Too many of us spend the cold winter months waiting for spring, waiting for warming weather and wishing winter would just go away. Winter is inevitable, without fail it comes around every year. With a few mindful practices, we can learn how to fully embrace the winter season and create a cozy oasis we can look forward to retreating to.
It’s a kind of discontentment that often leaves us feeling sad and unmotivated. AKA seasonal depression. This is a thing a lot of people face yearly. Some of it has to do with the lack of sunlight and warmth felt during these months and some of it has to do with not embracing the season at hand.
I for one know how miserable it is to go and scrape your car windows in -30 degree weather, or to be sliding down the highway. These are things we can’t really avoid depending on where you live. But there is a lot of beauty to be found in the season. There’s a lot of warmth just waiting to be felt to help you embrace the season and at the very least: not hate it.
Seasonal eating is a thing I talk about a lot when it comes to embracing each season and really aligning our bodies with nature. Embracing and cooking with seasonal winter foods has really helped me combat some of the winter blues by enjoying the yummy and warm foods this season has to offer.
What’s in season in winter? I’m glad you asked!
- Brussel sprouts
- Red onion
- Sweet potatoes
- Passion Fruit
Basing your meals with these winter foods will bring a lot of comfort and help keep your body in-tune with the season. Even if we stop at seasonal eating, it’s beautiful enough to celebrate the cold season.
Another practice I’ve started to incorporate into my winter routine is “hygge”. You may already be familiar with this world as it’s been quite the buzz on the internet the past couple of years. if you’re not, the oxford dictionary describes it as: “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
This has been a huge part of Danish culture for many, many years. So how can you take a note from their book and use hygge to make it through the winter?
First off, it’s got to be about more than just “making it through”. It’s time to fully embrace all that this season can offer. A lot of this practice relies heavily on comfort and mood.
Start by turning your home into a cozy sanctuary you’re excited to retreat to at the end of a cold winter’s day. Fill your living room and bedroom with lots of cozy blankets and pillows. If you have hardwood floors, cover them in rugs. Low light also plays a significant role in hygge. Light some candles and string up some fairy lights to offer a comforting and soft glow to a room.
I’ve also found it helps to get outside. No, not usually in -30 weather if I don’t have to. But on those warmer days when the sun is shining, a short walk feels so refreshing. It does the soul good to hear your boots crunching the fresh snow, and the birds singing their winter song. It’s something I look forward to every single winter now, instead of never wanting to be outside. Just make sure you dress warm!
Hobbies and something to do beside the fire or candlelight (that isn’t watching TV every night) also brings me a lot of comfort and joy. I’ve started intently reading, in fact, winter is when the majority of my reading gets done throughout the year, and I’ve been trying to teach myself to knit. It’s something that feels cozy and occupies my mind. Whatever it is that you enjoy, like puzzles, painting, reading, etc. give yourself something to look forward to.
Warm drinks in the cold months are yet another comfort to enjoy and really lean into. I never drink tea as I do in the winter. Hot coffee in the morning, hot chocolate in the evening, the whole spirit of hygge is feeling as comfy and cozy as possible in the cold, long winter months.
Don’t forget to take care of your body during these months. I’ve found for myself and for a lot of other people, winter can be especially rough on our bodies. While I’ve given you some recipes to help keep you healthy, we can’t neglect the rest of our bodies. Winter is the perfect time to slow down, relax, and rest. There are naturally fewer events and special occasions, especially now that the holidays are over, so there is extra time for you to practice self-care.
Our skin and hair tend to dry out in these months and it’s important to show them a little extra TLC. Get into the habit of a skincare routine and using a hair mask from time to time. (I just put coconut oil in my hair a few times a month for a few hours and it has done wonders.)
It’s also important to move your body as well. You don’t have to become a gym bunny, but regularly stretching or doing some simple yoga is incredibly beneficial. Stretching daily has changed my life and how my body feels, especially in the winter months.
I encourage you to really embrace this season for all the beauty it has to offer. It’ll do wonders for your wellbeing and time will fly by much faster.
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