Drink this tea, purchase this fancy tool, spend money on this powder, go to a retreat, buy this membership… According to the wellness industry, there are one thousand and one things we need to stay healthy. And most of the time, these things involve spending money.
With self-care and wellness tools pushed on us 24/7, I’ve noticed most of us have forgotten the basics. Of course teas, potions, memberships, and products can be super productive for improving your health; but they’re not the only ways to keep well.
While our winter woollies creep into the front of our wardrobes and getting out of our steamy showers becomes more difficult every day, it’s important to take our wellness back to basics.
Without overthinking it, here are five easy ways to stay well during winter without spending money.
I’ll let you in on a secret. My friends call me ‘Reclining Kate’. At 9pm every night, I start to shut down and I don’t fight the feeling. Why? Because sleep is my superpower to good health.
Depriving yourself of sleep is so bad for our health that ‘going the longest without sleep’ was struck from the Guinness Book of World Records to ensure it wasn’t encouraged! Meanwhile, humans are the only species who knowingly deprive themselves of sleep – you can find these and more other interesting sleep stats in Matthew Walker’s book ‘Why We Sleep’.
Good sleep patterns can be difficult to achieve when life gets in the way, but understanding the importance of sleep and trying your best to improve sleeping patterns will drastically improve your health. Throughout winter your body generally craves more sleep too. Just go with it!
P.S. If you do struggle with sleep and need some assistance, Oh Natural has some great goodies in their ‘relax and sleep’ category.
Breathing is another silly sounding tip, but it’s another basic tool we can all use to stay well during winter without spending money. Breathing doesn’t have to look like daily yoga or meditation (although both things I personally recommend). Productive breathing can involve one minute of conscious breath while you sit on the bus or wait for your partner to get ready. You could look into breathing methods, like Wim Hof’s, or set an alarm on your phone every day to check in on the consistency of your breath.
As you read this, chances are you became conscious of your breathing. It’s also likely you haven’t taken a deep breath for a while, and you inhaled deeply after realising. See how good conscious breathing feels already? Imagine if you did that every day.
Only run if you want to, only work out if it’s something you like doing, and understand that moving isn’t about exercise or gaining muscle. Movement is good for all facets of our health and the way we like to move is different for everyone.
At the moment, gyms are pushing sales and encouraging people to get on top of their ‘winter bodies’. Gyms can be a great way to stay fit and social during winter, but it’s not the only way to benefit from moving your body.
Walking, sitting, stretching, lawn games, running, playing with the kids, biking, are all valid forms of movement that foster wellness. You’ll reap physical and mental wellness benefits from any sort of movement! And I mean any…. wink, wink…
Photo by Nectar Photography.
When the weather makes it less enticing to sit on the beach, hang out at the park, and attend outdoor concerts, it’s easy to turn into a hermit and live in a Netflix cave. Netflix caves aren’t always unhealthy! But as winter continues, unsocial habits can become detrimental to our health.
Make an effort to invite friends over for dinner and take turns hosting. Visit the art gallery, browse the library, go to the museum, play an indoor sport, or get involved in your local community centre. These activities are generally free for locals and can be enjoyed rain or shine!
If you’re more of a homebody or your friends live overseas, host a Zoom party or regular catch up call with friends. Have your dinner together through a computer screen, or book in regular times for a phone call every week. You’ll be amazed at how a quick conversation with a friend can fight the winter blues.
Winter can be stagnant. Cold. Empty. Slow. Use the extra housebound time to learn something new and keep your brain warm, full, and quick! Learn a new skill on Youtube or find a free online course that teaches you something new. Take it further and enlist your friends to join you!
I’ve personally signed up to an online hot composting course and a Māori language programme too (although these particular courses weren’t free, they came at minimal cost and I’ve enjoyed many helpful free workshops before). With so many free online courses available, it’s so easy to upskill – and winter is the best time for it!
Wellness is always important, but during winter it’s harder to maintain. No one ever gets the right balance; simply try your best to sleep, breathe, move, socialise, and learn in a way that works for you.
Stay well, save money, and make the most of the gloomy weather!
This blog article was lovingly written by Kate Hall from Ethically Kate