Cold weather brings people together. We yearn for warmth, love, and connection. The holidays deliver big family meals, endless gratitude, and it just seems like time moves a little bit slower than usual. When the first winter breeze blows through the trees you can feel the magic in the air.
Every season has their own joys and challenges. Winters can be long, cold, and dark. The inherent nature of winter can make it difficult for us humans to endure happily. Learn to make the most of this season with these tips to enjoy winter:
Drink Something Hot
Find comfort in a mug of something warm. This is the season to enjoy any and all the homegrown herbs dried over the summer and autumn. Keep it simple, or make it fancy. A nice balance of both is a great way to enjoy winter. Herbal tea most days, a fancy coffee drink now and then, hot chocolate for dessert on Sunday. Throw in a hot toddy now and then.
Winter is usually cooler if not downright cold, depending on location in the world. These cooler temperatures require warmer clothes and blankets. Snuggle up under a favorite blanket. Read books, watch TV, play games surrounded by the simple comfort of a blanket. It seems too simple but there is something so cozy about a pile of blankets for everyone to choose from while practicing hobbies or doing nothing.
Some people read avidly no matter the season, some of us don’t pick up a book during gardening season. No matter which camp you fall into, winter is a great season to read. Hit the library or bookstore and stock up. Pick up books about winter. Read for fun and read to learn something new. A good balance of both is great. A book specifically focused on winter is a terrific idea. Snuggle up under a blanket with a cup of something warm, and get lost in the pages of a book.
To live seasonally, the seasons have to be experienced in the natural world. Getting outside in winter has special considerations but it can and should be done.
Get outside for a walk, ice skate – simply get outside of the house. Enjoy the sun, absorb some Vitamin D, and take notice of what’s happening in the natural world. Bundle up, put on several layers, wear a hat and gloves, if necessary but get outside as often as possible. This is simply the best way to make seasonal living routine. When we are outside we are able to get a better sense of the season in our individual locations.
For many of our ancestors, winter was the time spent on hobbies and creative pursuits. Clothing was made, spoons whittled, rugs woven. These creative pursuits helped pass time, allowed them to engage in pleasurable hobbies and in many cases helped them earn money. Items were made in the winter and taken to town in the spring for selling or traded with neighbours.
These are all things we can continue to practice in our modern times. Use the long nights to practice something creative. Use the finished items for the home, save them for gift items, sell or trade when possible, or donate to charity.
Eat Seasonal Foods
Eat the foods of the winter season or those preserved from the previous seasons. This is the season to eat that homegrown and home canned applesauce, indulge in those foraged and frozen berries, and eat soups full of homegrown and dehydrated greens. Seasonal, whole foods are perfectly designed to help us get through each season.
Learn a new way to cook those winter squashes, try a new soup recipe, sample something new but eat well and enjoy. We have a tendency to seek comfort foods in the winter. Eat the cinnamon rolls occasionally and feel good about it, just keep it balanced with healthy foods too. Healthy food can also be comforting, find those recipes and indulge.
Practice a Random Act of Kindness
This winter season can be very hard on members of our communities. It’s cold which presents significant hardships all by itself. While the sunlight is returning our days are still plenty dark and that is emotionally tough on many people. The people we come in contact with might be struggling in ways that we cannot comprehend.
Sharing moments of kindness helps them and us – this is a good thing to do in any season but can be especially welcome in the frigid temperatures. Be kind, give hats or blankets to charities to keep less fortunate people warm. Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, let the car merge, pay a compliment to a stranger.
Winter does mean that the sun is returning. Each day is getting a little longer now. However, the days are still mostly dark, especially for the more northern folks. Combat the darkness by throwing out light in the form of candles.
Eat a meal by candlelight, turn off the electric lights for a bit and bask in the golden glow of a lit candle. Make your own if you want to incorporate a little useful crafting into your winter enjoyment or buy them but light some now and then and use it as an excuse for a gathering where no technology is permitted and conversation is prized.
At some point towards the end of the year you realise you can actually smell the cold. It’s a clean, vivid smell which travels down your airways making you feel suddenly alive. There’s something a bit like peppermint or eucalyptus to it, but these are pale imitators of the real thing.
Take that afternoon nap. Heed the call to go to bed early. Allow the body and brain to rest. It is part of our how our ancestors survived without electric lights and modern conveniences. They slept more in the winter. It’s okay and right even to feel tired at an hour that might still be filled with energy in the summer.
So, to recap, this is what we love about winter.
• The smell. At some point you realise you can actually smell the cold
• Unapologetically stodgy food
• The light on a freezing cold morning
• Winter woollies.
• Christmas markets
• Carol services
• TV box sets and long Victorian novels.
• Listening to the radio