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8 Ways to Practice Self-Care This Winter

Self-care is important during every season, but in the winter it can be even more key to your happiness. Between shortened daylight hours and worsening weather, there are many things that might bring you down, which is when self-care is the most important. Below are a few ways that you can practice self-care during the coldest season of the year.

1. Have a Spa Day

Whether you go out for a spa day or stay at home, there's nothing that feels more like self-care than getting a facial, a massage, or a wax. If you are getting a wax, it's a good idea to take an OTC pain reliever 30 to 45 minutes before your appointment to help with discomfort. Other than that, spa treatments are usually centered on making you not only look better afterward but also feel better.

If you don't want to spend time going to a spa for a treatment, you can always create an at-home spa experience. To mimic the zen feeling that you get at the spa, dim the lights in your bathroom, put on some calm instrumental music, and put your phone somewhere out of reach. Even if you're just giving yourself a manicure or taking a moment to do a face mask, creating a spa environment can really help calm you down, which is what self-care is all about.

2. Visit a Pop-Up Shop

If retail therapy is more your speed, you should try visiting any pop-up shops that might be in your area. Pop-up shops are a fun trend where businesses pop-up in a spot where they don't have a permanent store, and a range of different business types are known to have them. Pop-up shops can differ in how long they're open and the type of structure they're in, so make sure to check out what's in your town or city to find out if there's one near you.

If there aren't any pop-up shops, you can always try out another store that's in a fun structure, like an old church or a recycled shipping container. Shipping container stores became a trend after Starbucks opened a store in one in 2011, and they can be found in many different locations. Mixing it up and trying out a new store that you haven't been to can really invigorate you and add some spice to your shopping.

3. Journal

Journalling is a great thing to do when you're feeling very overwhelmed and stressed. Take ten minutes to write out all of the things that are bothering you, and then try to counter it by writing down a handful of things that make you happy or that you're grateful for. Getting the chance to write down all of your thoughts can help you get a grip on what exactly you need to get done and how you can start tackling your problems. This can really help you take care of all the things worrying you without them getting out of control.

4. Take a Bath

Baths are a great form of self-care if they're something you like. Something about lighting some candles, getting a cup of tea (or wine), putting on some relaxing music or your favorite show, and sinking into a nice hot tub can really make all your worries seem to melt away. If you're worried about using up all the hot water because of your bath habit, you can look into a tankless water heater, since they can last up to 20 years and work for large families that need a lot of hot water quickly. They are an investment, but not having to feel stressed that you're taking all the hot water every time you take a bath may be worth it.

If you're feeling sore from exercise or shoveling your driveway, you can also add in some Epsom salts to really help the water work through that soreness. Adding in some bubble bath, a bath bomb, or some bath oils can also make your time spent in the tub more luxurious and relaxing.

5. Get Light Exposure

One of the worst parts of the winter is the short daylight hours. If you're guilty of sitting in a room while it slowly gets dark around you, try to turn on lights as soon as the daylight starts to fade. Sitting in the dark can be fun sometimes, like if you're having a movie marathon, but as a whole, it can be a bit depressing if you're just going about your daily tasks. If you get the chance to get outside for some sunlight, even if it's blocked by clouds, that can also be very helpful.

6. Enjoy a Fun Seasonal Drink

Winter is known for some fun seasonal drinks, from hot chocolate to mulled wine. Getting yourself your favorite seasonal beverage and taking just five minutes to really enjoy it can help your mood a lot. While you're taking your first few sips, really savor the taste and the feeling of it. Whether that's a sip of hot chocolate after a chilly trip outdoors, some mulled wine on a Saturday night, or your usual morning iced coffee with some peppermint flavor in it, you can take a few minutes to enjoy your drink and make it a special moment for yourself.

7. Get a Flu Shot

While this is a different form of self-care, it's still a very important one. Since the flu shot protects against the strains of the flu that scientists believe are most likely to be present during flu season, you'll be protected all flu season long from this common illness. Being sick with the flu can take you out of commission for days or even weeks, which will only cause more stress in your life. That's why the best option is to just get a flu shot and avoid the stress and time-consumption of the flu.

8. Go For a Walk

Even if it's chilly out, getting out for a 15 to 20-minute walk can really help you destress. Moving your body helps release endorphins, and if you take your walk during the day, you'll get a little bit of sunlight, which can help with your mood. You can take a walk through a local park or even just around your neighborhood -- you get the same benefits either way!

Taking some time to care for yourself is important during the winter, and these ideas can help you find a place to start.

What's your favorite form of self-care? Let us know in the comments!

Head of Content, reality TV watcher and lover of cookies. emma@shared.com