20 Little Ways To Nurture Yourself This Winter

Wellness experts offer up their favorite secrets to feeling more vibrant, energetic, and balanced this season.

January 10, 2017
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Cold weather, gray skies, and post-holiday letdown got you feeling less than your best? No need to grin and bare it 'til spring. We asked the top wellness experts from around the country for tips on how to beat those winter blues and infuse a little energy and light into your life. Here, their 20 favorite ways to add a dose of happy to any old day.

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

doing laundry
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Savor A Good Smell

“Take a moment to enjoy a beautiful smell—a bottle of vanilla, a grapefruit, freshly laundered towels. Mindfully enjoying the fragrances of the world around us helps us to connect with our bodies and with the present moment.”
Happiness guru Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project

outdoor couple walking
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Move Your Body, Daily

“Take a walk outside. Even on the coldest, snowiest days, I find myself rejuvenated with a clearer focus after time outside. Thirty minutes to an hour works best for me. Plus, hot chocolate tastes even more delicious after a little frosty exercise!”
Allison Day, nutritionist, blogger and cookbook author of Whole Bowls and Purely Pumpkin

 

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foot massage
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DIY Foot Massage

“Massaging some sesame oil on the soles of your feet before bed will encourage restful sleep and keep your feet nice and soft.”
—Lorilee Gillmore, yoga teacher and owner of Moksha Ayurveda

Related: 7 Foam Rolling Moves For A DIY Massage That Feels Amazing

supplements
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Supplement Strategically

“Supplements with vitamin C and zinc, Echinacea, and goldenseal can enhance your immune system and shorten colds, as can your grandmother's chicken soup.”
Dr. Helen Lavretsky, professor of psychiatry at UCLA, Kundalini yoga teacher

humming
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Hum Away Stress

“Humming is an effective and easy way to relieve stress, clear the mind and balance emotions. Sit in a relaxed, upright position. With your lips together and eyes closed, take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. As you exhale, allow the breath to tickle through your throat creating a gentle hum. Continue humming that pitch for 3-5 minutes. Afterwards, sit quietly as your body and brain absorb the effects of the vibration.”
Stephanie Rooker, sound healing facilitator, founder of Voice Journey Sound Center 

 
 
mud mask
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Get Ritualistic

“I take care of myself through beauty rituals. Simply washing my face and taking care of my skin each morning and evening is an opportunity for me to practice self love and care.”
Kyle Miller, yoga teacher, co-founder of Love Yoga

Related: 5 Charcoal Detox Products You Need In Your Beauty Routine

lip balm
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Slather On A Nourishing Balm

“In the winter, our skin is subjected to dry and cold environments all day long. The best way to keep cracking and dryness away is to use a quality beeswax-based balm. The simpler the better—coco butter and beeswax are my favorite. Beeswax creates a second skin-like barrier from dry air while helping retain moisture. It can also help hydrate and repair any existing damage.”
Mary Harrington, creator of Mountainess handmade soaps

aromatherapy
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Get Into Aromatherapy

"I treat myself to a daily spritz of a bergamot and rose essential oil aromatherapy spray—it’s the perfect little mood-brightening kickstart during winter months. I spray it into my hands, cup my hands over my nose and mouth, and breathe in deeply. For a similar effect, add a drop of an energizing citrus essential oil—like bergamot, orange, lemon, or grapefruit—and rose essential oil, which has antidepressant properties, to an unscented hand lotion and go through the same motions."
—Kim Wong, creator of Frankie & Myrrh aromatherapy

 
 
herbal tea
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Sip On An Immune-Boosting Tea

“I can’t handle the harsh winds of winter without Spring Dragon Longevity Tea. This tea is caffeine free and contains six immune-boosting Chinese herbs that are simultaneously energizing and calming. I fill a thermos and carry it with me as I navigate the stressful city. One tea bag makes about 4 cups of tea; I add lemon and honey.”
Susanna Green, NYC-based massage therapist

Related: 9 Soothing Teas To Calm Nerves

relaxing on a mountain
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Be Still For A Few Minutes Each Day

“Nothing is ever figured out by figuring it out. Insights come in flashes, ah-ha moments and tiny breakthroughs. Go outside, sit under a tree and take a few minutes to notice what’s around you. Be aware of your breathing and the sounds around you. Engaging your mind in listening creates more space in between your thoughts for the genius to arise.”
Flower alchemist Katie Hess, founder of Lotus Wei, author of Flowerevolution

cup of tea
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Embrace Warm Liquids

“According to Chinese Medicine, much of our digestion occurs in our middle burner. The word burner implies there must be fire or heat for the digestive energetics to happen. So every morning, I begin the day with a glass of hot water. Throughout the day I drink hot liquids, such as green tea and herbal teas, to keep those digestive fires going. And I avoid ice or refrigerated water so as not to douse the fires.”
June Cheng, Chinese herbalist/acupuncturist in California

 
 
bathing
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Take More Baths

“Taking baths is one of my daily non-negotiables all winter long! Here is my special secret: While the bath is running, I prepare a magical mixture of ¼ cup sweet almond oil, ¼ cup sugar (or sea salt, but I love the sugar) and 5 drops of essential oils (I love a blend of sweet orange, ginger, and frankincense for winter). When the tub is full, I get in. While still standing, I give myself a full body massage with my sugary scrub. Then I lay all the way down in the tub and relax.”
Julie Wray, perfumer and creator of Olivine Atelier

oatmeal and yogurt
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Eat A Real-Food Breakfast

“Calm food anxiety and ditch the diet mentality that begins at the start of the year by eating first thing in the morning. It might sound cliché, but ‘eat a good breakfast’—a mix of protein, fat, and fiber—will help you shut down all hunger hormones and nourish your body from the inside out. Counting calories always backfires into a binge. Instead, eat real foods to satiety and you will stop fretting over food and the scale.”
Kelly LeVeque, LA-based holistic nutritionist

Related: 7 Easy Slow-Cooker Breakfasts

washing hair
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Make This DIY Hair Mask

“I love making calming hair masks on a winter day. In a non-metal bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons bentonite clay, 8 tablespoons water, 3 drops organic rosemary essential oil and 3 drops organic lavender essential oil, adding more water if needed to get a thick paste. Section your hair and apply the clay mixture from root to tip, massaging into the scalp. Let it sit 20-25 minutes, but do not let it harden (hard clay is harder to remove). Rinse with warm water, shampoo, and condition.”
Laurel Gallucci, co-founder of Sweet Laurel whole foods bakery

 
 
healing herbs
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Experiment With Herbal Fusions

“Minerals, minerals, minerals are what keep me hydrated, calm, balanced and glowing. I make herbal infusions every three days of red raspberry leaf, nettles, and yellow dock. This is an incredibly bio-available source of all the minerals we need. Sipping three warm cups daily will make your hair and nails grow strong, thick, and shiny. Add four tablespoons of each herb to an 8oz jar, pour boiling water over the herbs, then cap and let it sit for 4 hours. Then, simply warm up three cups a day for a mineral-rich soothing tea.”
Lacy Phillips, herbalist and manifestation guide

Related: DIY Herbal Hair-Care Products

warm lemon water
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Start Each Day With An Energizing Lemony Kick

“Start your day with warm lemon water. Upon waking, sip a mug of warm water with the juice of half a lemon to rehydrate, and help clear the skin and support the body’s immune system.”
Pamela Salzman, LA-based cooking instructor and holistic health counselor

acupuncture
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Try Acupuncture For A Mood Boost

“Getting the winter blues? Well, you’re not alone and it’s not all in your head. Many Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder due to lack of sunlight in winter.  Sunlight increases our ‘happy’ hormones. Acupuncture helps to balance hormone levels and can be an effective treatment for winter blues as well as other hormonal imbalances."
Shari Auth, massage therapist, Rolfer and acupuncturist in New York City

 
 
golden milk
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Make Golden Milk A Habit

“Try turmeric saffron tea—a slightly different take on trendy golden milk. Combine 2 cups water or milk, 2 tablespoons turmeric powder, 20 saffron threads, and 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or stevia to taste in a saucepan and simmer lightly for 10 minutes. Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you; it has profound proven biochemical merit for depression and stress.”
Chef and wellness guru Amanda Chantal Bacon, creator of Moon Juice and author of The Moon Juice Cookbook

Related: 5 Tasty Ways To Cook With Turmeric

healing herbs and spices
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Clear Sinuses With These Healing Spices

“The spices that are generally best during this season are garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and chili peppers. Even by drinking a tea boiled for five minutes with ½ teaspoon each of dried ginger, cinnamon, and clove will help to increase heat and circulation, and clean and clear respiratory passages.”
Lorilee Gillmore, yoga teacher and owner of Moksha Ayurveda

kayaking
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Scheme Your Next Escape

“Plan a winter escape. Sure, Jamaica would be nice, but even a day trip works. Just don’t book it and forget it—look forward to it! Science says vacation anticipation can make you smile as much as the trip itself.”
Allison Young, health and wellness writer

Related: Our Dream Vacation Picks For Eco-Friendly Airbnbs