Happy New Year from the LiveWell Waterloo (Formerly Absolute Rehab Centre) family to yours! We want to start 2021 on a positive note by giving you some self-care tips that can help make your year better, happier, and healthier. Winter is sometimes a challenging season for many of our clients when it comes to motivation and avoiding Winter blues. Now add a pandemic on top of these challenges and this Winter is sure to be extra difficult for many. We care about you and our Waterloo Physiotherapy staff wants to give you some hope and arm you with knowledge so that you can create the perfect self-care routine this year. Here are some things you should focus on this Winter to make it an enjoyable one and focus on your health. Please also let us know some self-care tips, tricks, and activities you enjoy in the comments – we’d love to share everyone’s ideas to help spread the love!

#1: Stay Active

We know you’re probably sick of our clinic telling you this, but we will never stop reminding you how important staying active is for your mental and physical health. There are plenty of ways to stay active this Winter, even during a pandemic, so we suggest trying a bunch of new things to find out which you enjoy the most. We know exercise goals are normally up there on people’s New Year’s resolutions list but try to reframe physical activity as a self-care item that can improve your mental health as well as physical health. Try to start small and achievable and build your activity routine up from there. Aim to go for a quick walk every day, go for a weekly hike with your family, follow a new exercise video, set fun strength challenges, or try a new sport. If you are struggling to stay active this year, try to turn family time and other daily tasks into a way to sneak in some exercise. Only you know your routine and what will work for you, so aim to start by doing whatever you can without disrupting your daily schedule.

#2: Organize your Space

Since you are spending a lot more time at home than usual, especially if you are working from home, having a clean living/working environment is key. Not only is having a tidy space soothing and prevents distractions but also the actual act of cleaning itself is a great way to sneak in some physical activity. Cleaning your kitchen, going through your closets, vacuuming or sweeping, and even dusting are all great for the colder days when you can’t get outside. Again, start small and divide your cleaning to-do list into achievable tasks so that you do not stress or overwhelm yourself. One day tackle one room or even one section of a room to get started. A lot of people have started using their phone timers as a neat productivity trick – just set a 20-minute timer and focus on one task before moving on to another. This time blocking is great for helping you focus on one task at a time and not spending too much of your day on one particular item. Don’t forget to check out our new Virtual Ergonomics Assessment services for help making sure your space is set up for your success and health!

#3: Meal Prep

Similar to how important safe exercise is for your body and mind, ensuring that you eat enough healthy food throughout the week should be a key step in your self-care routine. Set aside some time each week to prepare healthy and nutritious meals. If you’ve never meal prepped before, start with just one meal a day or only prep for a couple of days to get you in the swing of things. Not only will this help you feel productive and save you time throughout the day, but it is also a simple way to take care of yourself. By cooking in advance and storing meals or snacks in containers that you can quickly grab and eat, you are actively preventing yourself from skipping meals due to a busy schedule throughout the week. Get your family involved so that you can come up with ideas and cook together for some fun family bonding time.

#4: Prioritize Balancing Alone Time and Socializing

If you’ve been reading the news lately or scrolling through your social media feed, you have probably heard about the discourse surrounding how productive we should all be during this pandemic. Should we be taking any free time at home this pandemic has offered to get more things done or are we allowed to feel unmotivated and not pressured into being extra productive? The answer is honestly whatever is making you feel better right now. These are unprecedented times and you should be finding your own ideal balance between giving yourself a break and taking advantage of any additional free time you might have. The same goes for finding your own balance between safely socializing with loved ones and being alone. Try to schedule some socializing time into your week to make sure you aren’t isolating yourself too much, but at the same time do not feel pressured to say yes to every zoom catch-up, virtual party, or physically distanced walk. Spend some time alone doing what you love, reading a book, drawing, playing games, or cozying up to watch some TV but don’t completely isolate yourself from others.

#5: Get Outdoors

Let’s face it, times are challenging, and we are all a little more stressed than usual. We know it can be tempting to snuggle up inside and avoid the harsh cold weather, but don’t completely give in. Getting enough vitamin D this time of year is crucial for both your physical and mental health. Blocking off some time each day to get outside and be alone with your thoughts will do wonders for your stress levels. This outdoor time can be combined with tip #1 if you get some physical activity while outdoors – try going for a safe Winter run, play in the snow, take on a new Winter sport, or even just a calming Winter walk. Taking time to focus both on your body and mind is essential for easing stress. Try Pilates, yoga, mindful meditation, and even just simple deep breathing exercises to help manage negative thoughts and feelings. Remind yourself how beautiful this season can be and how great fresh air is for you. We recommend trying to find a fun activity to do with your family members like winter walking, hiking, sledding, or skating to make sure you are getting outside frequently.

We hope that this blog helps you come up with your own self-care routine that makes you feel happier and healthier entering the new year. Remember that staying active throughout Winter is so important for your overall physical and mental health. Let us know some self-care tips, tricks, and activities you enjoy in the comments – we’d love to share everyone’s ideas to help spread the love!

Give us a call at (519) 880-1733 or fill out our contact form with any questions and to learn how physiotherapy can enhance your overall quality of life. We’re also always happy to help answer any general physiotherapy and wellness questions, provide you with health tips, and schedule a consultation. Just ask!