Confession: February is probably my least favorite month of the year.
The holidays are over, my pants are too tight from holiday indulging, my wallet is at an all-time low and the weather outside is less than ideal.
I ride the struggle bus this month, to be sure, and I know I am not alone — seasonal affective disorder peaks in the winter months — but these dreary winter months can have a silver lining.
The slower winter months are an ideal — if not essential — time to practice self-care habits.
In last month’s “Sweet Simplicity” column, I wrote about carving out time for meaningful self-care in the New Year.
I love resolutions, but I tend to deflect them to February — call it part of my procrastinating nature!
If you are looking for ways to practice that meaningful self- care — here are some of my favorite resources to get started.
• Point. Click. Relax: We have all read about the health benefits of yoga- better circulation, posture, increased overall well-being and energy.
I don’t know about you but sometimes my calendar and bank account prevent me from making it to a class — not to mention my intense phobia of wearing exercise clothes in public.
While it isn’t the same as the studio, there are some worthy apps for newbies and experts alike that you can put on your smartphone or tablet device.
Reviews are solid for “Five Minute Yoga” (great for beginners) and “Pocket Yoga.”
If you are looking for a non-Yoga way to declutter your mind and reduce anxiety — or just the effects of that late afternoon coffee, there are some great meditation apps out there as well!
Consider Pzizz and Sleep Cycle to help calm your mind and get a better night of sleep!
• Get Moving: One of my resolutions each year is to get to the gym and make a regular fitness routine part of my regular schedule.
Due to lots of factors — affordability, time, family and work commitments — I can never make this particular resolution stick.
If you are like me and the idea of driving across town to your local gym isn’t working for you, why not try a simplified and potentially more affordable option?
There are lots of exercise programs on demand that can make fitness a little easier and a little more accessible for even the busiest folks.
Of course, you should always have your doctor’s OK before beginning any workout routine — and while nothing will take the place of a personal trainer or live person, having an on-demand option on your TV or smart device at 5 a.m. is a great alternative that certainly beats hitting the snooze alarm.
Start small — a 10- or 15-minute workout or adding a fitness tracker to increase your steps.
These baby steps will get you in the habit of moving and will build your strength, stamina and confidence to either add more rigourous activities or a live class at your favorite gym or fitness session.
Some of ,y favorite options out there are Team Beachbody’s Beachbody on Demand program, which is a paid subscription that gives you access to a huge range of programs to help you match up to a trainer and workout that you are comfortable with.
Fiit and Plankk offer free programs and workouts — with an opportunity to purchase premium content and access.
Adding exercise to your self care routine may seem like adding one more thing to the schedule but increasing your physical activity will offer many health benefits that make it well worth adding to your schedule!
It might be hard to go to the gym every day, so try to incorporate other exercises, such as walking or yoga.
The most important thing is to create a routine that works for you.
• Spruce Up Your Space: One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of peace — and making sure that the area you spend most of your time in is clear of clutter and distraction — is a major step toward achieving that zen.
This practice helps you figure out exactly what you need to do to take better care of yourself.
A small change, like keeping a planner or a calendar on the fridge, can help you write down all your appointments and obligations, while at the same time keeping your life a bit more organized.
You can also create designated areas to keep keys, purses, backpacks, briefcases, and coats, and make sure they’re ready to go for the next day.
Buy or repurpose storage containers to make them part of your space, declutter your home and office by recycling or donating items that you no longer need — and commit to keeping the clutter out of your life in 2020.
For example, every night, I take everything off my kitchen counter and toss it into a cute basket.
At the end of the week, I empty the basket — sometimes into the trash and sometimes into its storage spot.
If you have ever known the warm fuzzy feeling of walking into an uncluttered room at the end of a hectic or stressful day, you completely understand how this falls in the category of self care.
If you have never tried it, add one declutter task to your day each day this week and see how your spaces feel after doing so!
Need some more tips? Some of my favorite bloggers are and
They have some great ideas for do-it-yourselfers and newbies to help get you started.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)