It’s an obvious but undeniable truth: for most of us, winter is cold, and waiting out the gloomier months somewhere warm and sunny isn’t a viable option – and certainly most often not the most environmentally friendly one.
So how do you care for yourself in the colder months without breaking the bank or harming the environment? Do you need to shut off all your electronics to save energy? Do you need to stay indoors?
What about your winter beauty regime? Will turning up the thermostat so that you don't step out into the cold after a shower do much damage to your energy use? And is petroleum jelly bad for your chapped lips?
Read on to find a few secret ingredients for a green and glorious winter.
Remember when you made blanket and pillow forts as a kid? The same principle applies here. Find your warmest, coziest blankets – start with the comforter from your bed and work your way around the house if you need to – and some squishy pillows. Grab a book, or put on a favorite CD, TV show, or podcast, wrap yourself up, and lose yourself in a cozy other world for an hour or so. Take the opportunity to slow down and soak up a few of your favorite things along or with a friend or partner.
If you're the type to cozy up with a wireless device, you might want to consider investing in a portable stand (to provide distance from the device) or radiation-shielding blanket, Belly Blanket.
They help to provide a barrier between the non-ionizing radiation put out by wireless devices and yourself. A bit of space from the device (even and inch or two) makes a big difference in exposure, but sometimes we like to have our devices a bit closer depending on how we prefer to snuggle up. While some claim there are no dangers, we do know that there are effects and some of us prefer to take the approach that there is no harm in playing it safe — especially those who are looking to live a healthier more holistic lifestyle.
Plus, there are some super comfy blankets to help you get the job done.
Don’t get too caught up with the nesting instinct, though. We need Vitamin D from the sun to keep our teeth and bones strong, and to help us keep our spirits up during those shorter days. That means steeling yourself to go outdoors at least once a day (and a quality supplement wouldn't hurt either!)
We tell ourselves all kinds of things to justify staying indoors when it’s cold, but the fact is that as long as you keep yourself warm and hydrated, a quick trip into the world outside is more likely to do you good than harm. Put on your chap stick, grab your coat and your gloves, and brave the cold for a bit. Even if it's just a brisk walk to take your dog out or check the mailbox. You’ll feel better for it.
If heading outdoors really isn’t an option for you, there are ways for you to get the benefits of light therapy in your own home. Energy-saving daylight bulbs are becoming easier to find and cheaper all of the time – they’re used by people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to help manage their symptoms, and evidence suggests that they’re actually very effective. Use one with a table or desk lamp, and an instant mood and alertness boost is only a flick of a switch away!
If the winter blues are wearing you down and you need a quick pick-me-up, you don’t need to do anything complicated or fancy. Take a moment to check in with yourself. What’s bugging you right now that you can easily fix? Grab a sweater or make yourself a warm drink if you’re feeling chilled. Dry skin? Chances are you have a few things around that can help with that, whether it’s coconut oil or a tub of petroleum jelly. If you have reservations about the latter – wondering “is petroleum jelly bad for you?” – then it’s important to remember that petroleum jelly products are perfectly safe for your skin. A mild, fragrance-free moisturizer is the best way to protect your skin from the dryness brought on by colder temperatures and that’s exactly what petroleum jelly is. Look for brands that guarantee purity by triple filtering it.
Taking care of these little things in little ways can give you clues to how you can really treat yourself. If your skin is dry, why not look for recipes for a home-made face mask and bring a taste of the spa to your own bathroom? You can even make up a quick and easy exfoliator with just petroleum jelly and sugar – add a dollop of petroleum jelly to about a half-cup of sugar, rub on and rinse off. You can even add in a nourishing ingredient or two, your face will thank you for it.
During the hectic holiday season, peace and quiet can be pretty hard to come by. Deadlines are looming, shopping lists are growing by the second, and there’s always something to plan. Luckily, peace and quiet comes free of charge and has no environmental impact. "Busy" won't win you any awards, and the pay off for self-care is something that will benefit you long after the moment has passed – we promise! All you need is 10-20 minutes out of your day, a quiet room – even the bathroom, in a pinch – and your breath. Take a few precious moments alone and do a short mindfulness meditation: breathe slowly in and out to a count of four, noticing and acknowledging your thoughts but letting them pass you by.
Mindfulness takes practice, but it’s an excellent way to recharge and take care of yourself, especially if you are responsible for taking care of others. If you struggle at first, there are plenty of books, resources and phone apps you can use to help you get into the habit.
There you have it: a few tips for keeping your head above water in the stressful winter months. Take good care of yourself this holiday season, and beyond. You're worth it!