We spend months preparing for the holidays, and then they’re over in a day or two, leaving us feeling sad and empty.
The post holiday blues is a common experience for many people. Once the festivities of the holiday season are done, what else is there to look forward to? If you live in a cold climate like me, the months of January and February are often the coldest and dreariest, making us want to stay in and hibernate.
Instead, try one of these five activities to help get rid of the common post holiday blues.
Take a Vacation
Obviously one of the best ways to get away from the harsh winter is to escape somewhere hot. January boasts some of the best deals on getaways, specifically targeted at those suffering from a case of the post holiday blues. Spending a few days at an all inclusive resort can do wonders for your mental health.
But a post holiday vacation is not practical nor affordable for everyone. You can still take advantage of the benefits of a vacation, though. Book a hotel room for a weekend or go on a road trip if the weather’s not too bad. Visit a local ski hill or try an ice fishing expedition. Having some weekend activities planned for January and February can help tackle the post holiday blues by giving you something else to look forward to.
Plan a Hygge Weekend or Party
Or a stay-cation, if you will. If going out in the winter just isn’t your thing, then consider planning a hygge weekend instead. If you’re not familiar with hygge, it’s the Danish way of living that includes lots of warmth, coziness and indulgence (click here to read all about it).
You can cuddle up by the fireplace with the family and drink hot chocolate. Or if you’re up for it, plan a hygge party! Invite all your family and friends over for a relaxing night of cake and laughter. Everyone can wear their comfiest pajamas and cozy socks. You can all sit around playing board games and binge eating sweets. What better way for you and all your loved ones to recover from the holidays together?
Try an Outdoor Spa Experience
Winter is the perfect time for an outdoor spa day. Sitting in a hot tub can get really hot, really quickly… unless you’re sitting outside in the cold. There are special thermotherapy spas popping up in colder climates now, inspired by the Scandinavian way of life. These often include a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities and they are complete bliss on colder days.
Or look into visiting a hot spring resort. If you don’t live near one, check if any local gyms, clubs or hotels offer outdoor pools or spas. Saunas are another great option for an outdoor spa experience and are quite popular in the winter.
If you can’t locate an outdoor spa near to you, then just head to your regular spa. Any kind of pampering and self care will help you beat those post holiday blues and improve your overall mental health.
Deep Clean Your Home
I know this one sounds more like a chore. But staying distracted and keeping busy is a great way to avoid symptoms of depression and anxiety. Over the holidays, you’ve likely acquired a whole bunch of new stuff. That makes the months after the holidays the perfect time to purge all of your old stuff.
Start with one room a day (or week) and go through all the junk that’s been shoved into closets and into drawers. Donate or sell whatever you can and throw out the rest. By the time spring comes around, you’ll have a nice clean home on the inside, so you can focus just on the outside.
Minimizing your junk and living in a clean home is great for your mental health. Plus, it will give you a real sense of purpose and discourage you from feeling lazy and unproductive all winter long.
Make a Big Change
New year, new you right? While I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, making a drastic change or trying something new in your life can definitely get rid of the post holiday blues. Don’t focus on how sad you are that the holidays are over, look towards the future instead.
January is a great time for planning. Print off our free 2020 calendar and start penciling in all your important dates. See where you can make some changes to your routine or schedule. Or perhaps the change could be something physical, like changing your hair color or style, makeup routine or getting into shape.
Consider changing something in your environment as well. You could paint your walls, change up your furniture or even get a new car. Make some new friends, sign up for a class or start a new hobby. Something new or different for the New Year will make you feel proud and excited for what’s ahead.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is a Scandinavian-style spa in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Focused around the concept of “thermotherapy,”Thermëa is a secluded getaway located in the heart of the city of Winnipeg. Like many other spas, you can get massages, facials and other body treatments performed by licensed professionals. But there is one thing that sets Thermëa apart from your average day spa. It’s called The Thermal Experience.
Jess and I got the opportunity to check out Thermëa for ourselves and explore the unique benefits of this outdoor spa. Janis, Thermëa’s marketing director, gave us an exclusive tour of The Thermal Experience, as a crowd gathered outside waiting for the spa doors to open. Despite the spa being at maximum capacity that day, it wasn’t crowded and the mystical steam rising up over the outdoor pools provided a sense of separation from the other guests.
Read more about all the benefits of thermotherapy, and why it’s an awesome form of self care for moms.
What is Thermotherapy?
Thermotherapy is a type of physical and psychological therapy powered by temperature.Heat therapy is known to have many benefits, and has been used by medical professionals, physical therapists and athletes for decades. The process of alternating heat and cold is known to speed up recovery in cases of muscle injury. A rapid change in body temperature can also eliminate toxins from the body, increase blood circulation, relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
Thermëa offers a unique way to experience the benefits of thermotherapy. The outdoor spa is a beautiful maze of pools, saunas, steam rooms and various indoor and outdoor rest areas – all available for use with one daily pass. The Scandinavian style of the spa, with it’s minimalist wood and stone elements, fit perfectly against the backdrop of Winnipeg’s ever-changing weather. The bare trees and snow covered ground made it feel like a mountain-top retreat away from the noise of everyday life.
As breath-taking as the grounds of Thermëa are, they’re not just for show. The layout is actually designed to encourage guests to follow the 3 Step Thermal Cycle.
The first step in the thermal cycle is to heat things up. Exposing the body to heat helps to open up the pores and causes you to sweat out all the bad toxins in your body. There are two dry saunas and two steam rooms to choose from for the heat cycle.
The popular Finlandia dry sauna holds Aufguss rituals every hour, during which a staff member infuses the stones with ice and essential oils and then uses towels to circulate the hot air and steam around the room. These sessions do get crowded, so make sure you get there early to choose a spot. And keep in mind that the higher up you sit, the hotter it gets and the faster you’ll sweat it out.
The two steam rooms are located in the Vaporo building, one infused with eucalyptus, the other with orange essential oils. The steam in the rooms is incredibly dense and as soon as you walk in the door you can feel it take over your entire body. After a cycle in the steam room, there are scented exfoliating salts available to scrub all over your body and a shower to rinse them off. This helps to get rid of dry skin and wash away the layer of gunk that you’ve just sweat out.
Most importantly, remember to drink lots of water, especially after a hot cycle! You will need to replace a lot of the fluid you’ll be sweating out. Throughout Thermëa you will find delicious flavor infused waters, and you are encouraged to bring your own plastic refillable water bottle. (Jess and I thought we were drinking enough water, but we didn’t, and ended up with headaches at the end of the day – so drink twice as much as you think you need!)
Once you’ve completed a hot cycle, you now need to expose your body to a cold temperature. This will improve your blood circulation, close up your pores, speed up your heart rate and boost your adrenaline levels. If you’re brave enough, plunge through the Polarbër pool which is extremely cold and works really fast. Or you can stand underneath the Icebër waterfall for a few seconds.
As shocking as the icy water might feel, try your best not to scream. The main areas of Thermëa are silent, and if you missed one of the hundreds of signs that say “whisper” a staff member will gently remind you (Jess took the liberty of testing that theory out for herself).
If you’re not a fan of submerging yourself into icy cold water, the Tempër pool is comfortable but still cool. If it’s a colder day outside, you can simply walk around or sit by one of the many fire pits instead. The cold cycle only needs a few seconds to work, but you can literally feel your heart start pumping and the adrenaline rushing through your veins.
And finally, our favorite part of the thermal cycle – the rest cycle. Resting after exposure to heat and then cold will turn all that adrenaline into endorphins. Increasing our endorphin levels can help relieve stress, improve our mental health and create an overall sense of calm and happiness.
The Gëser hot tub was, by far, the most popular resting spot on this cool spring day. There are also several outdoor areas, including Fläm, a little wooden cottage with a fire pit in the middle surrounded by Adirondack chairs and cozy blankets. One of the most unique features to relax in were the heated hammocks. You can zip yourself right into them and take a nap or just swing and relax in complete bliss. (In fact, some people were zipped up so snugly that it was hard to tell if there was anyone in there at all – the best way to tell is to look for empty flip flops on the ground!)
The Relaxa relaxation chalet consisted of two different areas. One had comfortable heated benches with tons of natural sunlight and was perfect for reading. It even had ropes to help you get comfortable in the seats without too much effort. The Tellura section was warm, dimly lit and stocked with heated mattresses, perfect for meditating or napping (which we totally did)! Just outside the room, you can help yourself to a variety of organic teas – supplied locally by Cornelia Bean.
The Restö on-site restaurant was another great place to relax while enjoying a gourmet meal made from locally sourced ingredients. If you’re visiting with friends, it’s one of the few places where you don’t need to whisper. There were several different places to sit but all the areas are heated and closed to the public so fine dining in a bathrobe was the ultimate luxury.
We choose to have our lunch in the newer lounge area and enjoyed the view through the floor to ceiling windows. These window panels actually open all the way up during the warmer months to provide a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience. Make sure to load up some money on your electronic bracelet when you check in so that you can dine at the restaurant wallet-free. (I highly recommend ordering a pitcher of the White Sangria!)
After you’ve had a sufficient rest period, you can begin the thermal cycle all over again. By completing the cycle three or more times, you can enjoy the maximum benefits of thermotherapy, as well as explore all the different features that Thermëa has to offer.
The facility is open from 9 am until 10 pm and guests are welcome to stay for the entire day. Interestingly enough, the atmosphere seemed to change constantly throughout the day. The early morning sunrise brought a sense of peace and serenity. By the early afternoon, it felt warm, sunny and uplifting. We ended our visit around 4 pm but would have loved to stay longer and see how beautiful the place is when it’s lit up at night.
There are no time limits, schedules or restrictions, which was a welcome change to our normally busy lives. You’re welcome to take a 2 hour nap in your favorite spot or hang out in the hot tub all day long if you want to. Everything is self-serve and you can wander throughout the grounds as you wish. It was clear that the staff worked hard to maintain the environment of peace and relaxation. They were constantly restocking, discreetly cleaning, tending to the fires and gently reminding everyone to keep their voices down.
Why is This So Good for Moms?
Thermëa is an amazing place for all adults, regardless of age, gender or physical limitations. But moms in particular can benefit greatly from using thermotherapy on a regular basis.
Both pregnant and postpartum moms can get relief from muscle aches and pains (obviously, check with your doctor first).
It tones the skin and increases elasticity, which will help restore post-pregnancy skin.
Encourages better sleep and helps ward off fatigue and exhaustion.
Reduces stress, anxiety and tension.
Increases mental clarity, concentration and memory.
Detoxifies the body which boosts the immune system. This is especially important for moms with school age kids who bring home all kinds of germs.
A spa day is the ultimate luxurious self care option for moms and a visit to Thermëa or one of Groupe Nordik’s other thermotherapy spas should be on every mom’s bucket list. After spending the day at Thermëa, including a hearty lunch and an afternoon nap, I felt completely renewed and refreshed. And as we drove away, I was simply counting down the days until I could return again.
For less than $60 CAD, you can spend an entire day enjoying The Thermal Experience, but make sure to arrive early, especially on weekends and holidays! To learn more about Thermëa, including accommodation packages and to purchase online gift certificates, visit their website https://www.thermea.ca/