How To Engage In Self-Care Through The Seasons
2020 was a heck of a year!
All the more reason why it’s so important to make time to manage your stress before your stress manages you and start your new year off right by engaging in self-care. After all, self-care provides a way of managing your stress before your stress manages you.
One of the things that I really appreciate about self-care is how versatile it can be. You can change up your routine as much as you want, and you can choose whatever activities speak to you. Because of this, I believe that there’s no reason why you can’t practice self-care each and every day no matter where you live or what season is. So, in this post, I’m going to talk about self-care through the seasons and look at activities specifically suited for each season; and then as a bonus, I’ll discuss an activity that is inexpensive and can be done no matter what season you’re in.
Read on for some of the ways you can make self-care work through all the different seasons:
Here in NYC, during the winter, it’s freezing and there’s limited sunshine. Living with those conditions can negatively affect one’s mental and physical health. That’s why self-care should be a priority during the cold months. Here are two ways to keep the winter blahs away and take care of yourself in the process.
Create a cozy space – Light some candles, put up string lights on the wall, crank up your aromatherapy machine and line your couch with fuzzy blankets. Make yourself a soothing space that you can relax into at the end of the day.
Have a Spa Night – In the middle of winter, there is nothing like pampering yourself with a face mask, body wrap, foot scrub etc. Allow yourself to relax. Soak up the warmth of a bubble bath while reading a good book or keep lotions on hand to help your skin feel soft and moisturized.
Read a good book - When was the last time you picked up a good book and read it just for fun? Wintertime is a great time to stay in where it’s warm (in your cozy space) and relax reading your favorite genre.
When the cold gray skies and gloomy days turn into sunshine and flowers, you know that Spring has sprung! This is the time to get outside, breathe fresh air and refine your self-care routine to ensure that it keeps you happy and healthy. Here are two ways to refresh and revitalize yourself this time of year.
Go Outside – This one is pretty obvious. After being a prisoner in your house all winter long, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to have fun in the sun. Consider immersing yourself in nature either by exploring someplace you’ve never been or by going to one of your favorite nature spots. At the very least, you should make an effort to take a short walk daily.
Declutter Your Space – As they say, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Springtime is a great time to refresh your home by getting rid of anything you no longer have use for – clothing, books, toys, household items, etc. Consider selling your extra stuff online, have a yard sale and make a little extra cash or simply donate your things. Letting go of those things that you don’t need helps you make room for the more important things in life.
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter – Spring is a great time to visit and/or volunteer at your local animal shelter. Being in service to others, our animal friends included, is one of the most powerful forms of self-care. You’re allowing yourself the time to do something you enjoy, while contributing to the greater good. Spending time with all those cute fur babies while helping your community out in the process – that’s a win-win in my book and helps soothe your self-care soul.
Summertime, summertime! The days are longer, the weather is warmer, the sun is shining brightly that means that summertime fun must be upon us. For your self-care you should enjoy the season and take advantage of all opportunities for stress management.
Start a garden – Whether you have a large space or small one, gardening – watching the beauty of nature unfurl in front of you, is one of the most satisfying and soothing self-care activities you can do. If you don’t have a big year where you’re able to enjoy the beautiful weather while you play in the dirt, get a container garden. You’ll still be able to reap the rewards of flowers or healthy fruits and vegetables by bringing more beauty into the world.
Plan a vacation (or staycation): Summer is a great time for family adventures. Create a list of all the activities you’d like to do and start planning. Explore the sights in your own hometown and stay overnight in a local hotel. Take a road trip or plan a weekend getaway. Give yourself something to get excited about over the next few months.
Dance Your Heart Out – There’s nothing more fun than blasting some music and having a dance party in your living room. This is a great summertime activity because many of us are naturally more active in the summer. Make an uplifting playlist of your favorite tracks and set aside 5, 10 or 15 minutes each day to get your body moving and your blood pumping. Just dance and don’t worry about looking silly, this is your own personal dance party and a judgment free zone. Just let yourself feel the music and notice how it shifts your mood. Dancing is a beautiful form of self-care and a great way to destress and give yourself a bit of fun.
There’s plenty to love about the Fall season – crisp air, pumpkin spice (!), sweaters, football and colorful autumn leaves. It’s a great time to unwind and relax from the go, go, go summer activities, and listen to what your mind and body truly need.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch or go apple picking – Nothing says fall fun like a trip to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Stroll through rows upon rows of pumpkins or apple trees while you pick out your perfect fruits. Jump on a hayrack ride or take a walk through the corn maze. Enjoy the fall colors and soak up the last bits of warm afternoon sunshine.
Start Cooking/Baking – Especially if you’ve gone to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard, fall is a perfect time to cook or bake some of your favorite fall comfort food. Bake some bread or make up a big pot of chili. Get cozy in the kitchen and nourish your body with all your healthy fall favorites.
Listen to a Podcast - No matter what topics you’re interested in – business, sports, crafting, entertainment, politics, self-help – you name it, there is a podcast out there that covers it. Podcasts are a great way to broaden your perspective and learn something new in the process. They’re a great fall activity.
Here's a bonus self-care activity that you can do no matter what the season:
There’s no shame in allowing yourself time for pure entertainment or just to do nothing at all. Sleep in sometimes. Binge watch your favorite show, play a video game or put on some YouTube videos that make you laugh. Don’t worry about your to-do list. We get so caught up in being productive ALL the time that we sometimes forget to stop and have a little fun. Clear your schedule and do something that makes YOU happy, just because.
When it comes to practicing self-care all year long, your options are limitless. It’s really about knowing what works for you to help you relax and making sure to change up your routine as often as you need or want to through the changing of the seasons.
Let’s talk – What’s your favorite season and what’s your favorite self-care activity to do in that season? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In