Driftless Stories -

Self-Care for the Season

By Lynsey D. Moritz | Winter 2023-24

All illustrations by Lynsey D. Moritz

Self-care for the season

As the seasons change, our moods change, too. This time of year can be full of joy and special memories, but it can also be a time where our mental and physical well-being suffers. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) brings on the “winter blues,” affecting millions of people across the world. We are experiencing shorter, colder days that keep us inside more, getting less fresh air and sunshine. Stress tends to be higher with the holidays, end-of-year deadlines, and New Year’s resolutions that can sometimes be more pressure than inspiration. 

How do we find the time and energy to create ongoing healthy habits? How do we shake off the stress and shame, and truly love ourselves in the midst of the ups and downs of life? How can we strive to fill our own cups, with the hope that we can overflow and share the care with our community and loved ones?

Even if you’re overwhelmed, stressed-out, and your battery is low – especially then – it is important to remember that You are Worthy. You are worthy of focusing on your needs. You are worthy of feeling joy. You are worthy of finding one moment, one hour, one day, or more in your busy life to devote to your health, happiness, and growth.

This season, we are encouraging you to remember your worthiness, and to take steps – even small ones – toward embracing the rest of your one wild and precious life!

If you have…ONE MOMENT:

Our days can be so busy, juggling so many different things, that we often feel like there simply isn’t any time at all to think about our mental, physical, or emotional care. Try to identify even the smallest moments that become available, and mindfully give yourself some care.

__ Drink some water

__ Moisturize your skin

__ Go outside for fresh air and sunshine

__ Take three deep breaths

__ Stretch or shake-it-out

__ Text a friend or family member

__ Think of one thing you’re grateful for

__ Hug someone you love for 20+ seconds

Research suggests this length of hug reduces stress and helps reset your nervous system. Solo at the moment? A pillow works too!

__ Challenge your negative thoughts by saying a positive affirmation 

        See current Inspire(d) paper project – featuring these illustrations! – for inspiration: 

        “I AM ______!”

If you have…ONE HOUR:

Do you know what time of day you are most productive or least productive? Perhaps plan for an hour of self-care around that schedule, when you know you will reach a slump and need a natural pick-me-up. Or devote an hour at the beginning or end of the day so it can become part of your regular routine.

__ Do a yoga flow and meditation

__ Go for a walk or do a workout

__ Make yourself a warm beverage

__ Journal or write a letter to a loved one (and mail it!)

__ Create a gratitude list 

       Have a dedicated journal so you can reference it often.

__ Take a nap or relax reading a book

__ Take a bath (add some bubbles or a bath bomb)

__ Take care of your houseplants

__ Make an easy herbal remedy, like the Elderberry Oxymel recipe below!


• 1 cup of dried or fresh elderberries

• ½ to 1 cup of raw local honey

• ½ to 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar

• Pint-sized (16-ounce) mason jar with lid

 Fill a clean glass jar roughly half full with elderberries. Pour honey and vinegar over elderberries (you can choose to have more honey, more vinegar, or equal parts of each — just make sure the elderberries are completely covered). Stir all together, shake often, and let sit for a few days (or weeks). Strain out the berries (compost or cook into a syrup) – save the liquid. Take spoonfuls of the elderberry oxymel to support your immune system!

*NOTE: Do not eat uncooked elderberries! 

Find more elderberry recipes at growforagecookferment.com/elderberry-recipes/

If you have…ONE DAY:

Planning a day for self-care takes a little more…planning! This year, try putting one full day on the calendar – monthly, quarterly, or even annually – and follow through on YOU. Choose the date and block off any other events or responsibilities.

__ Have a “pamper day” 

Spa Day. Massage. Mani-Pedi. 


__ Have a “lazy day” 

Movie Marathon. Favorite Snacks. Naps.


__ Have a “play day” 

Do things that would bring your younger self JOY!

__ Make a vision board 

Find prompts from our Dream Board Project here.

__ Learn new skills and get creative 

Take a course online or in your community – check out the Driftless Folk SchoolVesterheim Folk Art School, ArtHaus, and more!


Once you’re finding time for self-care moments, hours, or days, try turning them into ongoing healthy habits! In this section, we’ve listed some mindful self-care ideas you could try to incorporate into your life regularly. But remember: The goal here isn’t to add another thing to stress about. Self-care looks different from one day to the next. Sometimes it is simply taking a deep breath when you’re feeling overwhelmed, calling a loved-one to catch up, or binging a TV show while eating your favorite snack. 

Celebrate the fact that you are taking the time, whether it’s a moment or more, to take care of yourself. You are worthy of nourishing your body, uplifting your soul, and being kind to your mind. Your future self will thank you! 

__ Get out of your house and spend time with friends and/or family

__ Learn to also embrace and appreciate your alone time

__ Unplug! Turn off your TV + cell phone 

     and have a screen-free evening!

__ Get a good night’s sleep

__ Spend time in nature

__ Move and stretch your body 

Try to find movement that brings you joy!

__ Meal plan and prep – choose nourishing and whole foods

__ Support your gut! Incorporate more fermented foods 

      (i.e. yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, etc.) 

     See recipe below for Fermented Honey Garlic!

Fermented Honey Garlic

• 1 cup of peeled and slightly crushed garlic cloves

• 1 cup of raw local honey 

   (or more, enough to completely cover the garlic)

• Pint-sized (16-ounce) mason jar with lid 

Fill a clean glass jar with garlic and cover in honey. Store in a cool, dark place. Flip the jar often to keep garlic submerged (make sure you have a lid that doesn’t leak when upside down – place a plate underneath in case of any leaks). Leave the lid slightly loose when upright (so the fermentation bubbles can escape – they will start to form in a few days to a week). Let it sit and ferment for a few weeks… it will store for many months, or even a year or longer! Eat a spoonful of honey and/or garlic to help support your health and gut!

* NOTE: Never give honey to babies under 1 year old. Botulism is not a concern in this type of ferment due to the level of acidity in the honey. If you have any concerns, use a pH test strip (the honey should have a pH of less than 4.6) or add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar to the recipe to add even more acidity.*

More details online at growforagecookferment.com/fermented-honey-garlic/

__ Do a “weekly reset” – do some cleaning and get tedious tasks out of the way.

Try our Citrus Peel All-Purpose Cleaner recipe!

Citrus Peel All-Purpose Cleaner

1. Save the peels from your citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.)

2. Submerge peels completely in white vinegar (5% acidity) in a glass jar

3. Soak the citrus peels in vinegar in a jar in your fridge for 2 weeks

4. Strain out and compost the peels

5. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and your citrus vinegar

6. Use to clean any and all surfaces around your home

* NOTE: always use white vinegar with 5% acidity or less.*

See more citrus ideas at lindenfern.com/blog/saveyourcitrus

__ Practice mindfulness 

__ If your cup is full or overflowing, 

   share the love and care with others

__ Remember… 

Love Yourself – You are Worthy!

Lynsey D. Moritz

Lynsey (Christensen) Moritz is a Decorah native who is based in rural Southwest Wisconsin. She is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and budding herbalist. Lynsey enjoys learning new skills, traveling with her husband, and being a part of this incredible Driftless community!