It was somewhere in the middle of January that Monday was suddenly called Blue Monday and it looks like we’re in a collective slump. But the cold weather and dark days don’t make you grumpy: These tips from Kyra will help you appreciate winter.
Today is Blue Monday and we seem to be in a collective recession. We are tired of the dark gray weather, we have reached a financial low, we have poor motivation and we have thrown our good intentions overboard. The equation for determining the most depressing day of the year is anything but scientific, but I feel there is some truth to that.
I was born on the sunniest piece of land on our planet: the tropical island of Curaçao. I grew up in a constant temperature of 30 degrees and walked exclusively barefoot for the first four years of my life.
January is no different from July. When we moved to Holland and I entered puberty, that changed. Winter, especially the last months of winter, suddenly became a little heavier. The wet, cold, and gray weather affected my mood. I was always cold, passive, dull, and cranky. Even during my “early twenties,” I experienced this mild type of winter plunge.
here and now
The biggest turning point came when I let go of the struggle against winter and let it take me completely away. Instead of sticking to and eating summer salads, she’s embraced pumpkin soup and stew. Went to eat depending on the season.
Instead of wearing navel jackets and fluffy blouses at any cost, I began wrapping myself in wool. I kept myself warm and dry. Instead of dreaming and fleeing to tropical places, I learned to appreciate what is out there now.
Suddenly I saw the unique beauty of the cold, the darkness, and the turning inward, of all that winter brings. I used that time for a dose of soul-searching and reading books again by candlelight. And you know what? I didn’t let myself get carried away during the winter.
Spring, summer and autumn each had their own meaning, character, quality and appreciation. I’ve been completely winter free for about ten years now and so far I’m looking forward to the dark. I’m literally on the balcony cheering when it’s snowing. Who would have expected that from a Caribbean girl?
One thing I know for sure. If it’s up to me, it gives hope to everyone!
That’s why today I’m sharing my favorite tips and items to help you embrace winter and say goodbye to the blues.
1. Go outside
One of the things that helped me the most is that it’s completely free. Get outside for about 1.5 hours each day, even if it’s snowing or raining. Then I wander into the greenery, the garden or the forest.
The cold air refreshes my head, and while walking I mentally list “things”. The misty forest looks beautiful, not gloomy. And raindrops are not annoying, but they are as beautiful as diamonds when they stick to a spider’s web. By spending enough time outside each day, I connect with the season.
I see the subtle changes that turn late fall into winter. I see that nature changes when the weather starts to get warm. It teaches me that everything is constantly changing, even if it seems to remain gray and dark forever. Nothing is eternal. Everything has its time.
You’d better stay indoors, next to the heating. It was cold outside, and I was already cold, which created a vicious cycle.
2. Keep yourself warm
It seems logical, but it isn’t always so. Short jackets, low-rise jeans, and “invisible” socks were in the early days. The rain suit was for the losers. Whoever wanted to be beautiful had to suffer from pain (or cold), that was the creed. No wonder I was cold! Now I usually wear a silk shirt under my clothes.
My socks are thick and warm. I like layers, and I wear a medium length wool coat. I am the proud owner of a raincoat and outdoor shoes. I bought my gloves in Chicago, which were -25 at the time. I grease my body with sesame oil.
This has a warming and caring effect. Not only do I provide warmth around me, but I also keep warm inside. I eat porridge, soups, stews and stews made with seasonal vegetables. I use warm spices like ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. I drink hot chocolate, coffee and herbal tea. I’ve learned that only when I give myself warmth can I handle the cold.
3. Living with the Season
Winter is a symbol of rest, reflection and contemplation. This is what nature shows us. Trees stripped and the land barren. Growth appears to have stopped for a while.
But the seeds are hidden in the soil, waiting patiently for them to germinate and grow into plants in the spring. All we really need is to follow nature’s example.
Set your pace a little bit. take it easy. Take some time for yourself and to think.
Let new plans hatch under the skin, but above all be patient. Bring some light in the dark and decorate your home with candles. Invite a friend over and have a home-cooked meal by the fireplace, then lie on the sofa with a blanket. Wear flip-flops and large, warm sweaters. Read inspirational books that increase appreciation for winter.
Cook seasonally with what grows and harvests now. Previously I often lived in the future or the past, but since I started living with the seasons, this happens less and less.
By eating what’s available now, I’m reaching out to now. And if it’s interesting and attractive now, then that’s all you need now. Then you forget everything else. When winter comes, I live with winter. And then everything becomes unimportant.
Kira’s Favorite Items to Embrace Winter:
1. Mölle wool and linen blankets are both practical and beautiful. Linen is a wonderful natural product that cools in the summer and warms in the winter. It is one of my favorite fabrics, for both clothing and household items.
2. Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits is an inspiring book on the Danish art of living. Hygge roughly translates as “sociability.” The book provides inspiration for how to allow the warmth, connection, and presence that hygge brings to play an important role in your life.
3. AJ Atelier Handcrafted Fleece Headband keeps me warm all winter days.
4. SJNOR is a stunningly beautiful picture book by Christophe Jacquart. It displays pictures of snowy landscapes and thus shows the magic of winter.
5. Watching this beautiful time-lapse video is completely free with images of the Finnish winter
(This article discusses a mild form of depression that can accompany winter. If you suffer from (severe) depression, these tips are not enough and it is important to get help from a professional.)
Want to read more about how to handle a winter dive?
These yoga poses will help you get out of the winter doldrums.