Are you a little winter-weary? Perhaps pining for long, balmy days that can seem like a distant memory when the seasonal chill sets in? We know the feeling. Which is why we’re sharing five of our favourite warming rituals to help you throw off the doona and embrace the season.
Winter blues be gone.
Crisp, sunny weather is perfect for the ancient Japanese art of shinrin-yoku (or ‘forest bathing’). A simple tonic to the stresses of everyday life, forest bathing involves nothing more than a gentle walk through a natural or ‘wild’ area. Japanese studies revealed a soul-stirring, two-hour session can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase energy levels, and more. Sounds good to us.
So, where to try? A mindful, rugged-up roam through a rainforest, national park, or forest trail is ideal. Keep the emphasis on slowing down the experience so you can really connect with the environment and soak up the birdsong. Oh, and don’t hold back if you feel like hugging a tree — forest bathing is all about switching off your phone and engaging the five senses.
We're reading: The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnect with Wild Places & Rejuvenate Your Life by Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Are your hands feeling less than heavenly? Given their treatment of late, it’s hardly surprising. First, the intense washing and rewashing required of Covid-19. So. Much. Sanitiser. Then, the harsh, drying air of winter (never a friend to soft, supple skin in general). It all adds up to dehydrated, rough, and even chapped skin that can’t be hidden under a pair of socks or disguised beneath a jumper.
To give hands the help they need, start with prevention. From donning a pair of washing-up gloves to keeping up your daily SPF, even when the temperature drops. Next, mask the problem. Yes, a nourishing mask that includes a gentle exfoliation (such as Atonement Superfood Clay Face Mask) will slough away dead cells and reveal the radiant skin beneath. Note: skip this step for cracked or broken skin.
Finally, moisturise those mitts regularly. We boost our morning routine with a few drops of Illumino Youth Serum then stash a rich hand cream in our bags to replenish throughout the day. At night, Relax & Nourish Organic Body Oil layered under a deeply nourishing balm helps hydrate and restore while we rest.
Changed up your winter skincare yet? Find out how here
Our home is our sanctuary, especially in the depths of winter. Elevate the experience by creating a dedicated space (ideally in the sunshine or by the fire) to retreat and enjoy a regular moment of self-care or calm.
A favourite chair or day bed layered with cushions and throws will invite you to curl up with a good book, unwind with meditation, or even phone a friend. It can also be a motivating space where ideas flow, so keep your journal handy. Add a sweet treat and a mug of masala chai (see below) and you have the makings of a winter ritual you’ll want to take well into spring.
When it comes to creating a deliciously authentic masala chai, Natalie from ethical fashion brand Tulasii, who works with Indian artisans for much of her gorgeous slow-fashion range and spent much of the past decade going back and forth says:
“Masala Chai on a winter’s morning always takes me straight back to my beloved India. It’s memories of rooftop mornings in Rajasthan, drinking steaming cups of spicy and sweet tea to the sounds of distant morning prayers. Or stopping by a tea stand in the bustling bazaar to sit and watch the world go by as the chai wallah (tea maker) expertly boils and pours steaming chai into traditional little clay cups to be sipped and savoured.
“Over the years, and with many trips to and from India in between, I’ve learned to master this basic recipe for authentic Masala Chai to make at home. It’s the perfect Winter drink to snuggle up with and dream of the day we get to travel again!”
Bring water and milk to a simmer with all of the spices in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, and then add the tea leaves. Steep the brew for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a cup and stir in some extra sugar or honey to taste.
Love a bath? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear a steamy soak can promote relaxation and a good night’s sleep. A 2019 report by biomedical engineers at the University of Texas at Austin found a well-timed 40˚C bath (think very warm to comfortably hot) can help people fall asleep faster. Known as water-based passive body heating, it’s excellent news for the insomniacs among us — especially on a cold winter’s evening.
Tap into your body’s circadian clock (which helps regulate sleep and body temperature) by scheduling a dreamy dip about 90 minutes before bedtime. Up the day spa feel with scented candles and bath oils, a pampering face mask, and a soothing cup of herbal tea. If muscle recovery is on your mind, try a tension-busting magnesium soak and moisturise as soon as you step out. We use Relax & Nourish Organic Body Oil for its skin-softening benefits and calming blend of neroli, jasmine, lavender, frankincense, and rose essential oils.
Did you know? A luxurious body oil can double as bath oil (and you’ll only need a few drops).
Words by Nicole Deuble