This time of year, in the middle of winter, I often find myself feeling fatigued and dragging a bit. I want to put away the bulky coats, scarves and gloves, enjoy more daylight, and feel the warmth of the sun. It is also a time when I am reminded to practice good self-care to get out of the doldrums and get back in tune with what I need to shine. What I have learned for myself and from others – my friends, colleagues, and clients – are ways one can focus on oneself, whether it’s the middle of the winter or on the best Spring day. I find that these self-care approaches fall into four categories:

  1. Space – it’s important to create the right environment for yourself
    • Get rid of clutter in your home and office, on your computer, and even in your mind so that you can open up space and free yourself from some of the overwhelm you may be feeling.
    • Create a sanctuary or quiet space at home where you can focus on you, quiet the noise in and around you, and find peace.
    • Bring beauty into your space with objects you love, photos of people you love, and nature.
    • Make time for self-reflection by creating a regular ritual – journaling, meditation, time alone, visioning are all great ways to do that.
  2. Movement – caring for yourself means listening to your body
    • Recommit to a practice of exercise – whether it’s walking, yoga, a local class, or a good gym workout.
    • Take regular breaks to stretch and breathe deeply during the day – being stuck indoors means you have to be more conscious of getting up and getting your blood flowing.
    • Invest in a stand-up desk.
    • Build movement into your day by having a meeting while walking, getting up and going to your colleague’s desk rather than calling or emailing, or parking further from your destination.
    • Listening to your body also may lead you to recognize the need for rest and more sleep to restore and rejuvenate.
  3. Exploration – discovery, imagination, and openness to new things helps us grow and learn
    • Take a class to reawaken your artistic side – painting, knitting, sewing, music, pottery, dance, improv, or anything else you desire.
    • Stretch into new areas and ideas by reading things you normally wouldn’t read.
    • Listen to podcasts that feed your creative thinking.
    • Explore new neighborhoods and start checking off some of those places you’ve “been meaning to visit.”
    • Find ways to play and people to play.
  4. Connection – being with others and fostering relationships helps our emotional self
    • Reach out to friends that you haven’t talked to recently.
    • Plan activities that involve other people – incorporate friends and/or family members in your movement and creativity actions above.
    • Laugh – often. Look for humor in situations that stress you out.
    • Schedule lunch outside of the office.

Self-care is an essential ingredient to feeling your best. When the winter blues hit, look inward and think about what you need to renew and refresh – space, movement, exploration and/or connection. Focusing on one or all of these areas will help you to give yourself some tender loving care…and show up as your best self. I know it’s helping me.

What do you do to reenergize and care for yourself?
Please leave a comment.

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