As the days get longer and brighter and crocuses and daffodils break through hard earth, the promise of spring feels palpable. We do have some bracing conditions to weather in the short term though, so ahead of winter’s close on the 20 of March, try not to wish away time, and instead enjoy the simple pleasures of the season.
Nothing matches the cosiness of the winter months, where a dark evening can be lit up by a crackling fire, a cold walk enriched by a steaming flask of coffee, and a simple meal turned into a warming feast with hearty spices.
The changing seasons are part of our natural life cycle, so it’s important to embrace winter living and the simple joy it can bring rather than counting down the days until the warm weather comes.
Scandinavian countries experience extreme cold weather during the winter months, but this only enhances our culture of mysig or hygge, where we embrace rejuvenating outdoor activities and make the home a haven of warmth and comfort to come back to and hunker down in.
Being present and living in the here and now is important to ensuring we appreciate our lives, loves and surroundings and to promote feelings of gratitude. It’s also vital for good overall mental health, so for the last weeks of winter, try and proactively carve out moments to enjoy simple pleasures, no matter the weather!
Below I share my guide for how to make the most of the final weeks of winter – so keep on reading!
Embrace the cold
In Scandinavia, we say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. One of the joys of winter is going for a bracing walk, wrapped in a warm coat and scarf, appreciating the scenery, nature, the elements, the exercise, and the exhilaration of being outdoors whilst feeling cosy inside your layers.
Going for a winter walk with a hot drink and warming snack is an alternative take on the all-important Scandi ritual of Fika. Fika is the practice of taking a break from the daily grind to enjoy a coffee, a slice of cake and the opportunity to reset. Whether with friends, family, colleagues, or alone, combining Fika with a walk provides the opportunity to really disconnect whilst also reaping the benefits of immersing yourself in nature.
Soak it up
Running yourself a steaming hot bath is a simple pleasure that can’t really be replicated in the warmer months.
Something about the stages of preparing a bath – from finding the right temperature, adding the bubble bath and surrounding yourself with all the pampering products, to lighting the candles and pouring a glass of wine – has a soothing effect before you have even dipped a toe in.
The post-bath ritual is just as indulgent. Moisturising, wrapping up in a cosy robe or onesie and snuggling on the couch to enjoy a good book or box set before bed only add to the pleasure.
With the earlier sunsets, nighttime naturally starts earlier in the winter, leading to a feeling of sleepiness in the evenings that we don’t necessarily feel in the summer.
Early nights can be beneficial to counteract our busy modern lives, allowing us to catch up on much-needed rest and me-time. In fact, recent research has shown that humans naturally need more sleep throughout the winter months – it’s our version of hibernating and is scientifically proven, so there’s no need to feel guilt!
Take advantage of any cosy winter nighttime impulses. Have an early dinner, get into your comfiest PJs, and curl up in bed with a good book or your favourite TV reruns, before switching off from the day and drifting into an easy slumber.
Any way to inject some extra warmth is a much-welcome respite as the chilly winter temperatures linger.
Taking time to slow down and build your own fire is a wonderful way to root yourself in the process. The methodical act of building up the logs, kindling and firelighters allows you to engage at the moment and be in control of the end result.
Fire has a strong impact on a number of senses. There is of course the sight of beautiful dancing flames that have an almost hypnotic effect when you focus on them, allowing your mind to wander and relax, the perfect winter ritual.
If you want to enjoy the mesmerising flames of the fire but don’t have a woodburning stove or want a micro-option, gather together some candles and light them to infuse the room with a soft and relaxing glow. A bonus if they are scented, creating a pleasurable sensory experience for any winter evening.
Invest in you
Winter is naturally a time of internalising and reflecting. As the last of the cold weeks stretch ahead, take advantage of the time to invest in yourself ahead of the busy social seasons of spring and summer.
Use your remaining winter evenings to journal, read, pamper, set intentions for the months ahead, or simply relax and spend quality time with yourself.
Allow yourself to try new things from the safety of your winter nest; bake new recipes with warming winter spices, write poetry, or try out a new skill like crocheting. The important thing to remember is that it is not about achieving anything in particular, rather, the goal is to be present in the moment and enjoy the opportunities available to you now, before the next season arrives and changes your energy, outlook and priorities.