15+ Self Care Ideas To Keep You Warm in the Winter

It can be tough to find the motivation for self care in the winter.

It’s in our nature to want to hibernate under the covers all winter long and avoid leaving the house.  But staying isolated and failing to take proper care of ourselves during the winter months can lead to bouts of seasonal depression.  Self care is important year round, so despite the miserable weather, we should always try to make time for it.

Here are a few ideas for self care in the winter that are sure to keep you feeling warm and cozy. 
Self Care Ideas in the Winter
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Light a Fire in the Fireplace

There’s no better way to warm up in the winter than sitting by the fireplace.  You can read, write, listen to music, watch your favorite movie or even just sit quietly and enjoy the crackling sound of the flames.  Flickering light is said to have a meditative effect on the mind which helps to reduce stress.  In some parts of the world, firelight is essential to the practice of hygge during the winter.

2. Relax by Candlelight

In the same way, dancing candlelight can help you relax as well.  Stock up on candles over the winter and light them whenever you get the chance.  Light a few in the kitchen while you’re cooking or dine by candlelight.  Keep one on your bedside table while you relax in bed or beside the tub while you soak.  Just remember not to fall asleep while they’re lit or leave them unattended, of course. 

Hygge Lifestyle
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3. Curl Up With a Cozy Blanket

Self care in the winter is all about wrapping yourself in warm, cozy blankets.  You may have several blankets in every room that you use, or maybe you have a favorite one that you practically live in.  The soft touch of a blanket wrapped around us helps us to feel safe and secure.  Being warm is also better for our blood circulation and improves our overall mood. 

4. Take a Hot Bath or Shower

Soaking in a hot bath or standing under a hot shower is a great way to warm up in the winter.  Try adding Epsom salts to the bath water for an added dose of magnesium.  Or throw in a few shower steamers filled with essential oils.  If you find that you prefer hot showers more frequently in the winter, make sure to use all natural products that will keep your hair and skin soft and moisturized without overloading on chemicals. 

5. Visit a Thermal Spa

If you haven’t already, check out a thermal spa in your area.  They are great places to visit in the colder months because you can access the full range of hot and cold.  Natural, mineral hot springs have healing waters that not only warm you up, but can provide relief from muscle and joint pains. 

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6. Get a Hot Stone Massage

Obviously any kind of massage therapy is a great way to practice self care in the winter.  But if you’re not a fan of deep tissue massage, try opting for a hot stone massage instead.  The warm volcanic rocks strategically placed on your body can loosen up tight muscles and reduce inflammation, stress and tension.  P.S. don’t forget to put SpaFinder gift cards on your wish list to use for this! 

7. Warm Up Your Feet

You can warm up your entire body simply by starting with the feet.  Warm feet will help you sleep better but if you’re not comfortable wearing socks to bed, try plugging in a heated mattress pad or blanket just at the foot of your bed.  Invest in a pair of ultra cozy socks or slippers to wear in the winter.  For added benefits, roll some essential oil blends onto the soles of your feet before slipping them into socks to absorb all the goodness.  

8. Sip Some Herbal Tea

Don’t forget to keep warm from the inside too!  Sipping on herbal tea is a great self care activity to do daily.   There are many health benefits of drinking green tea or just plain hot water with lemon.  But you can find herbal teas for almost any ailment these days.  There’s a reason why it’s such an integral part of any ancient culture. 

Fall Collection of 3 Teas ORGANIC Small Batch Hand image 0
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9. Visit a Steam Room

Many gyms or indoor pools give you access to a steam room so definitely take advantage of them in the winter.  Steam is a great way to detoxify the body, clean out the pores and help boost our immune systems.  It’s especially helpful to loosen things up when you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or chest congestion.  Just make sure to have a good shower and don’t forget to exfoliate and moisturize afterwards to get rid of all the toxins you’ve just sweat out. 

10. Go for a Run

Staying active is one of the most important self care practices in the winter.  It’s all too easy to neglect our bodies when they’re always covered up.  So bundle up and go for a run around the neighborhood.  You might start off feeling cold, but the longer you go, the warmer you’ll get.  Or run indoors on a treadmill.  It’s important to get your heart rate up at least once a day, which will improve your blood circulation to keep you warm all over. 

11. Do Some Yoga Stretches

Meditative yoga is another great form of self care in the winter.  Despite it’s slow and concentrated movements, you will work up quite a sweat holding those positions.  Stretching daily will help our bones and muscles from getting weak over the winter months, when we might not as be as active.  

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12. Spend Time in a Sauna

Similar to steam rooms, saunas can be found at most gyms, indoor pool areas or spas.  The dry heat of a sauna focuses directly on helping you sweat out toxins in your body.  You can even find places that offer hot yoga, which is a yoga class done entirely in a sauna for added benefits.  Search SpaFinder to see locations near you that offer these specific type of services.  

13. Bake Something Warm and Delicious

Baking is a great winter activity, especially around the holidays.  But don’t do it out of necessity or you’ll just stress yourself out.  Bake just for the fun of it.  Having a warm oven on will heat up the whole house and the delicious smells coming from it are an entirely different form of aromatherapy.  And then go ahead and indulge.  Use the real chocolate and the full fat cream and don’t skimp on the sprinkles.

14. Make a Pot of Soup

Nothing warms you up faster in the winter than a delicious bowl of hot soup.  Soup days are perfect and easy for those dreary days when you’re stuck in the house.  Or have a pot ready to go for when you get in from being outside in the cold all day.  Try making a bone broth from scratch or get the kids to help you make an easy veggie soup.  Soup is a winter time staple but also light and healthy. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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15. Knit a Scarf

The winter months are a great time to start a new project.  With all the extra time spent indoors, you’ll need something to keep you occupied or you’ll end up with a bad case of cabin fever.  Knitting a scarf, hat or mittens for yourself, your kids or a loved one is a great place to start.  Or work on some other form of art therapy.  Creating something will give you a sense of pride and boost your confidence.  Depending on how good your skills are, you can even give some away as handmade Christmas presents. 

16. Cuddle With Someone You Love

Finally, the best way to stay warm this winter is to spend lots of time cuddled up with the ones you love.  Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness like postpartum depression or just a case of the winter blues, nothing heals better than a hug.  You’ll stay warm simply by sharing body heat, and you’ll get a mood boost from spending time with others.  So this winter, if you plan to hibernate indoors, make sure you’ve got someone to spend it with and find ways to take care of yourself while still keeping warm.


What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat it?

It’s natural to feel like hibernating when cold weather comes along, but it can also be a symptom of something more complex.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD, Seasonal Depression or the Winter Blues, can affect anyone during the winter months (and rarely, even in the summer).  It’s a type of depression that is triggered by the change of the seasons and everything that comes with it.  The lack of daylight, colder weather, and the increased amount of time spent indoors can all make a person feel depressed.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and seek treatment for them.  Whether you suffer from another type of depression already or this is the only time you experience depressive symptoms, don’t ignore it or brush it off as something minor.  Putting up with it for a few months may be a good enough treatment for a while, but depression can be unpredictable.  Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and while it might sound extreme, seasonal affective disorder can fall into that category.

Here are seven different ways that you can treat seasonal affective disorder this winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Exposure to Light

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The most common treatment for seasonal affective disorder is light therapy.  Since winter is associated with a reduced amount of daylight, it’s believed that this alone can cause seasonal affective disorder in otherwise healthy people.  It also explains why it’s more common in those who live farthest away from the equator.

Regular exposure to bright light is a great way to help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.  You can purchase one specifically designed for light therapy such as this pyramid shaped one, or this compact travel sized one.  But you don’t need to purchase a special light to reap the benefits of light therapy.  You can simply keep more lights on in the house and switch to LED daylight bulbs instead.

And don’t underestimate the power of pure sunlight.  While it’s true that too much sun can damage your skin, sun exposure has several benefits as well.   Once daylight savings time ends, the hours of sunlight in the winter are limited.  So make it a point to soak up as much of it as you can. 

Get outside in the sunlight as often as possible, even if it’s a cloudy day.  Exposure to natural sunlight can help boost the production of serotonin, which will make you feel a little less depressed.


2. Eat The Right Foods

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One symptom of seasonal affective disorder is a craving for carbohydrates and sugary, sweet foods which often results in weight gain.  But choosing the right foods can actually help treat seasonal depression.  Complex carbs such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and beans will still satisfy the craving without the added sugar.

You should also try to eat several foods that contain tryptophan, which can increase serotonin levels. These include foods such as turkey, eggs, salmon, nuts and pineapple.  You can also opt for a synthetic tryptophan supplement such as 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan.

Coffee is something that many people, myself included, depend on to get us through each day.  But too much caffeine can actually stop our bodies from producing enough serotonin.  So while a cup a day is acceptable, try to avoid relying on it too much.

If you’re struggling to eat right, then consider adding an all-natural supplement into your daily routine.  Making a simple change to your overall nutrition can work wonders for your mood and energy levels.


3. Aromatherapy

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The use of essential oils and aromatherapy is a popular one for treating depression including seasonal affective disorder.  Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our brains.  By using the right combinations of scents, we can feel happier and healthier with very little effort.

You can find blends that make you feel energized, relaxed, and reduce tension and stress for a clearer mind.  You can even splurge on an entire set of different scents so that you can choose a different one each day.

Aromatherapy can also help to treat symptoms of insomnia, which can reduce the production of serotonin. By incorporating essential oils into your everyday self-care routine, you can help keep symptoms of seasonal affective disorder under control.


4. Take A Vacation

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For many regular sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, a winter vacation is an annual tradition.  Having something to look forward to in the winter can help to ease depressive symptoms.  Make sure to choose a location closer to the equator, so that you’re guaranteed plenty of sunshine.

But you don’t have to go somewhere hot and sunny to help treat seasonal affective disorder.  A spa vacation is another way to beat the winter blues.  You can find a spa close to home and still experience a get-away.  Relaxing at a spa and getting massaged and pampered can give you the boost you need to make it through the winter.   Check out Spa Finder for some awesome spa packages!

The only downside to a vacation is that it doesn’t last forever.  The idea of coming back to the dreary winter after a vacation can cause seasonal affective disorder to hit an all time high.  So make the most of your time away, take plenty of pictures and soak in enough sunshine to get you through to the spring.


5. Get Physical Indoors

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In the summer time, we’re almost always outdoors doing something.  But in winter, it becomes much more of a chore and can even be dangerous to spend an extended period of time outside.  This sudden drop in our activity levels and the lack of fresh air can contribute to seasonal affective disorder.

Put some extra effort into getting physical indoors.  You can join a gym or sign up for fitness classes.  Swim laps at a local indoor pool or simply walk around the mall.  Try out a dance class or start taking yoga.  There are several things that you can do indoors when the weather isn’t great outside, it just takes a little bit more effort.

Being more (or just as) physical during the winter months as you are in the summer can help eliminate that sudden mood drop when the seasons change.  Plus, exercise is a great way to boost endorphin levels, which is an important mood booster!


6. Practice Hygge

Hygge Lifestyle
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Hygge, pronounced ‘HOO-gah’ is a Danish way of life that’s recently become popular in Western culture.  It basically refers to anything that makes you feel cozy and comfortable.  It’s a simple concept that you’ve probably done before without even realizing.  The Danish people have incorporated it into all aspects of their lifestyle and make it a priority, especially in the cooler months.

The nice thing about hygge is that there is no exact science to it.  The main goal is to find things that make you feel comfortable, warm and happy and make them a priority in your life.  Imagine sitting by a warm fire, cuddled up in a soft blanket with a hot cup of tea.  That’s hygge.  Or what about binge-watching Netflix and eating popcorn in your pajamas with your best friend?  Also hygge.

Making time to practice hygge during the cold, winter months could drastically boost your mood and actually give you something to look forward to. 

7. Speak to a Professional

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Just like any other mental illness, seasonal affective disorder can have a big impact on your life.  Just because it goes away for part of the year doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.  If you’re struggling hard, then consider speaking to a therapist or another health care professional.

Cognitive behavior therapy and anti-depressant medications are available specifically to treat seasonal affective disorder.  You can find a therapist online to help you get through this winter and all the future ones.

It’s never too late to start seeking help for seasonal affective disorder.  If you realize that this happens to you every year, then be proactive at the end of the summer and take steps to prepare for the grey months ahead.


Treating seasonal affective disorder can feel like we’re fighting our very nature.  Like bears who sense the call to hibernate, we stock up on snacks, crawl into bed and dream of sleeping until the snow melts.  But if we did that, we’d miss out on a lot of life.  Don’t let seasonal affective disorder keep you from enjoying life, especially around the holidays.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder