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  • Dr. Allison Andre, DPT

My Favorite Slow Winter Wellness Practices

I love riding the rhythm of life's seasons—it's like having your personal groove through the ups and downs. With the chaos this year brought, feeling a bit stressed is totally okay.

Now, as the cold season kicks in with its crisp air and early sunsets, we all need a sanctuary to recalibrate. Here are a couple of wellness tips to make the upcoming season easier and boost your well-being. But, let's keep it real—this isn't about quick fixes. It's a journey into slow wellness tailored for the cold season. Two truths to set the stage:

Beyond the Surface: Self-care is more than skincare routines or diets. It's about confronting traumas, leaving toxic environments, and nurturing our emotions.

The Privilege of Wellness: Wellness has its privileges, and not everyone has equal access. Let's broaden our gaze and understand diverse needs.

As seasons shift and winter transforms our world, let's explore intentional practices. These aren't remedies but gentle gestures making the cold season more bearable, mindful, and nourishing. Join me in slow wellness, where each ritual is self-love, an offering to tired souls, and an acknowledgment of our interconnectedness.

Hygge corner

Embracing Cozy Hygge Moments

Let's talk about hygge, that wonderful Danish concept that's all about feeling cozy and content. Pronounced "hoo-ga," it's not just a word; it's an atmosphere—a warm, simple, and intimate vibe that makes you appreciate life's little pleasures. Picture the soft glow of candles on a winter evening, wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket, and sharing laughter over hot cocoa.

Hygge is about enjoying the present, finding joy in the simple things, and surrounding yourself with comfort.

Now, bringing hygge into your home is like creating a personal sanctuary. Toss some soft blankets and pillows around to make comfy corners. Add a touch of warmth with candles or fairy lights for that cozy glow. Embrace the feel of natural materials like wool and wood to amp up the tactile comfort. Maybe carve out a snug reading corner or a spot for quiet reflection. It's not just decor; it's a celebration of the small joys that turn a house into a home.

Hygge isn't just about looks; it's a soothing elixir for the soul. In a world that's always in fast-forward, curating a warm and comfy space at home becomes a haven for your mental well-being. Slowing down, sipping a hot drink from your favorite mug, and snuggling into a soft blanket create a cocoon of security and ease. This deliberate pause helps your mind unwind, easing stress from the daily hustle. Hygge, with its focus on being present and cozy, reminds us to cherish those moments that lift our spirits and contribute to a peaceful mental space.

Mindful Winter Walks

Mindful walking, fully immersed in the moment, takes on a special charm against the snowy backdrop. For me, it's not just about exercise; it's about forging a quiet bond with nature. Imagine hiking trails in fresh winter snow, each step letting me tune into the subtle beauty—the crisp air, the satisfying crunch of snow under my boots, and that peaceful hush that's like a canvas for my thoughts. It's honestly one of my favorite activities throughout the year.

When gearing up for a winter walk, layers are your best friend—think thermal undergarments, insulated outerwear, and waterproof kicks to keep the chill at bay. Grab gloves, a snug hat, and a scarf to fend off the winter winds. Check out the terrain, too—get footwear with solid traction for those snowy paths!

And remember, enjoy these moments to dive into your thoughts and connect with the world. Breathe in that crisp air and the zen-like peace that comes with every step.

spa items

DIY Spa Nights at Home

As winter weaves its enchanting tapestry of frost-kissed landscapes and cozy evenings, there's a gentle nudge to turn inward, to embrace the art of winter self-care. One cherished activity I love sharing with my daughter is our DIY Spa Nights.

Facial Bliss with Honey and Oats

Begin with a facial mask crafted from the simplicity of honey and oats (around 1 Tbsp of honey to 2 Tbsp of oats). Mix these kitchen staples to form a paste. Honey, with its natural antibacterial properties, teams up with oats to exfoliate gently, leaving your skin refreshed and radiant.

Scrub Away Stress with Sugar and Coconut Oil

Next up, indulge in my favorite full-body exfoliation. Combine around 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil to create an invigorating scrub. Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil as a bonus - like lavender (my daughter's favorite)! The sugar granules work their magic to slough off dead skin cells, while the coconut oil provides deep hydration.

Nourish Your Locks with a Hair Mask

Extend the spa treatment to your hair with a hair mask Mix up ingredients like avocado, olive oil, and a touch of honey (around 1 avocado, 2 Tbsp of honey and 2 Tbsp of oil). This blend not only adds a luscious shine but also restores vitality to your locks. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and let the mask work its magic while you revel in the serenity of your at-home spa oasis.

These intentional moments of self-nurturing act like anchors, keeping us grounded in the midst of the seasonal whirlwind, helping us dial down stress and anxiety to bring out our inner calm.

a woman journaling

Winter Journaling for Self-Reflection and Gratitude

Winter's serene embrace whispers an invitation—an invitation to turn inward....and journal. In a year that's been a rollercoaster, taking a moment for self-reflection is like a soothing balm. It's a journey within, an exploration of thoughts and emotions that unfold with the changing seasons. Here are a few prompt ideas to get you started:

  • Describe the winter landscape outside your window. How does it make you feel? What colors, sounds, or scents stand out?

  • List five things that bring you comfort during the winter season. It could be a favorite blanket, a warm beverage, or a specific piece of winter clothing.

  • Reflect on three things you are grateful for during this winter. They can be small, everyday moments or more significant experiences.

  • Recall a memorable winter adventure or share your dream winter getaway. What activities or places make your winter special?

  • Describe your ideal winter reading nook. What books or genres do you enjoy curling up with during the colder months?

  • Reflect on the past year as the new year begins. What are your achievements, lessons learned, and aspirations for the coming months?

  • Write a letter to your future self reflecting on the winter of this year. What moments do you hope to remember, and what lessons do you want to carry forward?

Happy journaling! Embrace the solace it offers amidst the fluctuations of life.

As the winter transforms our world and wraps it in a blanket of tranquility, let's embrace intentional practices as gentle gestures. These are not remedies to fix what's broken but rather mindful acts that make the cold season more bearable, nourishing, and filled with purpose. Each ritual is an offering to our tired souls and a subtle acknowledgment of our interconnectedness. Which ritual is your favorite slow winter wellness practice?


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