I am just going to come out and say it—I love winter. Judge me all you want. Fall is by far my favorite season, but winter is a close second. I know, I know, I am definitely in the minority here, especially living in Chicago where the winter whipper winds whip from December clear until April. Blame it on my HSP or introverted nature.
However, I know some people struggle with the colder, darker months of winter, which is why it is important to plan for a seasonal shift accordingly. It is easy to prepare for a changing of the seasons by adorning holiday decor from our favorite stores or changing up our wardrobes. Some of us even switch our meal prepping strategies and techniques with the different seasons, but do we ever consider changing our routines to match the seasons?
Here is why it is important to change with the seasons and how to establish a winter routine.
Adopt a winter skincare routine
After summer, we shift our skincare routines to account for the fall season, but the same rules apply when it comes to establishing a winter skincare routine. After all, the winter season can be harsh on our skin—with dryness, dullness, chapped lips, and more affecting our usual glow. Look for winter skincare products with super-hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid or marula oil.
Katie Ziskind, Holistic Marriage, and Family Therapist and Owner of Wisdom Within Counseling recommends channeling the vibes of the Ayurvedic tradition and incorporating a common kitchen product into winter skincare routines—olive oil.
“Massaging your body with extra-virgin olive oil that is slightly warm can be a nourishing daily ritual for self-care. If you are really busy, you can just rub the soles of your feet gently, going between each toe, and feeling appreciation for your feet and all that they do for you. When you have more time, even 10 minutes, take the time to gently massage your whole entire body with oil, and even your scalp. Then you can shower and start your day. A daily self-massage is a wonderful way to tune inwards and feel centered.”
Create a book list
One of the reasons I love the winter season is because I love to get my hygge on. Fuzzy slippers, a hot mug of tea, an oversized comfy sweater, super soft throw blankets, twinkle lights. Umm hello, what’s not to love here, people?
One of the things that make hibernation and hygge more enjoyable is when I add books to my winter routine. I am an old soul, so I still check out books from the Chicago Public Library. However, there are tons of apps and websites nowadays that allow you to create a wish list of books you want to read.
Spend some time this fall curating a list of books you want to read this winter and start adding them into your fall routine now. That way, when it’s time to employ a new winter routine, you’ll already have a solid reading list.
Plus, having a new book to pick up at the library or made available via an app can give you something to look forward to during the darker days of winter. If you are like me and still use the library, returning a library book and checking out a new one will give you an excuse to head out into Mother Nature (even if it is cold outside).
Eat for the seasons
Different seasons present unique energies and elements, so it takes different techniques to stay balanced. This is why it is important to switch up self-care routines seasonally. In summer, we enjoy cooling foods to beat the heat and humidity. Meanwhile, the seasons of fall and winter beckon us to the simmer and sizzle of slow cooker meals filled with grounding foods. (Yum!)
Just like with books, start stockpiling winter recipes now. When creating a winter routine, it is also wise to start incorporating foods that have been known to help fight off the cold and flu.
Get outside earlier in the day
During the winter season, the sun sets earlier in the day, which can cause many of us to go all doom and gloom until the first signs of spring. Instead of waiting until after dinner to go for an evening stroll, consider a new winter routine, one that accounts for fewer daylight hours.
Shift your daily walk to the afternoon during a lunch hour. That way, you can still enjoy some daily movement and soak in the midday sun rays, which is one of the best ways to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Hello Vitamin D!
Opt for roasted foods and snacks
We know to eat for the seasons, but when creating a winter routine, reach for roasted foods and snacks. Ziskind recommends roasted foods because according to Ayurveda practices, the transition from fall into winter means creating more warmth within your body.
“Instead of raw nuts, choose roasted and salted nuts. Simply having more roasted food can bring a warming and toasted sensation into your body. If you have the option of raw sunflower seeds, go for the roasted and salted sunflower seeds as a snack.”
It may not be winter yet, but by adopting a winter routine now and embracing winter rituals, when the winter season rolls in, you will be acclimated to a new routine and will not be so jarred by the changing of the seasons.
Karisa Karmali, Founder of Self-Love and Fitness™, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, ISSA Certified Online Fitness Coach, and NASM Certified Nutrition Coach says it best, “Change is hard, even if we know the change of seasons is coming. Routines and rituals help anchor us, keep us grounded, and help us absorb the shock better.”