How to Make Friends with Winter
This post was written to support you during winter.
That first snowfall is always a sight to behold – everything looks charming when dusted with snow, but it doesn’t take long before the novelty wears off. The once-flawless flakes turn into slush mixed in with mud from the street and the picturesque scenery is all gone. Ugh, winter.
Many people (including myself) have a hard time enjoying winter. The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and it can be hard to find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Sound familiar? Since starting my wellness journey, I’ve decided that I’m going to make friends with winter. We’re going to put our differences aside and cherish the coldest time of the year because "winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.”
Are you interested in joining me on this journey? It might make all the difference to your mental well-being and help you beat those pesky winter blues.
The first thing to know when it comes to battling the winter blues is that you are not alone. Many other people are also going through what you are going through.
It’s also important to remember that what you see on social media are selected highlights of how someone is living. People usually share the snippets from their day that they want you to see and might also be struggling. So, I ask you to make a conscious effort to check in with loved ones and friends to see if they’re okay even if they look like they’re doing fine. Making connections in this way can also help you feel less alone as well as boost your mood, make you smile and take your mind off the weather outside.
Winter can be fun, grounding and comforting. The key is to take advantage of everything winter has to offer. Before we dive into the many ways you can indulge in wellness this winter, here are a few key rituals you can practice immediately to make friends with the coldest months of the year and fully embrace winter.
Create a winter daily routine
Your daily routine isn’t meant to be the same all year round. I suggest switching up your routines to fit in with each season because what works for summer may not necessarily work for winter.
When there is less daylight and the temperature begins to drop below 45, I find it a lot harder to wake up in the morning. Instead of getting out of bed as soon as I wake up, I allow myself a slower morning and savor my time under the covers in bed. I will either read a few chapters in a book or listen to a morning meditation to ease me into the day. Not only does this boost my mental well-being but it also increases my performance and productivity throughout the day.
So, if your daily routine is starting to feel like a chore and you’re having trouble sticking to it, I encourage you to switch it up. It is important to note that routines (that work for YOU) are essential for your overall well-being. They reduce stress, allow you to build healthy habits and help you to avoid burnout. For this reason, it’s essential that you keep some form of routine in place during winter.
It’s so easy to feel defeated by winter. Instead of viewing winter as an obstacle, view it as an opportunity. Winter is a much softer and calmer season, so lean into it.
Instead of telling yourself that you “have” to stay indoors, reframe the situation, and embrace the fact that you “get” to stay at home. This is precious time you can spend relaxing, recharging and getting creative. Catch up on those books that are piling up, make yourself a cup of tea and sip it by candlelight. Rearrange your furniture or redecorate. Get in the kitchen and try a new recipe. There are endless activities to try in winter that can bring you much joy.
Ask yourself, “What opportunities are there for me this season?”
It might be switching up your routine or inviting new meaningful hobbies and activities into your day that you wouldn’t necessarily have time or desire for in summer. Like curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching a new show or learning a new language.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple mindset shift to change your outlook and make things more manageable. Change your perspective on winter and you’ll find the bright side.
Take time for the things that bring you joy
Finding joy in life may be at the core of coping with the winter blues.
The more fun the activities you engage in, the more likely it is you’ll feel more alive. As adults, we tend to take life too seriously and don’t really allow ourselves to truly let loose and be silly. Now is the time to channel in your inner child, to reconnect with that subconscious part of your mind when you experienced the childlike joys of this world.
Engage in activities that bring you joy can help you see past the mundane routines and to-do lists that take over your life. Take a step back from and engage in recreational self-care that doesn’t require too much brainpower. Do things that make you feel like a kid again like painting, hand building, or building Lego.
Stop what you’re doing right now and take a moment to write your joy list, make it as long or short as you want. Put it somewhere safe, so that the next time you are struggling with the winter blues, you can choose something from this list to boost your mood and energy.
Sometimes all we need is a little reward to motivate us to keep going.
Ready to become bbf’s with the coldest season of the year?
Here’s an extensive list of winter wellness ideas to carry you through to spring.
- Build a cozy inside fort with pillows and blankets and camp out at home
- Create a winter playlist to help you unwind
- Make some popcorn and watch movies on the Hallmark channel
- Cozy up with a blanket or in front of the fire with a cup of hot toddy
- Reflect on the past year
- Rearrange your furniture and redecorate
- Do a 1000-piece (or more) jigsaw puzzle
- Go ice skating
- Go sledding
- Take up a new hobby like knitting or cross-stitch
- Switch off the lights for the evening and only use candlelight
- Scrapbook a year in pictures
- Have a spa day and lounge around in a cozy robe all day
- Reconnect with an old friend
- Build a snowman
- Make yummy hot chocolate (add marshmallows) and curl up with an audio book
- Have a movie marathon and watch a multi season show – one of my favorites is Stranger Things
- Set healthy boundaries with social media for the year
- Take part in a meditation experience. I’m currently enjoying the Chopra app
- Try an indoor workout
- Make maple snow
- Take a long hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book
- Bake! Muffins, gooey chocolate brownies or your favorite bread
- Create a hygge emergency box
- Write a bucket list of things to do in spring and summer
- Cook a comforting food recipe – one you haven’t tried before
- Go bowling
- Have a tea party
- Start a gratitude journal
- Take a walk in the snow
- Color co-ordinate your bookshelf
- Make a chunky vegetable soup using fresh produce in season
- Write a short story or poem
- Play a board game from your childhood
- Do something that makes you feel like a kid again
- Go stargazing
- Plan your dream vacation
- Celebrate small wins
I encourage you to test out these winter activities first before fully committing to them and adding them to your wellness routine. Because what works for one person, might not necessarily work for you.
Put together your own self-care tracker to record which winter self-care ideas you enjoyed and which ones you would do again. Rate each activity out of 5 stars and ask yourself, “How did this activity make me feel?”
May your winter itinerary planning help you embrace the hygge lifestyle.