How to Truly Enjoy Winter
Hello my dear and welcome back to our corner of the Internet!
Today we are going to be diving into the topic of Wintertime. How can we enjoy this cold and dreary season? How can we get the most out of Winter instead of longing for warmer days each time we feel a bitter wind on our cheeks?
Well... you've come to the right place because not only am I a bonafide Northerner: a former Canadian and general lover of the snow, but Winter is actually my favorite season.
You read that correctly!
I absolutely love Winter. I love January, and I love the cold months. I know it can be depressing for some people as Christmas has come and gone and we are living in frigid temperatures, but I adore it. I love the crisp cold days and thick sheets of snow covering the trees. I don't mind bundling up in three layers just to get the mail, and you won't even catch me complaining when I have to push the stroller through ice and snowdrifts just to fit in my walks.
The cold, the snow, and even the short days and long nights: I love it all.
However: I am not delusional. I completely understand why many people prefer the warmth of Summer along with the long days and extra Vitamin D. Maybe it's difficult for you to appreciate the Winter, or where you live, Winter isn't as pretty as a snowy Michigan January. I thought I would write this blog post to help inspire you in your appreciation for Winter and maybe help you get through these long cold months without hating them so much.
Now, I believe that if you are to truly enjoy Summertime, you need a strategy. If you just stayed inside sweating in the heat all day, you'd probably have a pretty terrible Summer. Summertime requires planning: what are you going to wear? How will you stay cool? How many times will you go to the lake or the beach? Will you take your kids to the zoo or on vacation? Or maybe you have a special summertime playlist that you like to listen to? Summer naturally calls for nice brunches with our friends, evening wine out on the patio as the fireflies blink, and a country playlist. It is warm, romantic, and a time to adventure and enjoy social engagements.
But it requires forethought and indulgence. You need to lean into Summer in order to really enjoy it. Embracing the warmth, the long days, and the general "vibe" of a loose and adventurous Summer truly yields the best results.
Likewise, I believe that in order to truly enjoy Winter, you really need to lean in and embrace all that it has to offer. The key is to live in Winter DIFFERENTLY than you do in other seasons. It requires a different attitude, lifestyle, and even a different wardrobe! The weather is colder and the days are shorter. There is less sunshine and it can even be more difficult to see friends due to inclimate weather and driving conditions. You may be inside more than usual and finding fresh produce might be impossible. But these things don't need to get us down... no!
You just can't expect to carry on in a Summer manner when it is Winter. Winter requires a Winter mindset.
So this being said, what is this mindset? How can one enjoy Winter? How can we approach this season with a "Wintertime" mentality?
Well... this former Canadian is going to spill all the secrets ;)
Firstly, I would like to point out the obvious: MAKE SURE YOU ARE WARM ENOUGH.
You WILL, and I repeat, WILL hate Winter if you are uncomfortable.
So make sure your house is warm enough! Make sure your clothes are warm enough! This may seem totally obvious, but make sure you are a comfortable temperature at all times. No cold feet, no shivering shoulders, and no chilly knuckles. I know we like to make jokes about dads who turn the thermostat down extremely low to save money, but I think it's worth the extra chunk of change to keep things warm. I can promise you that you WILL NOT FEEL HAPPY in Winter if you aren't warm enough.
If you spent your Summer days sweating and overheating indoors AND outdoors, you would probably hate Summer. Well, the same logic applies to Winter. If you're cold or having a frequent "chill" in your kitchen in the morning, in your bed at night, after your showers, in your car, in your office, and basically everywhere you go... you're going to hate it.
So make sure you're warm enough.
There are MANY ways to accomplish this, but the first step is to make sure your home is properly insulated and heated, and the second is to make sure you're dressed properly. Here are some suggestions:
- Curtains are a great way to cover up windows that leak cold air through the glass. Close them at night and your house will be warmer when you wake up.
- Put a weighted beanbag tube on the floor in front of your exterior doors to ensure that no drafts are coming through.
- SAFE space heaters can be effective for heating a single room (not an entire house.) Don't feel bad if you need some extra heat in your bedroom or TV room. Buy a little space heater!
- Make sure you have bath mats to stand on in your bathroom so you don't have to do your makeup while standing on cold tile.
- Turn the thermostat up a little. It will cost more, but I promise you: it's worth it.
- Keep your doors closed around the house to trap heat.
- Have a ton of blankets available to wrap up in, even if you're doing work at the dining table. Grab a throw and put it on!
- Invest in a "house coat" as a Canadian would call it. It's essentially a robe you wear over your clothing to keep extra warm.
- Wear slippers all day or thick slipper socks.
- Wear gloves whenever you go outside, even if you go straight to your car: do not touch a steering wheel without gloves on! It will freeze you to your core.
- Likewise, wear a hat every single time you go outside, and even a scarf. When I go grocery shopping or just to the gas station, I am always wearing a hat. Never let your ears touch the cold and you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER.
- Drink warm drinks throughout the day. Growing up in Canada, we would have morning "coffee time" around 10am, and then "tea time" around 3pm. Adopt this practice and thank me later.
- Change your food to be more "Winter style." We don't eat summer foods in winter... we eat roasts, soups, stews, casseroles, and pastas. These keep us toasty and warmed from the inside!
Now that you're warm enough, I'd like to go through some other bits of advice that I do to actually enjoy myself in Wintertime, starting with my wardrobe!
Try to have a Winter wardrobe and a Summer wardrobe.
These will be almost completely different and have barely any overlap. Pull the Winter wardrobe out when it gets cold, and store your Summer t-shirts, dresses, and clothing with thin fabric. We should NOT be wearing linen in the Winter! No chiffon, gauzy clothing, or thin cottons. No. Winter is a time for cashmere, merino wool, thick cotton, chunky knits, flannel, denim, and corduroy. I often see people wearing thin cotton dresses with, like, a jean jacket overtop in the Winter, and it's just NOT THE VIBE. No! If you're going to wear a thin cotton dress, at least wear a turtleneck underneath with thick wool tights and tall boots! Sheesh!
And how do I stay warm in Winter, even while wearing a dress?
Leggings, tights, long John's, tall socks, thin layering long sleeves, turtlenecks under dresses: there are many ways. I could write an entire post about this! But basically: LAYER. Layer, layer, layer. I know it sucks to have to have two wardrobes, but I promise you that it will make you feel like you're embracing Winter so much more. I have an entire box full of turtlenecks, wool plaid skirts, and thick coats that only come out to play between late November and early April!
Also, try to have a bunch of coats: not just one.
Outerwear is extremely overlooked in the fashion department. Many people only have one Northface coat and call it a day, layering it over officewear, athleisure, and even church dresses! Oh the horror! Obviously coats are expensive, but if you can, try to build up a coat collection so that you have different pieces for different needs and outfits. Vintage wool coats, trench coats, and long puffer coats look so cute with most Winter outfits. Have fun with it!
Moving to homeware, I would recommend a lot of blankets around your home.
Make sure they are fresh, clean, and on the newer side, or at least in good condition. I don't thrift blankets often for this reason: things you need to cuddle up in should be fresh and NOT ratty, pilled, or covered in dog hair. I promise you that it is worth the $40 investment to go to TJ Maxx or HomeGoods to buy some new soft blankets for your couch or living room chair. Try to purchase blankets that feel luxurious and keep them clean by washing them and not letting your pet use them for a bed.
Concerning beauty, try to keep your skin moisturized.
Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night, and pump up the creams for the dry cold air of Winter. Drab and dull skin will absolutely make you feel dried out and rough, and probably make you dislike Winter. Pro-tip for itchy body skin: put oil on your body BEFORE you shower. It will prevent you from feeling too dried out from the hot shower. Use extra body moisturizers in Winter, and if you're sad about feeling pale and drab in Winter, grab a self-tanner from Amazon and get a year-round glow!
I also like to keep certain scents exclusively for the cold months: vanilla, apple, cinnamon, pine, and sandalwood are all delicious Wintery scents that will help you lean into the cozy feeling of Winter. Try to avoid citrus or fruity perfumes and lotions in the Winter, as those should be saved for Summertime and Spring. Most of us wouldn't light a pumpkin spice candle in May, and I think the same principle applies to wearing Mango Sherbert body lotion in January. Stay on theme!
Next, try to get out into the sunshine whenever it's sunny!
Just exposing your face to the sunshine, even if you're wrapped in three layers, a scarf, and a hat is still beneficial. Let your skin feel warmed by the sun and seriously: take advantage of the sunny days because we both know that Winter can sometimes be extremely overcast. I'll sit on my front step for 20 minutes, scrolling on my phone and enjoying the sun just to get the Vitamin D.
And if you've gone an insane amount of days without seeing the sun, consider purchasing a sunlamp. They scientifically work to help you get that desperately needed Vitamin D. Sit in front of your sunlamp when looking at your phone for twenty minutes a day, and reap the Vitamin D benefits.
Now for activities...
Consume "Wintery" content: books, shows, music, and films that feel Wintery to you. I know a lot of people rewatch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings in the Winter. You could not PAY me to watch Lord of the Rings in July. It just doesn't fit!
I personally like to read fairytale-themed books in the Winter, mystery books in the Fall, and chick-lit in the Summer and Spring. I like to watch the Chronicles of Narnia around Christmastime and last year I read the Twilight series in January and February. This goes for music too: I like to listen to lo-fi or jazz beats in the Winter, mixed in with folk and alternative music. Nothing country, and nothing too upbeat or poppy. Taylor Swift's Speak Now album is not a Winter vibe for me. Just pure moody Bon Iver, and we're good to go.
Also, I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but make sure you stay Wintery with your food. I like to bake specific things in Winter that I wouldn't bake in the Summer. Indulgent cakes, morning cookies, and hearty breads are all Winter favorites in our house. Cooking should take on a different form as the season shifts, so try to move towards more indulgent and warmer foods. Winter is definitely the time to pack in and get cozy, even with your foods.
Finally, if you're really feeling up to it, try to engage in some Winter activities. I am a personal fan of cross country skiing, but I know other people enjoy arena skating, hockey, snowmobiling, and curling. Watch the Winter Olympics for inspiration! And no, I am not kidding LOL. Even just taking a hike outside or walking through town in snowboots with your dog can help you lean into the cold, the snow, and the overcast days rather than hiding away inside all the time.
Indulge in board games with your family, movie nights on the weekend, and lots of time in the kitchen and at the dining table. Get outside to build a snowman and send over cookies and treats to your neighbors! I love baking cookies and sending them over to friends and neighbors' houses... it's a way to feel connected even though we see each other less in the colder months.
And last but not least: try to enjoy warm showers and sauna sessions. Most people don't have a sauna (we are lucky in that regard) but a shower can accomplish the same goal. Warm baths, showers, and toasty sessions in the warmth can really help you enjoy your Winter so much more. And speaking of warm showers, I must sign off and go wash my hair right now before my babies wake up.
I hope you have a fabulous Winter my friends!