Welcoming Winter….

christmas home house light
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Alternate titles:

Continuing a little bit of the Magic of Christmas

Beating the Winter Blues & Surviving Cabin Fever

The festive holiday season is essentially over, the lights have come down, no longer sparkling beacons in the dark crisp winter nights… and the thing is it’s these cold dark winter nights of January, February, and even March that we really need them. I get why so many hold tight unto Christmas way past December 25, not relinquishing their tree until the last needle falls, and that some even dive head first into Valentine’s Day. The true winter months with its inclement weather and its bitter cold temperatures and of course without the flourish of the twinkle lights and festive comforts, are some of the toughest months for a lot of us. So it makes sense that many seem to catch the Winter Blues.

Maybe you love the winter activities; I once worked with a person who reveled in shoveling snow… (which I guess if I didn’t HAVE TO do it maybe…) but there are lots of fun wintry activities: Sledding, skiing, snow tubing, etc

Or maybe you are more like me, that overall I like the occasional brisk winter walk as long as it doesn’t seem too icy and I have secure shoes (I’ve slipped and fallen on the ice waaaaay too many times, I’m now obnoxiously cautious) and maybe once within the winter season if the circumstances with finances and the correct amount of snowy precipitation, I may snow tube and hopefully at least build one snow man.  But honestly other than the snowman which I do every year, I mostly avoid the outside wintertime world and though I have skied, it’s something I’ve done only twice.  (Also I do not ice skate, I’ve given it multiple tries and done it enough times to say that it is something I do not do, and as stated at the beginning of this paragraph: I am not surefooted on ice.)

Despite not being wintertime’s biggest cheerleader, I do understand its purpose and I am thankful that the season exists. The seasons are telling us, it’s time to rest, it’s time to restore. Though due to work and general life it’s hard to hit pause, the season is telling us to stop, take a moment, and breathe. Not something we always allow ourselves to do in this go-go-go, have it done yesterday top speed reality that a lot of us have, but even the earth through the season of winter is saying, it’s time to take a break and rest.

Many times this weather/time can be draining, it’s hard often times to recognize that even indirect sunlight has an effect on us. And also, many people in both in the fields of science and health  have written about how the cold weather is often more taxing on the body than any other season, and that we need water more than we do in the summer but often consume it less.  Top that with the fact that, the winter weather can often times make me feel trapped… even the not so snowy days just with the sun setting long before dinner time, it feels like I’m stuck in a cave. And that stuck feeling coupled with off and on anxiety… well it makes me hyper sensitive to my surroundings; I become aware of how dim or bright the lights are in my home, the scents I encounter can be overpowering, and even the media I consume such as what I read, listen to, or watch can have a larger than life impact on me. So coming from that perspective here is how I am welcoming and enjoying my winter. (If you are similar to me in that you become hyper aware of your surroundings during winter time and/or you tend to generally more prone to feeling  the Winter Blues or a touch of Cabin Fever,  then maybe this will help you too!)

Welcoming & Enjoying Winter…

  1. I am mindful about the media I consume…. I do not read or watch any horror during the winter months. I stick to literature and films that are humorous and enlightening. I read more nonfiction with a focus on self-help or on a non-stressful topic that interests me.
  2. I make playlists of either mellow fun songs or empowering badass songs that get me going. This is essentially part of the whole “being mindful of the media I consume” thing but I also make sure to fill my space with the right soundtrack for me needs and make sure it’s nothing too spooky, depressing, or personally offensive. (Yes I listen to silly Halloween music such as Ghostbusters theme song and It’s a Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo all year long… and yes I even like those terribly derogatory booty shaking music… but I am more effected by even the lyrics during the winter so I am mindful of what music I put on.)
  3. I give myself the permission to relax and get creative. In general I like to write but I also enjoy coloring, sticker-by-number-books, crocheting, puzzles, and baking. When I return home from work or have the time to do so I make sure I have creative outlets that aren’t too taxing.
  4. I add scents and smells that make me happy and I know won’t overwhelm me. I burn incense, light candles, use lotions, essential oils and am even mindful of what I cook and how the aromas fill my home.
  5. I make sure to play games. I will play board, card, or video games with my husband. I will have people over for a game night. I will also play some video games solo.
  6. I decorate my home and make it more hygge. (I honestly didn’t know that was what it was called until recently. Hygee is a term from Danish culture that means creating a lifestyle and/or atmosphere of coziness and comfort. ) I will make sure I have lots of fluffy blankets and pillows. I will unashamedly have my stuffed animals all about. This year I am adding some twinkle and white string lights to our living room to keep some of that wintry magic from the holidays alive.
  7. I have lots of comfortable clothes and items clean & accessible to wear when I am home. (I in generally try to make sure most of my clothes even my professional work clothes are soft to the touch so that I am comfortable.) However I make sure more than ever to have all fuzzy pajamas to wear around the house, fuzzy socks, fuzzy slippers… apparently an outfit of hygge.
  8. I also make sure to be prepared for the harshness of winter. I have already caulked drafty spots, purchased salts for my walk way, and gotten out my tucked away winter apparel. I have candles and other items in case snow creates a power outage and we are stuck inside. I also make sure my car has a shovel, scrapper, etc. Being prepared for the rough winter makes it easier. (I also find that the years I am most prepared it also happens to be the winters that are the least intense.)
  9. I also try to stock my home with food “essentials”. Other than the general staples of pasta, rice, and so on. I also make sure I have healthy type snack food in general but also in case power goes out and we can’t cook, such as power bars, cereals… and I make sure I have lots of healthy yummy foods and tea and hot cocoa, because I know a cold wintry day at work I am going to drive home, put on fuzzy clothes and not go out again until I have to.
  10. I make sure to add some exercise. I know!  I know! I was just talking about fuzzy clothes, video games, and hot cocoa… do I really exercise? To that I say…. Yes, not like crazy but exercise is essential to beating the winter blues and keeping sickness away. (It keeps your body healthy.) I do little exercises, exercise games, dance around my house like a lunatic, and do some yoga and stretches. I highly recommend yoga as a way to relax and take away the tensions that can form in the body.  {{If you want some infographics/lists on fun, quick, or geeky ways to exercise check out the Pinterest boards I created on the topics! (@yougotdisblog)}}
  11. I try to get together/keep in touch with friends. Though many times winter weather makes me want to make poor food choices, put on pajamas and sleep until the truly returns… I make it a point to keep in touch. Sometimes just a phone call, sometimes a simple game night or crochet night, sometimes a big pot luck or movie night.  In the past I have even created group chats and downloaded interactive apps such as Draw Something or Words with Friends so that I could have human interaction and some fun during a snowstorm.
  12. I try to get some fresh air. Once again though I like to hide away, I try to breathe in the fresh crisp cool air a little bit each day.
  13. I try to learn something new. Whether it’s just a single crochet stick or reading a nonfiction book I feel like this is the perfect time to learn something new. If I didn’t have to go to work I probably would focus on learning a language or taking a free online course.
  14. I will take this time to plan. I may be taking a trip come the warmer months. During this time I do my research about the place I be going, figure out what things I need to accomplish (putting money aside, getting in shape, whichever) and take this time to plan and focus on the happy future. (I am very much all about staying the moment, but planning is good especially for trips that you need to really get a detailed itinerary.)
  15. I will also try to express gratitude. ood stuffs and cheese. Cheese food and stuffs. Okay in general I try to do this every day, but if I can do little things like reach out to my friends who also are feeling blue and tell them the awesome reasons why I appreciate them and why they rock I will. (An idea in my back pocket for some future date, probably not this year, I want to send out “appreciation cards” to my friends.)
  16. I will do something for self-care every day. By self-care I mean, take the time to really pamper myself not just in fuzzy clothes but also in face washing routine, adding oils to my hair that usually I put off because I’m too busy, painting my nails, meditation, and other things to really take care of myself. Around Christmas and New Years I make it a point to purchase some new items that I will find useful or replenish things like soaps and lotions that have run out. I may even buy some new tinted lip balm or nail polish. (In general I am very minimal on my makeup, so I continue to keep it simple in the winter.)
  17. I will get organized and keep my house clean. Okay so any one who owns or rents a home of any kind (who isn’t a minimalist) knows that cleaning can be an every day battle. (Yes even for the people who don’t have kids, especially ones prone to seasonal depression and anxiety.) So I plan to keep my living space as tidy as possible and if I find some extra time I will dig deep and organize some things that I’ve been meaning to. (Such as organize my craft supplies, and reorganize my messy closet.)
  18. I will do my best to drink lots of water. Because we all need water in general but everything I have read on the winter says we need it the most in the winter time.
  19. I will make sure to bundle up! Okay sometimes I am a pro at this and others times it’s like I have winter amnesia. Gloves, hats, scarfs and thick socks are essential.

I’m sure I am forgetting something… but that’s how I don’t go cabin fever stir crazy wintered-out!

 

Other suggestions recommended by my research to beat the Winter Blues that either I know I can’t commit to or personally don’t agree with…  but think are worth mentioning…  :

  • Purchase and use a light box to simulate natural light
  • Amp up your diet and supplements to make sure you have more magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 etc. ( I may try.)
  • Join a Support Group (I had a hard time finding information about Winter Blues/Cabin Fever Support groups…  but a lot of sites suggested it. Not something that would appeal to me. This is one of those times that the support of my friends will be good enough for me.)
  • Get a massage (I would love to do this… but it all depends on the funds and my packed schedule, but as I said I will do other self-care things!)
  • Purge… out with the old, get rid of things. (Now I may do this, but not in the level that I’ve seen these sources recommend. Organizing & purging are two different things… I know that I don’t have the energy to overhaul my home and discard emotionally charged items while I’m already pretty emotionally taxed.)
  • Invest in/buy more plants. Yet another thing I say that I will do and really want to do, but I am barely keeping my one aloe plant from the verge of death so I think I’m going to hold off this year.
  • Rearrange furniture so that everything is in natural light and invest in black out shades etc. (Like I said with purging… rearranging my home could be overwhelming. I think adding some flourishes, trying to open the blinds more, and taking down and packing away Christmas decor is good enough.)
  • Spend time with someone who adores winter. Hmmm….One I don’t know if I know anyone who adores winter, but also I find that this is kind of mixed advice, yes it’s good to have a diverse lot of people in your life and to cultivate people who will help you inch out of your comfort zone, but I find when I am feeling depressed and awful and cold etc. I don’t think I would be overjoyed by someone exclaiming, “ISN’T THIS GREAT?!?!”
  • Move. Well if you can afford it, I guess… but that seems pretty extreme it’s a season not a life sentence.
  • Travel. I find that if I travel to a warm destination to “get away” and then return to the cold I am even more grumpy, and I hate the whole pack a million things to prepare for different climates. Also once again I can’t afford a lot of that… maybe I’d feel differently if I could afford it? Maybe?
  • Gripe about Winter on the internet. Okay kind of like a very negative support group… but yes I will grumble occasionally with my friends and associates but ultimately your thoughts create your reality, if you are focused on “this sucks” no matter what you do to make it not suck, it’s going to suck, as simple as that. (If you must moan and groan about winter to someone and people in your life aren’t having it… you can go to Reddit and find people all complaining together.)

 

 

OKAY!!! HOPE THAT HELPS!!! (I know it’s a lot, but I tried to really dig in and find whatever I could for you guys!… and for myself! Wintertime can be rough!)

No matter what remember… YOU GOT THIS!!!

 

-Heather

Resources!!

Instagram @yougotdisblog   {for updates on posts}

Pinterest. @yougotdisblog   {just created, and working on collecting useful infographics and some links… but for this post I would recommend the following boards I created/collated… }

For feeling blue:

Winter Blues {board}: Some were just random links I could find… I didn’t get to look through them so I don’t know how trustworthy… some infographics and links on anxiety and depression and winter activities. Maybe something here will be helpful!

For some fitness help:

Fitness at Home {board}: Main board has links and infographics on how to make a home gym on the cheap as well as other simple tips and tricks. I broke down this board into sub-boards that have more specific aspects like quick, simple, or geeky/fun routines.

  • For a Song {sub-board}: Infographics on how to do a mini workout to a single song or set of songs
  • Quick (15 mins or Less) {sub-board}: Infographics on workout routines and target area workouts that are 15 minutes or less
  • Buff as Buffy (fiction into Fact) {sub-board}: Infographics on how to workout to be like your favorite fictitious character such as Batman or Buffy.
  • Flat out Workout {sub-board}: These are infographics and some links to workouts that can be done on the floor and on your bed. (With some couch and chair ones added in.) If you are lazy or just prone to back issues etc. these are some fun and simple routines.
  • TV Turnaround (TV Workout Games) {sub-board}: Maybe exercising isn’t fun enough for you, or you find yourself consumed by your favorite TV without time to exercise, here are some infographics/lists on exercises to do either to the commericals or your favorite show. It’s like the drinking game where you say “when this character does/says ‘blank’ take a shot” instead you do an exercise!
  • Cinematic Champion (Movie Workout Games) {sub-board}: Same thing as the TV one above except this is to specific movies.

 

LINKS:

Decorating for Winter (some holiday stuff in there but mostly winter)

https://www.countryliving.com/home-design/g2921/winter-decorating-ideas/

https://www.homestoriesatoz.com/decorating/winter-decorating-ideas.html

Hygee (What is it and Décor)

http://hyggehouse.com/hygge  (meaning)

https://www.visitdenmark.co.uk/en-gb/denmark/culture/hygge-meaning (meaning)

https://www.countryliving.com/life/a41187/what-is-hygge-things-to-know-about-the-danish-lifestyle-trend/ (meaning with some décor)

https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/hygge-decor-ideas (décor)

https://www.amara.com/us/luxpad/hygge/(meaning with some décor)

https://houseandhome.com/gallery/20-cozy-rooms-with-serious-hygge/( décor)

https://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/heres-to-hygge-the-cozy-danish-lifestyle(meaning with some décor)

Beating the Blues… (And cabin fever… and generally just not in love with Winter…)

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/your-best-weapons-against-the-winter-blues.aspx

https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/emotional-health/winter-blues

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/seasonal-affective-disorder-winter-blues/

https://bestlifeonline.com/ways-to-cheer-up-this-winter/

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/ways-to-beat-cabin-fever

https://makespace.com/blog/posts/beat-cabin-fever/

https://www.wisebread.com/6-frugal-ways-to-beat-cabin-fever

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/smarter-living/how-to-win-at-winter.html

https://www.happier.com/blog/how-to-survive-winter-even-if-you-really-really-hate-it/

https://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception

Making Winter Fun/Winter Activities

(Also you may to revisit my Christmas magic because some of the things like sledding and skiing and baking can still be done!)

https://www.bustle.com/articles/134611-15-little-ways-to-make-winter-more-fun

https://bucketlistjourney.net/19-ideas-winter-bucket-list-things-to-do/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/emotional-fitness/200912/10-tips-cool-and-inexpensive-wintertime-fun-couples?page=0

Board Games for Couples

(I may do a post on this in the future… for I have my very own list of beloved games & we love to try out new games too)

https://liveboldandbloom.com/05/product-reviews/games-for-couples

https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/board-games-for-couples/

https://www.nerdmuch.com/toys/5430/top-best-board-games-for-couples-2-player-people-two/

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-best-two-player-couples-board-games-for-game-night-229613

https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/01/two-player-games-to-play-with-your-husband/

https://www.boardgamequest.com/top-10-couples-date-night-games/

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Welcoming Winter….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s