Look After Yourself This Winter

Next week is ‘Self Care Week’, an initiative that I for one can get behind - in fact any initiative that actually encourages me to be unashamedly selfish gets a great big tick in my book. At this time of year the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder, damper and generally a bit less pleasant. School and the office are full of germs, but everyone needs the extra hours to scrape together every last penny for Christmas.

However, all is not lost. We do this year in year out and always manage to come out the other side! Whilst I for one find it all too easy to slip into the misery of winter, there are a few constructive changes that can make the whole thing almost enjoyable.

Embrace the Weather

Toddlers laugh almost hysterically when they get caught in a heavy downpour, splashing in puddles, throwing off hoods and generally having the time of their lives seems to come far more naturally to them than to adults. Why? They know that there’s probably a warm bath to come home to and dry clothes to get cosy in. Let’s treat ourselves more like toddlers, run that bath and laugh in the rain.

But if I run home (with a scowl on my face) then I’ll get less wet! True, but science says only if you run at world record speeds and even then you’ll only get 10% less wet. So for those of us who aren’t Olympians, my previous advice still stands.

Candles are Essential

Once you’ve braved the elements, run that bath. Pop some essential oils in, lavender is brilliant for relaxing you before bed, geranium for relieving stress and tension and my personal favourite frankincense is the must use oil for worriers. Light some candles, Witchwood Candles are my favourite ‘special candles’ (so much so that I stock them at the shop!) they’re completely vegan and hand made with gorgeous natural scents and beautiful crystals.

Now that you’ve laid down the groundwork, switch off your phone, lock the bathroom door and do not let yourself be disturbed. If you can spare just 20 minutes, once a week, to properly soak, I guarantee your shoulders will feel lighter when you get out.

Treat Yourself

If baths aren’t your thing, or you want to treat yourself twice (who wouldn’t?) then find another way to show yourself you care. I favour the retail therapy option. Don’t buy buy buy with wild abandon, but find something you really love and spoil yourself. It could be something as simple as buying a new book and finding some time to actually read it, splashing out on that special piece of jewellery that you’ve had your eye on for a while or choosing a plant that won’t wither in your daylight-free bathroom. Retail therapy only works if you buy because you love it, rather than because you want to shop.

Find a Drink-Free Hobby

Whilst summer evenings can be spent on the beach or in the garden, winter weather makes it a bit less appealing. It seems like the only way to see your friends is by popping into the pub and the idea of not having a glass of wine seems almost ludicrous. Find a hobby that doesn’t involve drinking, you might be surprised how many of your friends are keen to join in. Book clubs, or crafting groups are a good place to start, there’s a minimal monetary outlay, so you can try a few different options until you find the one that works for you.

Of course, I am a little biased, but textiles clubs are bloomin’ marvellous. I hold embroidery and knitting workshops at the shop once a week where you can join in with the current project or bring your own thing along for advice. We’re a friendly bunch with changing faces week to week so you might even make a new friend.

Whichever hobby you decide on, remember that slowing down and focusing on what you’re doing is one of the best ways for the restless to achieve something close to meditation. Forget about worries at work or what on earth to buy for the relative who has everything this Christmas. Focus only on the task at hand and as well as a hand-crafted outcome, you’ll have a quieter, happier mind.