I have to admit, winter is not my favorite season. While I appreciate every season and the unique beauty and differences that each one brings, winter is tricky for me with its cold temperatures, cloudy and grey days, and shortened daylight hours. That’s why I’ve been inspired recently by this concept of “wintering well” as introduced to me by Hayley Morgan via her Instagram feed.
It takes acts of intention and planning to get through the long season that is winter. Basically, “wintering well” is an art. It requires that those of us who struggle in this season cultivate practices and engage in activities that help us thrive, feel energized, and uplifted for what comes next – spring.
So, to take care of myself in this not-so-favorite season of mine and keep the pep in my step, here is how I “winter well:”
Every winter, I take a couple of long-weekend trips out-of-state to break away from the routine and take in different scenery. I’ve mentioned on here several times that I am a person who needs things to look forward to (a ‘hope junkie’ if you will) and I absolutely LOVE having a travel destination(s) on the calendar as a reminder that good things are just around the corner. Knowing I’ll soon be in an amazing place with the people I love keeps me going on the hard days.
Just last week I returned from my first trip of the new year. The hubby and I traveled down to Clearwater, Florida to spend some quality time together and with my parents who are there for the duration of the month. Seeing the ocean, basking in the warm, fresh air, running the beach, walking the pier, among other leisurely activities, is just what we needed to get refreshed as we continue through winter back at home.
Next, we’re planning to venture to Colorado for my husband’s annual ski trip and so that I can visit with my brother and nephew! I’m so looking forward to seeing them again and being back in the mountains!
2) Expressing my Creativity.
As a way to wind down the busy days, I’ve recently taken up “adult coloring.” Believe it or not, it totally works to refocus the mind and relieve stress. I picked up a relatively inexpensive coloring book at my favorite bookstore and have just chosen random pages to color and work through as I have time. I like to put in a movie and sit in my favorite chair as I do it too, which makes for a comfy and relaxing finish to any day.
3) Wearing Lipstick.
I know this might sound crazy, but I dare my girls out there to do this, because I have found that adding a splash of color to my day with a fabulous bright shade of lipstick makes me feel more beautiful and confident, which therefore makes me feel better. And that is how I want to feel when the only thing that sounds good is staying in bed all day because I’m freezing cold and don’t want to leave the comfort and warmth of my nest. Be bold, girls, and try this – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
4) Girls Days.
Over the past year, I have been intentional about spending more time with my favorite girlfriends because the truth is, they just get me in a way that my husband and other people do not, and also because they are just plain fun and inspiring and beautiful, good souls who I learn so much from and want to be around! So one thing us ladies try to do is make time at least once per month to see one another for a day of catching up, eating, exploring, laughing, shopping, and whatever else may suit our interests. Having these days marked on the calendar does exactly what our trips do for me – they give me something to look forward to – a bright spot in my month to connect with my people and share life together. It really is an awesome thing and something I highly recommend!
5) Reading and Writing.
It’s no surprise that I love to read and write, since I only talk about books and blog on a weekly basis, but winter is probably my favorite time to dive into books and get some good writing in. There’s something about the cold days that just make it easier to get cozy with a cup of coffee or tea, and read for a bit, put pen to paper and words on the screen. At home, you can usually find me sitting on my bed, covered in a big puffy blanket, with a candle burning and soft music playing and either a book in my hands or my computer on my lap.
6) Essential Oils.
I am a huge believer in the use of essential oils and, personally, use Young Living oils on an everyday (morning / noon / night) basis whether it’s applying topically or diffusing. They have become a part of both my husband and I’s daily routine and I’m not sure what we would do without them. Through Pinterest, I have found some great combinations of oils to diffuse for various things, such as for anxiety, allergies, sleeping well, and even most recently, for beating the winter blues. PERFECT!
I do have to say that this winter has been fairly mild, in comparison to the last couple of years, and that has made being outside and getting my runs in way easier this year! Regardless of how the weather is though, regular routine exercise (strength-training, yoga, running, and spin) whether at home or at the gym makes me feel FABULOUS. As much as I love the coziness that this season ushers in, I can’t just sit and lay around for months on end. Being active, moving around, getting that pent-up energy out physically is so. good. for my mind, body, and spirit. And by the time spring rolls around, I’m fit and ready for the activities and good weather of the season!
8) Taking a Class.
In previous winters, I’ve been involved with bible studies (whether attending or leading) at our church. Last year was the first time in a while I did not participate in one due to my hectic work schedule, starting my work on a board of directors, and finishing up the requirements to apply for my license in social work. But this year is a different story and it just so happens that our church is offering a class that I’ve been wanting to take for a while and that won’t take up time during the week, but instead happens right after we attend services on Sundays, therefore it was a “no brainer” for me to sign up for this 10 week period and gather with fellow believers to learn, grow, and focus on my specific topic of the year – FREEDOM!
So, friends, that’s what it looks like for me to “winter well.” I’d love to hear how you aim to thrive and make the most of this time of year!