I have mentioned of my love of winter numerous times but I wanted to dedicate a whole post to it’s wonders. I have to swiftly state, before you click off in bewilderment or disgust, that I used to long for summer and actively hate the cold season, approaching it with a deep sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I am sensitive to the cold, with bad circulation, and I have the immunity of a kitten. As a teenager, I lived in a very draughty house and I used to comfort eat the wrong sort of thing which led to hiddeous sluggishness and bad skin. Winter also holds the anniversary of both mine and Dave’s mums deaths (grim, we know). So Winter for me meant illness, sadness and being almost constantly cold. BAD TIMES.
But in the space of a few years that hatred has been drastically turned on its head. I feel happier this winter than I have all year. I am that person who stops in the street to watch the starlings, simply full of the joy of it, a slightly mad looking grin on their face. I feel my heart quickening at the prospect of temperatures dropping, the onset of the first frosts, the fog descending; when nature shows a different face, a face that is much maligned, yet holds so much beauty, if you look at it in a different way.
As I’ve got older, I’ve understood more the necessity of the seasons. Everything in life is cyclical and there is a time for abundance and a time to be fallow. Fallow time is critical to facilitate rest and enable the onset of abundance again. We are meant to rest and sleep more in winter, meant to work less. In our electric light filled world we have become de-sensitised to these urges, and modern work patterns simply don't allow us to slow down. But I think if we can find even small ways to listen to what mother nature is trying to tell us, we would all feel a lot happier.
Here are 8 ways I came to love winter.
Embrace its darkness to create.
I fostered a love for working in the pitch dark of night at University. My mind felt totally clear when all other distractions had gone. I did my best work through the night, and I still do; its just very rare these days for me to be able to stay up so late as I have a golden haired wild thing waking me up at 6 every morning. But there is something about the quiet dark evenings that make them ripe for creating, writing, planning and dreaming.
Gaze at the moon.
I love seeing the stars and the moon ever earlier in the day, and I love that now Frankie-Rose is awake to see them too. We have had some beautiful clear nights here in Kent, where the stars are shining so brightly at 6pm! "I can see a shooting star mama!" (always airplanes, but who am I to dampen her joy?!)
Celebrate the sunrise
Isn't it lovely that so many of us can enjoy the sunrise, something normally reserved for the very early risers in the lighter months? Our morning drives to kindergarten have been bathed in pink, gold, and lilac, and add pure magic to our day.
There is much to celebrate in the winter months, and I encourage you to do so with gusto. Yes, Christmas, but also the Solstice, Advent, Chinese New Year and Burns Night. You don’t have to throw a huge party; a simple dinner with your family or a few friends can be surprisingly uplifting and festive, without leaving you feeling burnt out.
In Summer, we are a lot more social, but we now try to not over book ourselves in Winter so that we can spend time together at home instead. We got rid of our TV this year which means we do a lot more reading and listening to music (and working, there is that too). The TV is extra alluring at this time of year, and I love watching christmas films, but I used to find loads of telly made me feel sluggish and zombiefied (a word. Definitely.) If thats you, then try to keep it off and read/create/talk/listen to music for a few nights instead.
Go outside//move your body.
Don't forget to go outside. Yes, winter is a time when we spend more time indoors but too many of us forget to spend time outside too, and it’s so important to do so. I know myself well enough now that I need to get outside regularly to blow away the cobwebs and stretch my legs regularly. I have not been able to run for a few months as I’ve had an injury, and I miss it terribly.
Go with the illness.
This is a strange one, but bear with me…its inevitable that illness strikes in Winter. This is often our bodies telling us we need to slow down and take it easy, and now I listen to it. As Natasha said in her ace guest post, it is so much better to rest and relax in the first place, than to have to take time off later for being burnt out and poorly. Me and Dave are both in positions where we can rest more freely now. Even with a 3 year old, we find ways to slow down and cosy up indoors if we’re poorly. We’ve found that colds and cough’s disappear a lot faster if we give in and just crawl into bed instead of drugging ourselves up to the nines and carrying on (we used to do that A LOT)
Winter is a time of brilliant brilliant comfort food. Hallelujah! I think we’re meant to crave it, meant to put on a few pounds of warmth over winter. But I learned to divert my bodies cravings for processed, sugary food into whole healthy hearty food instead and I feel thousands of times better for it.
An almost primal urge for sleep strikes ever earlier in the day in the winter months and yep, you guessed it, I heed it. Jeanette Winterson’s essay on adoring the night is brilliant, but a little unrealistic if you have kids (she talks about slipping under the covers with your lover in the afternoon). Whilst I agree that winter is exceptionally good for bedroom shenanigans, I have a more kid friendly version too. Eat dinner with your child/ren, then tidy up together so that its done before bed time. Get in the bath/shower together with candles, then get into pyjamas. After they’re asleep, get straight in to your own bed and enjoy a deliciously early night with your book. Its pure unadulterated bliss, I can tell you.
So, these are the things that have turned winter around for me, into a season I adore. How are you feeling about winter so far? Are you a lover or a hater? If this summer loving woman can fall in love with winter, so can you!