There are many things to love this time of year like holiday festivities, food and fellowship but with winter we also have the inevitable cold winds, shorter days, dry skin and occasional sore throat.

Listen to your body and take preventive steps to avoid unwanted sick days.

Self-care is more than an occasional massage. It’s a way of living each day that incorporates health promoting behaviors to ultimately improve your overall well-being and keep you feeling refreshed and motivated. There is not a one-size-fits-all, self-care plan, so tailor your activities to suit your specific needs.

Consider the different dimensions of wellness when working on your self-care plan: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational and social. Where might there be areas of opportunity?

Here are some wellness activities in each dimension to give you some ideas:

• Physical: Take time off when sick, get massages and quality sleep, engage in fun physical activities, and eat healthful foods. Having the knowledge that eating healthful foods is the first step but, like we say in school settings, “it’s not nutrition until it’s eaten.”

• Mental: Read literature unrelated to work, be curious, make time for self-reflection away from technology, and try something new that you are not an expert at already.

• Emotional: Give yourself affirmations and praise, find things that make you laugh, and find an outlet for your emotions that is also productive or meaningful to you.

• Spiritual: Spend time in nature, be aware of non-material aspects of life, practice mindfulness, have experiences of awe and contribute to causes that you believe in.

• Occupational: Learn how to say “no,” arrange work space so it is comfortable, invest in professional development opportunities, take time to chat with co-workers and also make quiet time to complete important tasks.

• Social: Try sending hand-written cards this holiday season, schedule regular dates with your partner or spouse, ask for help when you need it and be open to the needs of your friends/family.

Have you been looking for activities to keep you stay grounded and sane through the winter months? You’re not alone; the search term “self-care activities” reached its peak popularity this November, according to Google data trends.

Still not sure where to start? Visit my blog for a Self-Care Assessment tool based on six dimensions of wellness for an idea of which domain(s) need more attention in your life. After you finish the assessment, the Self-Care Worksheet will guide you into action and help you work through potential barriers before they arise. You can find all of this at

Have a happy and healthy week out there.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde

Kristin Bogdonas is the nutrition and wellness educator for University of Illinois Extension serving Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark counties. To contact her about health and wellness programs, call 309-756-9978.