done in the moment and how this moment connects to the spirit of the season. If you find that what you are doing doesn’t contribute to your true intentions or desires for the season, consider changing directions.

If you need a moment of pause to check in with yourself, try this grounding exercise: Pause while standing and curl your toes, alternating feet a few times, as if you’re a squirrel gathering acorns for winter. Next, spread your toes for a second and relax them. Feel your feet touching the earth. Then, close your eyes and take 3 feather-light breaths, equal parts inhale and exhale. 

Another way to stay present in the moment: Try leaving your phone in another room for an hour and practice being present with those around you or the task at hand. Pay attention to how you feel. Are you able to complete your task with more focus? Are you more present with the people around you? 

2. Have a Centering Routine

When your schedule gets full this time of year, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner and get caught up in a frenzy of endless tasks. 

One way to make time for yourself is to set a time to do your routine every day and prioritize it no matter what else is going on. This could be journaling, meditation, yoga, or saying a daily mantra. 

Studies show that journaling reduces anxiety, depression, and improves all over mental well-being. The great thing is, you don’t need anything special to get started. Journaling is an accessible practice that anyone can do from home using a notebook or your phone. It’s also a great way to reflect on the past year and plan out what you hope to accomplish in the future with your personal and professional growth. 

Journaling Prompts to Try Out: 

  1. What are three things you’re grateful for today?
  2. What three ordinary things bring you the most joy?
  3. List 10 things that inspire or motivate you. 
  4. What are your top 3 happiest moments of this past year?

3. Get Proper Rest

If you find your stress levels rising as the seasons change, it could mean that you need more rest, both physically and mentally. Proper sleep and rest will help you think more clearly and be in a better mood. 

Ask yourself, “In what ways could I add more restful activities into my day?

Resting doesn’t have to mean just sleeping or laying down. It can also mean getting out into nature and invigorating our senses. If you have to think a lot for work or use a computer, it could mean doing something more active, like taking a walk or hike to give your mind and eyes a break from the screen. 

According to the American Pyschological Association, researchers have found positive correlations between nature and mental well-being: 

The stress reduction hypothesis posits that spending time in nature triggers a physiological response that lowers stress levels. [Another] idea, attention restoration theory, holds that nature replenishes one’s cognitive resources, restoring the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

With screen time reaching an average of ten hours a day, making time for mental rest is just as important as getting proper sleep. 

4. Set Intentions for Before Each Activity 

One powerful centering technique can be to set an intention for what you’d like to embody or experience before each activity of the day. This will help plant the seed in the fertile soil to manifest growth in various areas of your life. 

Here are some ideas for setting intentions in your day: 

Before a meeting: Center yourself by setting an intention of what you want to achieve in this meeting. What kind of energy do you want to bring? What is your objective?

Before getting together with a friend: Clear your mind of any mental clutter or stresses from the day and focus on enjoying the present moment with your company. 

Before attending a holiday gathering: Set an intention of the energy you want to bring and how you want to interact with others. If you get overwhelmed in crowds, take mental note of this to prepare some conversation starters to ask others. 

5. Surround Yourself with Positive Quotes and Affirmations 

Think about how you can sprinkle your day and life with positive thoughts and inspiration, such as quotes, a book, or listening to a podcast. After all, you are what you think! 

Developing a positive mindset can be as simple as having a conversation with someone who inspires you or is a good friend. If you often fall into fear and panic, try limiting your news and social media exposure and focus on bringing more positive channels into your life. 

Here’s some daily affirmation and quote ideas to get you started. Feel free to write your own in your journal or display them on your office wall for a simple, daily reminder. 

Daily Affirmations:

I am enough as I am. 

I am allowed to rest and take breaks. 

I am at peace with myself. 

Things do not have to be perfect to get started. 

You can try writing your own affirmations as a daily practice. 

Positive Quotes: 

“The groundwork for all happiness is health.” – Leigh Hun

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” – Greg Anderson

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Coelho.

“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford.

By adopting a few of these practices, you can bring more balance into the holiday season. If you’re looking for more guidance, check out our previous article on Mindfulness Tips for the Holidays. Feel free to share your other wellness tips in the comments. How do you stay centered in the winter months and throughout the holidays? 

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! 

“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” Herbert Simon

Carrot Peels

Carrot Peels

Nourish Wellness Tip

Save Your Carrot Peels (and any anything else you’d use) for your smoothies, stocks and soups. It’s a great way to reduce waste or the size of your compost. You can store the clean scraps in the refrigerator for a couple days or even store them in in the freezer. Should I peel carrots for a recipe, I tend to use the peels the next day in my smoothie. And occasionally, I’ve been told my smoothie smells like compost…

Dried Orange Peel

Dried Orange Peel

Nourish Wellness Tip

Dried Orange Peel: Before you peel or cut your organic oranges, remove the thin strips with a peeler. Place the strips separately on a towel/paper towel in an open dish. Leave them out to dry for 3-4 days. Once they are completely dry, put them airtight jar.  Dried orange peels have a deep flavor which are a great ingredient for savory or sweet recipes. You can zest or grind the peels or add them whole into sauces or stews.

For my autumn-winter smoothies, which during the cooler temperatures I consume close to room temperature, I toss in half an orange strip, a generous amount of cinnamon and at least a 1/2-inch slice of ginger. Orange peel helps improve digestion and sluggishness in the gut, and ginger and cinnamon are both warming spices that make the smoothie more digestible during the season.