By Emily S
Self-Care with Amy Kuretsky & Sarah Engen
At the Winter Skill Share, a packed room full of WTFs gathered to hear wise words on how to take care of our bodies, minds, and spirits in a self-care session given by Amy K and Sarah Engen. The session was full of helpful information on how to help yourself be the best you this winter! This is my very first winter in Minneapolis, and the session was informative even for those who choose to not bike in the winter! All of the information was awesome, but here are some tips that I found the most pertinent:
Get Your (Correct) Food On!
I learned that breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, especially in the winter and before making your bike commute. It’s very important to avoid carbohydrates in the morning, and head straight to protein and fats! If you aren’t into eggs and bacon, go for some form of nut butter or a spoonful of coconut oil. You can eat the coconut oil straight away, swish it around your mouth, or even blend it with your coffee or morning beverage. (I love to put coconut oil in my smoothies!)
Next, we learned that eating seasonally is the best way to stay warm! It may seem obvious, but eating soups and stocks will keep your body nice and toasty in the winter. Eating other hot foods such as hot peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice can also keep your body prepared for the season.
Restoration is Essential
Our bodies take all kinds of bullets during the winter, especially when we are biking. Joint pain, muscle pain, dry skin, and dry lungs are all bound to happen. For Joint Pain, it’s important to use heat not ice: hot baths and heating pads are the best thing! For muscle pain, add epsom salt to your hot bath and the magnesium will help relax your muscles. Advice was given that the “best investment” is a foam roller, and it’s great for stretching before or after biking, as well!
There were several suggestions to help combat dryness and protect your skin. Invest in a humidifier, I like to use a humidifier at night while I am sleeping to fight off as much dryness as possible, especially in my lungs. This will particularly help you when you are biking in low temps (also drinking lots of water helps). For dry skin, invest in shea butter or beeswax.
A Happy Mind is a Happy Body
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is REAL! Grab a sunlight lamp (best if used in the morning, perhaps before your morning commute) and take extra Vitamin D. Feel free to take as much Vitamin D as you want (within reason), it will actually only work if you take more than the recommended dosage. If you’re into essential oils, they could also help you fight wintertime SADness. Teatree oil, Lavender, Medieval Mix (Rosemary & Thyme) can all help you. Additionally, if you catch a bug, drop some eucalyptus oil on your shower floor before you get in and let the scenty-steam heal you.
Visualization and meditation can help your head get out of the cold and go to a nicer, warmer place of comfort. Invest in your mental health by journaling, treating yourself, and finding things you are grateful for in your day! And remember, winter doesn’t last forever, take care of yourself!