Changing Our Routines and Priorities for Whimsical Seasonal Living
Welcome back to the blog my dears.
Today I wanted to write a small bit of encouragement for all of you, urging you to choose whimsy and wonder this season! We are entering into a special time in the northern climates, the seasons are shifting and it is getting colder outside. And as we head toward the finale of 2022, many of us are also preparing for holidays, religious rituals, and end-of-year festivities.
Though joyful, this time of year can also be fraught for many of us, with elections, school exams, challenges in the workforce, and an upcoming cold and flu season. The days are often shorter and darker, the skies are overcast, and it's easy to fall into emotional and mental darkness. The distractions and frustrations of the end of the year can sometimes overshadow the joy, which is why I hope we can all take a moment to consider how to live extra whimsically this time of year.
As always, I like to make practical suggestions, accessible to almost anyone, suggesting low-effort and low-cost methods of bringing the joy. Hopefully you feel inspired!
So firstly, we should consider adding seasonal-specific routines and items to our lives.
Yes, this means pulling out different sweaters and coffee mugs, and even home decor for this time of year. Consider decorating for Christmas a little early, pulling out your bright Valentines' Day reds and pinks, and maybe fish out that big set of Christmas teacups.
Differentiating seasons in our lives can often enhance our capability of creating big memories, our minds latching onto the sounds, the smells, and the overall sensations we felt during various times in our lives. Even changing up the perfume you wear or the body wash you use can make you feel extra festive or whimsical this time of year.
I like to review the content I'm watching or the books I'm reading to make sure they fit the season. Reading mysteries and school or academy-focused stories always makes me feel extra autumnal while historical or lore-heavy content like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars always makes me feel like we're entering the holiday season. A lot of people enjoy Hallmark Christmas movies for this reason! It adds extra festive cheer to our days. In our house, late-night games of gin rummy in the summer can shift into long sessions of complicated board games by the fire as we enter the colder months. Instead of sitting on the porch listening to the sprinklers, we read in the living room while my husband plays guitar.
Monotony can become boring or even depressing at times, and shifting the small things, even the magazines we pick up or the way we decorate our homes or our dinner tables settings... all these changes can bring extra much seasonal joy. Consider swapping out your throw pillows or even the curtains in your living room to something heavier or more festive for Winter. Surround yourself with seasonal-specific decor and content and I know you'll be feeling extra whimsical.
On top of these physical shifts, I also change my routines when the seasons change.
We add in a daily walk or coffee drive thru-visit depending on the patterns of the sun and what my children are up for. In the summer, we changed our schedule to go to bed really late, heading to the beach as late as 5pm to soak up the hot evening air. But now that it's turning into Winter, we've been bundling up and enjoying forest walks through the Christmas-lit neighborhoods, taking leisurely strolls through antique shops and roughhousing in the downstairs basement as it gets dark outside.
In the winter, I spend my evenings on my hobby writing, imagining stories and characters as I sip tea before taking a hot bath and slipping into bed, whereas in the summer I might have spent time in the flowerbeds or kitchen, my productivity continuing until almost 10pm. Try to mold and shift your routine to fit the season, and don't be harsh on yourself for feeling like taking it easier... that's natural as we enter the cold months and the busy holiday season.
On top of shifting routines and the items in our lives, another thing we should be doing as the seasons change is seeking company.
It's so easy to become swallowed up in our monotonous busyness, but I find that trying to spend time with others during these colder days can be a bigger blessing than we might realize. I've spent two or three winters in this town somewhat alone, save for my husband, but since having children, my social circle has expanded, and only now do I realize how much I was missing out on. Of course, we cannot always help these seasons in our lives if we've just moved or started fresh in a new career or university, but I also think we can perhaps speed up the process of building a community if we put extra effort into reaching out, showing up, and hosting others.
Last year I was fortunate enough to attend a few Christmas parties, making ornaments and dressing in fun sweaters, and it really enhanced my overall winter season. It felt like a celebration to just be near other people. I made plans as much as possible to attend church events, family gatherings, and to invite couples over for dinner parties.
But seeking company doesn't always mean socializing with friends or family. Just being around other people can help you feel less alone. Staying in your room huddled over your laptop can be much more lonely than sipping a peppermint latte as you enjoy your work at a coffee shop. At least when you're alone in a cafe, you can always chat with the barista or people passing by.
So consider booking tickets for a performance of the Nutcracker, even if it's just your local elementary school ballet school. Watch the middle school's Christmas pageant and sign up for the church choir on Christmas Eve! Just being in the thick of other people, maybe even enjoying a movie marathon at the theatre or holiday shopping at the mall amongst the crowds... all of these activities draws us into the company of others, giving us opportunities to interact and break up the winter loneliness.
Reach out to family and friends, host a bring-your-own pie party, try to enjoy these pandemic-free times, and consider distributing holiday cookies or small gifts to all your friends. Something as small as a little bottle of hand lotion or a pack of scrunchies given with a warm smile can be such a treat for our friends. Seek company and try to spread the cheer through your actions and words.
Winter and the colder seasons don't have to be depressing, and we don't even have to cling to holiday festivities in order to find joy. I think the more we cater to the shifting seasons, spend time around others, and remember to choose gratitude, the more we will have joy.
So maybe today, analyze the things in your life that may not be conducive for this season and try to make a change where change is needed, or maybe just plug into some new shifts.
I hope you all find extra whimsy this holiday season!