It is January, the holidays are behind us, and the winter solstice came with a promise of light. Most of the people you know are still sticking to their resolutions and goals for 2024, but did you know that according to a survey conducted by One Poll on behalf of Almond Breeze, 7 in 10 people are interested in taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions?

By the time January rolls around, many of us in Anchorage find ourselves knee-deep in the winter snow, and though the promise of lighter, warmer days and spring skiing lurks in the horizon, a lot of us could use intentional strategies not based on external pressures but rather focused on feeling good and whole in our bodies and minds; to feel fulfilled so that we can then focus on others. No one can pour from an empty cup, after all.

With this in mind, I’ve gathered four types of therapy you can find in Anchorage that will leave you feeling serene, focused, and feeling ready to take on the New Year.


Float Therapy

Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, this practice involves floating peacefully in a water tank with Epsom salt solution to help with buoyancy. Depending on your needs, you can spend anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes in complete sensory deprivation; without light or sound, or with music and chakra light therapy.

The benefits of float therapy include relieving stress, improving circulation, decreasing muscular tension, soothing chronic pain, helping people with mobility impairments, improving sleep, among others. If you are ready to try floating, Snow Blossom Acupuncture Wellness & Float Center has a spacious Dreampod to help you nurture your mind and body.


Contrast Bath Therapy

This type of therapy is over 2,000 years old. It consists of going from hot water to very cold water causing vasodilation and vasoconstriction of the blood vessels. This means that the vessels react to the hot water by opening up and by closing up in cold water, helping to improve circulation in the body.

Other benefits of this practice include improving inflammation of soft tissues, recovering from sports fatigue, decreasing limb soreness, and soothing stiff joints. You can try this type of therapy by submerging your body in a tub or pool with warm water, then following with a dip in a cold water pool, repeating the process for at least 20 minutes, ending with cold water. The Alyeska Nordic Spa can be the perfect place to try this type of hydrotherapy while enjoying the backdrop of the Chugach Mountains nestled in a beautiful rainforest. Bonus points if you bring a friend to relax and reconnect.

Relaxation Pool at Alyeska Nordic Spa
Photo by: Kristian Irey

Light Therapy

According to Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects up to 10 million people in the winter. The shorter days and low sun exposure can leave us sluggish and even feeling depressed, sometimes affecting our ability to regulate our circadian clock; responsible for regulating sleep digestion, and hormonal activity.

Many of us already own a therapy lamp, well marketed as a Happy Light. Experts recommend 30 minutes in front of a 10,000 lux-lamp to experience physiological benefits. Simply set the lamp on your desk at work or in your bathroom while you get ready in the morning to receive the therapeutic effect.

Even though it is cold, a sunny walk in the morning offers double benefits: mood-boosting exercise and a healthy and very needed dose of vitamin D; essential for maintaining bone strength and supporting the immune system. Fortunately for us, the Anchorage Park and Trail System is one of the best in the country. Did you know that some of the trails and city streets form a 32-mile urban loop in the shape of a moose?  Use this map to choose your own adventure!

Let’s face it, the days in January are some of the shortest, averaging 5-8 hours of daylight. Sometimes the best thing we can do this dark month is dress warm, grab a hot beverage, and enjoy a cozy winter walk through a glowing garden. Brighter Winter Nights at the Alaska Botanical Garden displays ice luminarias, fire pits, and beautifully lit gardens that are sure to lift your spirit! Don’t delay, this event goes through January 20th.


Giving Therapy

Research suggests that performing acts of kindness can make you happier. In Anchorage, we have all been on the receiving end of a friendly neighbor who shoveled our driveway without being asked, a kind stranger who helped us dig our car out of a snowy mess, or finding out that your cup of Kaladi coffee has already been paid by someone you may never meet. Turning our thoughts to others, engaging in benevolent acts towards our peers, and helping our community can reduce anxiety, depression, and it gives us the added benefit of connection by building relationships.

Looking for inspiration to encourage others to do acts of goodwill? Learn more about Anchored in Kindness materials to show that a simple act can be a catalyst for feeling good. We are deeply interconnected; living a meaningful life involves not only satisfying our wants and needs but also being involved and helping others. In the end, it all comes back around.