With cardigans and woolly knits appearing in abundance, hot water bottles being dug out of cupboards and foggy windows misting during drives home, it’s obvious that we’re now well and truly into the winter season.
For some it’s a glorious time of year. Winter brings visions of cosy scenes, crackling fireplaces, hot drinks and other types of hygge. If you don’t feel the cold (men I’m looking at you), and live in a fairly northern state, you may even be pleased with the less-oppressive temperatures winter brings.
For others however, winter is an ordeal. A period of time to be endured until the first hints of spring are felt and we can be encouraged that summer is not far off.
After seven years living in tropical south-east Asia, I fall strongly into the latter group. Coming home for Christmas each year meant that I managed to avoid a true winter for coming up on a decade. I occasionally had a twinge of desire for the cold. As hot season sunk in in all its humid glory, I’d drink an ice cold glass of water and wish my whole body was a similar temperature.
Yet now, back living in Australia and experiencing my first winter home, I find myself struggling. While the first truly cold week was novel in its array of goose bumps, cold floors, old winter garb and seasonal foods, the novelty has well and truly worn off.
So what can you do, if like me you aren’t a winter gal or guy? Instead of wasting the day away under a doona, how can we make the most of a potentially miserable season?
Take up gardening.
This is my first suggestion as it actually gets you not just out of bed, but out of the house. Imagine! While you may feel chilly at first, moving around in the sun, doing a spot of digging and pulling up weeds will soon have you toastier than you could think possible. Gardening combines the best of physical activity, connecting with nature and a good old dose of vitamin D to have you in positive spirits in no time. Not only that but depending on what you grow, you could turn your winter pickings into delectable farm to table dinners! Pumpkin soup for everyone!
Perfect a winter breakfast you love.
We all have to get out from the covers eventually as our empty stomach starts making itself felt. Why not make the reward even better with a cosy breakfast dish? Since winter started I’ve been experimenting with porridge. Microwave vs stovetop, honey vs brown sugar, milk vs hot water.
My perfect porridge now includes green apple, cinnamon, sultanas and plenty of milk slow cooked to the perfect thickness. My morning porridge routine is a great get-out-from-under-the-covers incentive, powers me up for the day ahead and warms me from the inside out.
Find a night-time hobby.
As the sun sets earlier and night gets chillier, we tend to venture out of the house at night less than in the warmer months. Instead of going out we order in and that post-work walk . . . well that’s cancelled. Instead of curling up on the couch and binging Netflix seven nights a week, why not find a new hobby? I am personally a big fan of picking something obscure.
Not only is it a great conversation starter (“I make wall hangings from dryer lint!” is always going to get things going) but you’ll challenge yourself in a whole new way. Who knows, you might even be able to turn your evenings making anatomically incorrect felt animals into a bustling side hustle.
Talk to someone if you aren’t doing so well.
While much of this article has been in jest (the colder months aren’t really that awful), the winter blues are still very real. If you struggle with depression or just feeling down during winter, make sure you get help. Talk to your doctor or a medical professional about how you’re feeling and ask them to help you make a treatment plan.
Make sure you’re staying connected with friends and family, especially if you live on your own. If you’re feeling good, why not check in on someone who might need a friendly phone call to lift their spirits. Simply feeling like someone cares can make a world of difference to those feeling isolated.
Winter might not be the most pleasant season, but there’s no reason for it to be a total write off. Let’s make the best of the chilly season, whatever that looks like for you. Excuse me now, as I go and find another jumper to put on.
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in South East Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.