Winter is the perfect time to focus on self-care, and developing a night-time routine designed to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve sleep are all positive steps you can take. This is especially important during the winter months as it not only helps you get an adequate amount of rest but can help keep you healthy at a time when you’re more susceptible to seasonal illnesses.
What is winter night self-care?
Winter night self-care is the practice of building a routine to promote health and well-being during the long, cold months. The goal is to create an atmosphere that encourages complete relaxation and should involve activities that you can incorporate into your evening that help you relieve tension, unwind, and prepare for bedtime, ensuring you enjoy deep, restful sleep, and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Why is winter night self-care so important?
The winter months can bring about feelings of stress and fatigue due to shortened daylight hours, colder temperatures, and in some cases, long periods of solitude. We often refer to this seasonal sadness as the ‘winter blues‘, but for some individuals, it can actually be more serious than that, causing a depressed mood for long periods of time. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re doing everything you can to nurture your body, mind, and spirit.
Self-care during winter nights helps us take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We all need some moments of peace to relax and recharge – something that can be hard to find amidst all the other activities happening around us, especially in December when the holiday season puts even more demands on our time and energy. Taking extra care of ourselves allows us to take a break, breathe, reconnect with our inner selves and focus on our mental and physical well-being.
Sleep plays a major role in winter self-care for many reasons: in addition to physical benefits, such as restoring energy levels and boosting immunity, it has numerous cognitive and emotional benefits too. Getting enough restorative sleep each night improves concentration, reduces stress levels, strengthens memory and learning capabilities, and can significantly improve mood.
Ideas for your winter night self-care routine & tips for beating the winter blues
1. Create a nurturing night-time routine
Establishing a night-time routine where you focus on doing things that make you feel nurtured or even pampered will help you unwind and relax. Take some time to do some light stretching or yoga, read a book, take a bath, treat yourself to a massage, or spend some time journaling – whatever works for you! Giving your mind and body this kind of TLC can bring immense physical and mental benefits.
2. Switch off & unplug
Winter nights are a great time to ditch the technology and switch it off for a while. Not only will this let you focus on more soul-nourishing activities, such as a creative pursuit or those mentioned above, but studies show blue light emitted by phones and other digital devices disrupts our sleep patterns, which is why it’s recommended that we shut off all screens at least one hour before bedtime.
3. Go to bed & wake up at regular times
Having a regular bedtime can help you fall asleep faster as your body will naturally become tired every night at this time. Sleep experts also say that it’s just as important to try to wake up at the same time every day, even on days following an occasional late night or on the weekends, and eventually, you’ll find that you’re awake before the alarm goes off.
4. Be mindful before bedtime
Taking a few moments for yourself to be mindful and practice meditation can help reduce stress and prepare your body for sleep. Meditating for even 5 minutes before bed can be extremely beneficial for numerous aspects of your physical and emotional well-being, which is exactly what you need more than ever during the dark, cold winter months.
5. Check-in with your emotions
Many of the suggested activities listed above allow you the time to check in with how you’re feeling. There’s a lot of truth in the saying that you should never go to bed angry, and this applies to any negative emotions. Studies have shown that our brains process our emotions during sleep so simply acknowledge and accept any issues that are on your mind and let your remarkable brain do the rest!
6. Create the right environment
Having a clutter-free, cozy environment can help reduce stress levels, alleviate tension, and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Take a few minutes each evening to clear away clutter and create a space that is more conducive to relaxation and sleep. Soft lighting, thick, fluffy blankets, warm pajamas, and oversized pillows can all add to the overall comfort of your surroundings and encourage sleep.
7. Get outside
While staying in and keeping warm is always a good idea on those really chilly nights, it’s also beneficial to get outside regularly to enjoy the beauty of nature. Spending some time looking up at the night sky can help you feel connected to your surroundings and give you a break from anything that may be worrying you.
8. Connect with others
Social connections are important, especially during the winter months. It may be tempting to hibernate but making a point of regularly getting together with friends and family for an evening of fun is good for your emotional well-being. Checking in with people whom you know are on their own is equally as important and reaching out, even if it’s via video chat or a simple phone call, will benefit you both.
These are just some ideas for creating your winter night self-care routine – once you start seeing and feeling the benefits of being kind to yourself, being mindful, and getting quality sleep, we’re sure you’ll develop some of your own! Regardless of how you do it, making these few small changes will definitely pay off and you’ll go through the winter season feeling relaxed and stress-free.