10 tips to survive winter

Feet up, cosy socks
Cosy socks feet up

I know we’re all somewhat in denial but undoubtedly winter is coming as storms send more and more leaves tumbling from trees. Aside from the excitement about Halloween and Christmas (which admittedly helps to see us through), it’s quite a long stretch until spring. Here ten tips to make sure we all come out the other end:

1. Create excitement about winter

It sounds slightly paradoxical but there are things to look forward to in winter! What about cosy nights in snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate, a good movie and the warm glow of a real flame, either from a candle or if you are lucky from a real fireplace? Or guilt free lie-ins/ nights in when it is cold and miserable outside and oh so cosy inside and everybody has just that little bit more time?

I know it is not big headline grabbing stuff but doesn’t all of this have its very own appeal after the hectic summer months? I quite enjoy walking or cycling home on winter evenings for the comforting and enveloping feeling that darkness gives you. And I look forward to everything cinnamon, feet up in  my cosy Avoca socks, and time to read a good book.

So why not look forward to winter – if we drum up some excitement about what is special about the season and if we approach it less with fear but with anticipation it will be a lot more enjoyable, try it!

 

2.Build little islands to look forward to

If the going gets tough I think it helps to have little islands of positivity to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be the big exotic holiday or that skiing trip, smaller ‘islands’ along the way can be great stepping stones: A weekend away, a night out with friends, a concert…

Snow in Dublin on a winter walk

3.Stay active

It’s hard to resist temptation to curl up on the couch for an entire weekend but being active will help if the seasonal blues hits. Admittedly it needs some discipline to head out into the dark/ cold for a walk or jog but afterwards I certainly always feel a lot better and more energized. Swimming pools/ gyms on wet days, maybe there is even an ice rink near you to look forward to!

 

4.Be food conscious

I like my chocolate, by far too much. And it’s so easy to seek consolation in food, not just sweet foods, anything comfort food will usually do for me (oozy melted cheese for example). But ultimately all it does is make us feel more tired. Yes, I do comfort eat in winter – one of the nice things about the darker months after all – but I make sure that overall I eat healthily; both against any colds and flu’s lingering in the office that seem to sweep across entire floors, and for overall energy levels.

 

5.Give yourself a little leeway

Give yourself a break and don’t be too hard on yourself. It won’t be the end of the world to miss the early morning gym class and instead have a lie in if it’s dark and cold outside and you can already hear the rain platter against your window. Hedgehogs and all sort of other mammals hibernate so it’s normal to be less active and sleep more during winter months.

 

6.Make mornings easier

Getting up when it’s cold and dark is the hardest part. Make it a little easier, invest in good quality coffee (or even that fancy gizmo), take a few minutes to prepare a nice breakfast the night before like a nice porridge (not the 5 minute stuff). It will set you up for the day and you would want to start the day on the right food so you can brace the elements when stepping outside.

 

7.Take up a hobby/ start a course

Make use of that little bit of extra time that everybody has in winter to take up a new hobby or to do a course. Finally try out what you have been thinking about before but put on the long finger as there was by far too much else on.

 

8.Change your habits to embrace the new season

Mark the change of seasons by changing your habits to make winter more distinct. Be it lighting the fireplace or scented candles, hosting dinners for friends, starting each day with hot lemon water – it doesn’t have to be big or expensive. How about homebaked bread for the weekend over the winter? The smell in the apartment or house alone will be impossible to resist, not just for yourself.

 

9.Treat yourself

Let’s not be too hard on ourselves, let’s reward ourselves after the end of a long week or a particularly hard day. A glass of wine (not a bottle!), a little shopping spree, a good movie or a silly TV/ Netflix series – whatever feels like a treat (maybe let’s avoid the chocolate or at least most of the time).

Into the light

10.Get some light

And finally: The most difficult during winter for me is the lack of light. Sunshine on my skin makes me immediately and ridiculously happy. So let’s get out there, not just on weekends but during the day also to catch that little bit of daylight there is. Maybe go for a quick walk at lunchtime or if this is not possible maybe even get a light therapy lamp to use at home?