Just like that, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. Flipping the calendar feels like the start of a new season. And there are seasons for everything: fast paced and slow, longer days and shorter ones, seasons of resting and seasons of going full speed ahead. Seasons are a good thing.
So as we welcome 2023, I want to invite you to think seasonally with me.
Even though our culture tells us we must always be on and busy, that’s not how our bodies were designed to function. Want proof? Just look around you. See what nature, the four seasons and even the moon cycles, tell you. There is a beautiful rhythm to all of it. All cycles and seasons may look different, they work together. When you step back to look at the bigger picture, you’ll see balance.
Working this philosophy into my life has given me permission to embrace the heart of each season, knowing there is time for everything. I used to dread winter. Now, I appreciate the uniqueness of what it offers me. Winter was for rest and for finding a slower pace. It was designed for dreaming, tuning in, and listening to myself. In winter, I can reset my nervous system, sleep well and create little moments in these darker, shorter days that bring me joy.
You can do all of this, too. It really all comes down to this: when there’s less light outside, it’s time to ignite our inner lights. To do that, we need to get quiet enough to listen to what would spark that inner light in us. We won’t all have the same answer, but I’ve found a few things that really help…
These are what I do to add more delight (and light) to these winter days—
#1. Create winter rituals for yourself.
Winter is all about getting good rest and resetting your nervous system. Embrace it with a nightly ritual that welcomes the best sleep of your life. A good wind-down routine is great to practice all year long (here’s mine!), but winter is the perfect time to start if you don’t already have one.
When I wind down each evening, I plug up my phone and leave it alone for the night, decompress with my nightly shower routine, take my vitamins and read. Your winter ritual doesn’t have to be complicated— but if you’re feeling a little extra, embrace it! You deserve to carve out time to take care of you.
#2. Learn something new.
Pick a new topic to learn about or hobby to try. Have you been interested in astrology? Thinking about business or human design? Have you considered picking up knitting needles, planting your first garden or learning how to make gluten free sourdough or homemade kombucha? These are just ideas— pick whatever you want. But I’ve found that diving deep into a new interest helps me to learn, grow and expand my view of the world, even from inside my cozy home. Picking up new hobbies is a great way to keep things fresh in your brain and your life.
#3. Learn to cook.
I know some of us already know how to cook, but there’s always room to level up, imho. Maybe you want to learn how to prepare more healthy meals, try a new dish every week, or you’ve always wanted to cook your way through a cookbook. If you’ve in need of cookbook inspiration, I can think of two I’d certainly recommend. 😉
Cooking well is a life skill that pays off in busy seasons. You could even take a cooking class (we have a virtual SRH class coming up soon!) to learn something new! Since we all spend the majority of our winter days inside, expanding your chef skills is a great use of your time. Our Winter Meal Plan is a great place to start trying new things in the kitchen.
#4. Change up your skincare routine.
Did you know your skin loves change? Winter is a great time to experiment with your skincare and beauty routine. Whether you try slightly different products, grab a new tool or mix up your routine… just swap out what you’re doing and see how your skin responds.
I love to emphasize hydration in the winter, since these days are cold and dry. I also find myself reaching for tools like my red-light wand or mask more often. If you’re looking for a seasonal boost, go big with a full-body red light tool! I just got this one and I LOVE IT so much. You can use the code simplyrealhealth at checkout for 5% off that light— or any product! Red light therapy is amazing when it comes to reducing inflammation, wrinkles, aging, sun spots, not to mention improving your cellular health, mental health and mood while it’s darker outside.
#5. Find an outdoor winter activity you love.
Walking, cross country skiing, skiing, skating and hiking will all ground your nervous system and keep your body and mind healthy during these shorter days. Have you ever heard the saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear?” I think it’s so true.
If you’re able to stay warm and dry, being outside is magical this time of year. And did you know 80% of toxins leave the body by our breath? That statistic is a sign to all of us— to get out there and get fresh air.
#6. Create a routine around light.
Start some daily practices that center around light. It could be lighting your natural candles at 4pm, turning on the fire before dinner, hanging a string of lights that are timed to switch on at dark…
Having a tangible reminder of “the light” is always so helpful, especially during the darkest days of the year. It might seem like a tiny thing, but it actually can help so much. If you want to combat seasonal depression, inflammation or just recover from injury, consider those red light tools I mentioned above. They’re another great way to bring light into your winter season.
#7. Make plans.
Want an instant winter mood boost? Try planning a trip. 🙂 This one should probably be number 1 on my list, actually— we usually make a plan to go somewhere sunny sometime in January or February, and it always gives me something (warm) to look forward to.
Even if a big vacation isn’t in the works this year, now is a great time to book fun things with your people. In this season, it’s so important to have energizing things to look forward to— it’s good for your mental health AND your soul. Whether big or small, get some joys on your calendar this month.
#8. Start (or continue) some winter traditions.
Get outside to hit the ice skating rink or the slopes, or stay cozy indoors with a game night by the fire or a family movie night on the couch. Little weekly traditions can make such a difference— all year long, but especially in the winter months.
Want to level up? Create a winter bucket list and try to check off every fun thing before spring rolls around.
#9. Find your signature seasonal beverage.
There’s nothing better than a steaming hot bevvie on the bleakest winter days. Add a new tea to your rotations, reach for a new creamer in your coffee, finally try that adaptogenic mushroom hot cocoa you keep hearing about or take matcha for a spin. My personal winter favorite is this delicious adaptogenic chai. Winter lends itself to a “creating” theme, so try new options, or concoct one for yourself. You never know where your creativity may lead.
If you’re looking for a few ideas to spark your winter sips, grab my healthy bevvie guide for some inspiration that’ll warm your body and your heart.
I hope these 9 simple tips fill your winter days with coziness and delight. If you’re starting a new wind-down routine or winter tradition, I’d love to hear about it! Tell me below— I’m always looking for inspiration for my own winter rhythms.