What are the positive aspects of winter? My answer: Slippers, cozy pajamas, fireplaces, flannel sheets, bubble baths, giant scarves, tea, peppermint everything, and time to actually read those summer books I bought! For you it might be going sledding, getting a new winter coat, holiday parties, seeing family, or not having to wear shorts, and therefore not needing to shave (woo!) Theres so much there to appreciate. You can either view these things as necessities, or as an added bonus to the festive season. Pay attention to how you're feeling and take care of yourself! Appreciation of the small things, such as toasty hot chocolate or super fuzzy mittens can make a long frozen day feel a little brighter.
Despite warnings of rain from other Portland locals, Ben and I were caught off guard by the start of the rainy season. We spend so much time indoors that we're now experts at finding creative ways to enjoy the day. We just had an art day, where we drew random things in this book, and a day for crafting is now a weekly ritual. We also listen to the Harry Potter books on tape while Ben whittles and I knit. Other ideas are: weekly read alouds of a shared book (an alternative to bookclubs), a cuddle session while listening to NPR or your favorite podcast, having a european-inspired wine and cheese night (surrounded by candles and french music), cooking from scratch (to pump up music)! Having fun things to do to enjoy will make winter seem more exciting (and productive) even when you're locked indoors.
(Bonus points: try a hobby you've never done! Brewing your own beer, book binding, collecting something, painting with watercolor, bird watching, scrap booking, weaving,-- What have you always wanted to try?)
Being around people is one of the best ways to spend time, but it is often ignored when the weather turns cold. Hearing different perspectives, sharing stories, hugging, and laughing with real people is important. It may be freezing out, but seeing friends and family should never take the back burner. Browsing the internet (alone at your house) is not always a positive thing to do when you're feeling alone or gloomy, at least not 24/7. There's too many sad world events happening and other people having "more fun" than you. When you hang out with real people, you find that there is still humanity and grace out there, and that you are a part of that community. And no, as addicting as it is, Instagram doesn't count as socialization!
We all have to eat, so we might as well make it fun. I'm trying out some new recipies this winter, with some guidance from the expert chefs/mixologists on the internet.
We all can't take a week off to sun in Jamaica, but we all can cut the monotony with a mini adventure! People always talk about weekend getaways, but rarely follow through. This winter we're making the dream a reality! Its pretty easy (and cheap- hello Airbnb!) to rent a cabin or drive to a B&B for a weekend. It can be a wild weekend for friends, a romantic getaway for two, or a solo trip to your own Walden Pond. You can (depending on your location) go sledding, explore a new town, hike, snowboard/ski, play board games, roast things on the fire, drink buttered rum, have a dance party, play cards against humanity... the options are endless. The novelty of the trip will make some memories you'll never forget, and give you something to look forward to.
(Bonus points: take pictures on disposable cameras instead of your iPhone, and let go of taking (or faking) "the perfect picture")
If you can't take any time off, make home your paradise! Being in a clean, welcoming, and cozy home (filled with happy memories) is a must-have for dreary seasons. Even if you're on a budget, simple decorating is possible. Pine cones, twigs, pine needles (from the park) with glitter, twinkle lights, candles, and red ribbons (from the dollar store) can change the whole vibe of your house!
(Bonus points: Classy music! In the evenings we're listening to Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin. It makes a post-work glass of Whiskey or a sweater dress feel like a fancy affair!)
Did you think I was going to skip this one? Yes, I know this sucks. I just started working out with a personal trainer, and I am so sore two days on I'm hobbling around the house like I'm 95. BUT I'm very proud of myself, and I have something to look forward to and prepare for each week. Having weekly appointments helps me get into a routine that is healthy (there's a lot of comfort food this time of year) and will pay off in the long run.
(Bonus Points: I don't know... actually do it? That alone deserves bonus points!)
Get into a good book!
Reading is the best because no matter what's going on in your life, a story can transport you somewhere totally different. This is super helpful if you aren't feeling well, or if you're uninspired or bored. If you're not into reading, try to find something you love to read about! Or do what I did, and pick up a page-turning-mystery to get you hooked! I also love re-reading my favorite childhood books. It's easy reading, and it makes me feel closer to my family when I'm homesick. My current favorite books are: Nine Stories, any book by Miranda July, The Secret History, Frankenstein, The Cay, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and None of This is Real.
Shoutout to Netflix, Hulu, HBOgo and Amazon Streaming for being a gals best friend. Here are a few of my favorites: