In general, I think it’s the rule rather than the exception that people tend to dread winter. Who can blame them? Winter means less sunlight, bulky clothing, and more shovelling. It means drippy noses and foggy glasses. Yuck.
I avoided one winter the year I lived in Ecuador teaching English. My Christmas backdrop that year was green grass, colourful blossoms, and eucalyptus trees. I wore shorts.
I’ve never been a huge fan of winter. I’m not really into winter sports (although I’d like to start) and I enjoy wearing fewer clothing rather than more (interpret that as you may). I hate being cold, but mostly I love the sun, and I miss its long daily visits of the summer. I can wear millions of layers to control how cold I get, but I can’t control the sun. If I could tie a string to the ol’ fireball and pull it closer whenever I wanted, I would. While I don’t get depressed (must be all those essential fatty acids I eat!), I usually experience a lag in energy during the winter months. I would rather snuggle under the covers than bound outside to lift my face up to the sky.
I thought so.
However, winter doesn’t have to be so bad. There are aspects of the season that we can’t control, but we can always control how we react to them, and how we treat ourselves. We all have the ability to find winter’s particular charm. It may not become our favourite season, but let’s try to find that silver lining, the one dusted with sparkling snowflakes.
Here are some things I like about Winter, and some things that help me get through it:
1) A Hearty Bowl of Soup and Some Homemade Crusty Bread
What’s that? You say you’d like some recipes? Well, wouldn’t you know that a delicious soup recipe follows this post, and that it goes perfectly with this bread (that I never get tired of promoting….because it’s that good.) This is a fantastic meal idea, especially when your soup is veggie based and has some protein in it. A fresh loaf baked along with a simmering pot of soup makes a lovely marriage on a cold, dark night. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d want to come home to?
2) Flannel Sheets
As if getting in to bed at the end of a long day wasn’t appealing enough, flannel sheets make this ritual absolutely divine. Cotton sheets can sometimes be on the chilly side, especially if your bed is close to a window. Unless you have a pet buffalo to drape its warm furry body across the bed to warm it up before you get in, the first minute in bed may be shiver inducing. Flannel sheets are like jumping into a bed that just came out of the dryer. Mmmm. So cozy.
3) A Fetching Winter Coat
Don’t feel fetching during the winter? Then get a stylish winter coat that makes you feel happy every time you put it on. Take time to look for a coat that reflects your personality. Bonus points for colour! Look for good quality fabrics and intelligent tailoring. When you try it on, make sure you can rotate your arms fully, sit down, and do a little dance. Also make sure that you buy a size big enough to accommodate a sweater underneath. I LOVE my winter coat. I got it at H & M last winter and it makes me feel cheery every time I wear it. It’s red and delicious. And I get lots of compliments on it, which is another good way to feel fetching
4) Sun on White Snow
There is something so incredible about the look a of bright sunlight on white snow. You know what I’m talking about. No matter how cold it is, it is hard not to be thankful when confronted with such beauty when you step out your front door on a day like that. But even on days when the sun is hiding, try to find beauty outside. Appreciating art, especially in nature, exercises our often poorly neglected right brain, and helps to balance our thoughts. If the day is dreary look up at a tree, whose dark, bare branches appear like black lace against the pale skin of the sky. If it’s snowing, catch a snowflake on your mitten a take a close look before it melts. Snowflakes are endlessly fascinating to me, each like a miniature fleck of ornately carved glass.
5) Wooly Socks & Pyjamas + Warm Drink + Good Book/Magazine/Newspaper
If you’ve exhausted the beauty of the outdoors, get inside and follow the above equation. When it’s a shit-storm outside (pardon my French), take the opportunity to stay put! Reading in comfy clothes with a mug of something hot is a simple pleasure that I feel people often overlook. It’s one of my favourite things to do, and I find it incredibly recharging. Bonus points if you can light a fire in your fireplace. Double bonus points if you can play footsies with someone you love
WheeeEEEEeee!!! Need I say more? You’re never to old to gather up a group of friends, find a hill, and take a ride. Failing a proper toboggan or sled, a big sheet of cardboard (like from a flattened box) usually works as a recyclable hill vehicle. Wear proper waterproof gear, and make sure that there isn’t a mystery thin ice patch/highway/bear den at the bottom of the hill that you might uncontrollably slide into. And bring band-aids.
7) Christmas Lights
I secretly don’t hate the people who leave their holiday lights on all year-long. I suppose in July, when the coloured lights start confusing enamoured bumblebees, it might be a bit ridiculous, but when the days start getting shorter, I find bright holiday decorations to be a great recompense. I have a set of white lights that I’ve had strung up around my headboard all year. Sometimes I’ll turn them on instead of my reading lamp and have myself a Happy Holiday in July
…And now for that Hearty Bowl of Soup
2 c dried lentils*
1 bunch rapini (about 5 cups chopped)
6 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, minced
4 Tbsp tamari
3 T coconut oil or ghee
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried sage
1/2 t dried thyme
9 cups of filtered water
*If you have time, soak those lentils! Overnight if possible.
- Add oil/ghee to a large pot on med/high. Add onions and spices and stir until onions are clear and fragrant.
- Add water and Bragg and bring to a boil
- Add lentils and cook until tender (about 30 minutes or so, less if they were soaked)
- Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes, then add rapini, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how well you want your veggies done
- Serve with crusty whole grain bread or a dollop of organic yogurt on top.
***Freeze several good-sized containers for later consumption! Now that’s convenience food!
Happy, safe, and healthy holidays, everyone! Stay warm!