Winter in a cold climate is beautiful at first. Christmas feels more magical, and New Years intentions feel fresh when everything is a pure white. But once the holidays and first month of the year passes, the season has long lost its charm and newness and instead feels like a long cold purgatory that has no end in sight. Last year we had snow until mid-April, and although I'm worried it will be the same this year, I've been trying to push back against the winter blues and wanted to share them with you in case you've been feeling the same.
Wake up with the sun and rise with intention. In a few months the sun will be rising much earlier, making it harder to watch the day come alive as you sip your morning coffee. Being able to stretch slowly as the first rays of light illuminate the sky, journal your day's intentions as the birds start their morning song, and wash your face as the first ray of light streams through the window just may help your body feel more in tune with the natural world.
Read a wintery book by the windowsill as the snowflakes fall while you warm yourself with a cup of tea or cocoa. I read The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey last month and it helped me settle into the season. The book has a slight fairytale feel to it and Ivey's imagery is absolutely beautiful. It is set in 1920's homestead Alaska and her writing perfectly portrays how Winter's harshness is also what can make the season beautiful.
Bring a bit of green inside. It's been months since I've seen the grass and looking outside only to see 3 feet of white piled on top of my summer garden has me feeling that Spring will never come. This weekend my boyfriend and I are going to go to a greenhouse and adopt a few potted herbs and plants to take home and place on our windowsills and tables. By bringing some life indoors, I will be reminded that it won't be long before I'll be spending hours in my garden outdoors again.
On the days when the snowflakes are big and soft, bundle up and venture outside so you can catch one on your tongue. Challenge your younger siblings, the neighbourhood kids or anyone who is young at heart to a snowball fight – loser makes hot chocolate! Create snowforts, build a snowperson or do anything else that reminds you of childhood snowdays long left behind.
Find your nearest outdoor rink, rummage through your parents' attic for a pair of skates, and experience the thrill of skating outside, no matter how wobbly your legs may be. If possible, try to track down some hockey sticks and a puck. As a kid I waited all year for the trip to my Uncle's cabin where I could play pond hockey amongst the mountains, and even now the sound of my skates ripping across the lake gives me one of the biggest natural thrills I've yet to experience.
On dark snowy evenings wrap yourself in an extra scarf and venture outside. Leave your headphones at home and listen instead to the sound of your boots touching virgin snow. make footprints on the fresh snow and watch how your breath fogs while snow dances under the streetlights as the world is so quiet, yet so alive all at once.
Fill your home with light. String fairy lights around the rooms you're in most, light scented candles whenever your curl up on your couch and light a fire if you have a wood stove or fireplace. Although the days have gotten longer since the solstice, February can often feel like the darkest month now that the lights and decorations of the holidays have passed. Soft, cozy lights will help keep your spirits up until we are met once again with those long summer nights that we crave so much.
Savour this last bit of hibernation. Soon Spring will arrive and you will cast all the heavy blankets aside, but for now relish in the last few blasts of cold air by retreating to your bed and burying yourself in blankets and warmth. Make your bedroom your den – put a canopy over your bed, place soft rugs on the floor and surround yourself with the softest of textures. Come March you can paw your way out of the layers, but this month is the perfect time for you and maybe a loved one to spend your evenings in a state of hibernation while you store your energy until Spring.