For those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere, our winter is officially just weeks away. And, if you’re anything like me, the change of season can be a total buzzkill. However, it doesn’t have to be all that bad… check out our tips for surviving winter.
Seasonal depression is no joke and neither is the physical pain of those cold days where you feel the freezing temperatures in your bones. But you don’t have to be a victim of winter. There are plenty of strategies out there that can alleviate the worst of the dark, cold months ahead. We’ve scoured the Internet in search of some tips for surviving winter and do you‘s Katherine Smith’s story on winter survival tips lays out the way that you should be framing the winter months and how to put a positive spin on them.
“If life is a perpetual summer, your output is always one way—outgoing—and it can be exhausting. Think about it; during summer, we’re always doing something. Our energy is that bit higher and we feel more social,” Smith writes. “I grew up with seasons, so I’m used to the annual cycle through winter, spring, summer, and fall. Winter always provided a gear shift towards regrouping. It was the natural time to stay in more and take stock.”
So, without further ado, here are our top 10 tips for surviving winter:
Getting worked up over the fact that the days are growing shorter, moaning about the grey skies and that you can’t walk around half-naked anymore serves no purpose other than to make your experience of the winter worse. Getting worked up over the inevitable future means you’re just putting yourself through it twice. Rather embrace the winter. Look forward to cozy cuddles, hot soup and the finer things that actually make winter nice. Embracing winter in this way will make the entire experience far easier.
Stay warm, stay cosy, stay dry
It goes without saying that you need to dress in layers, stay out of the rain and make yourself comfortable. A heater, or, better yet, a fireplace, can turn a very uncomfortable night into something far more comfortable and you should be excited by the idea of getting back to your sanctuary.
Get the right threads
Don’t buy your winter clothes on the cheap. Buy clothes with quality material that’s suited to colder temperatures, get a suitable raincoat for those days of torrential rain, and a nice pair of waterproof shoes. Cardigans, jerseys, scarves and nice, insulating headwear that covers your ears can make a big difference, especially when outside. If you have the heater on at home and/or you live in a well insulated home, the coats and boots can come off as soon as you get home. And, because you’re dressed in layers, you don’t need to be too cold or too hot. You can find the middle ground that’s perfect for you.
Humans, even though we like to tell ourselves that we’re something more, are mammals. The instinct to hibernate is still in our genes and curling up into bed can work wonders in winter. And, with less daylight, it only makes sense to sleep more, doesn’t it? Going to sleep an hour or two earlier can be incredibly helpful and energising. Don’t fight your instincts and get into a good rhythm to get the most out of your days, without having to tackle that lethargic feeling that accompanies the winter months.
Focus on something new
Take up a new hobby, read a new book, watch movies or work on a new personal project. You will feel far less lethargic if you’re spending your time doing something that actually excites you. Use your time to re-energize and feed your soul by exploring something that you’re passionate about.
The idea of getting out of bed at 6am to go for a run in freezing cold weather is a turn-off for even the fittest of us, but the truth is that getting up and moving your body can keep the fire in your heart burning and counter the cold. Going jogging, doing some yoga or anything you can think of to keep those endorphins pumping through your veins is a sure fire solution to stave off depression and to help your body withstand the cold.
Comfort foods… isn’t that what winter is about? A nice warm bowl of soup is generally my go to, but everyone is different. With your food, you should be targeting warming, spiced, satisfying dishes to stave off the cold that include plenty of root vegetables and complex carbs. And while you’re at it, make yourself a hot beverage. Rejuvenating teas with lemon, honey or ginger can work wonders and, if you don’t like tea, so will adding a bit of cinnamon to your morning coffee (and it counters blood sugar spikes).
At about midday, when the sun is out in full force, go for a walk to a nearby park or something. Make the most of the lightest part of the day and reconnect with nature… even if it’s just for a few minutes. Then, when you get home, cuddle up under a blanket or get into a hot bath and allow yourself to thaw for a few hours.
Fix your environment
Consider redecorating your home for the winter months. A fresh, pleasant and comfortable environment indoors can make a massive difference. Consider getting some indoor plants, fresh flowers, scented candles and try out a fresh colour scheme that’s more suitable for the winter months. Living in a comfortable, welcoming environment is critical, considering how much extra time you’re spending indoors (not that we’re going out much these days, anyways).
Spend quality time with your friends
One of the problems with summer is that we’re always out. There are plenty of social commitments and you have to juggle your friends around, keep a tight schedule and you just don’t get that quality time you need from the people closest to you. Winter is the time of the year where you can change that. With less social commitments, you can invite your friends over for boardgames and a glass of sherry in front of the fire. There’s no rush to get ready for your next social commitment, no need to be on the run. Finally, you can sit down and relax. Be grateful for this opportunity to spend some quality time with the people that matter the most to you.
So there you have it. Now you have everything you need to retain your sanity by the time summer comes round again. Winter doesn’t need to be a “bad time of year” if you don’t let it be. Take the bull by the horns and use our tips for surviving winter. Before you know it, it’ll be summer again!