How to Enjoy the Winter Months
As a lifelong New Englander, I hear the same moaning in grocery store lines, at parties, and along the soccer sidelines come September and October...
"I don't know how I am going to get through another winter."
It never ceases to amaze me how many people hate winter. Of course, there is SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is the depression that hits when there isn't enough daylight and sunshine. I get that, but what it is about winter that makes it the most hated season around the globe?
I have no idea, because I love winter. I love all the seasons in fact, but I hold winter in special fondness. I was born in February, so that might have something to do with it. However, I'm convinced that if people could just see winter the way I do, they would love it too!
Prepare for the cold
If your body doesn't like the cold- prepare! Line up a professional snow plow, install a wood stove, get a cord of wood delivered, and invest in a couple of electric blankets. Here are some things you should have on hand that make the winter months easier on the body.
Several Pairs of Gloves
Neighbor to get your mail
Good Quality Wool Socks
A Take Out Delivery Menu
Air Blockers for below doors
Car Scraper with the Glove Attached
Long Underwear (thermal)
Hot Cocoa Mix (with marshmallows)
Heavy Duty Snow Shovel
Remote Car Starter
Scarf that is Circular
Get a flu shot
It is a no-brainer; winter will be a lot more enjoyable if you don't get sick. To avoid it, take the following advice:
1. Get a flu shot.
2. Take a multi-vitamin.
3. Start zinc the minute you feel a cold coming on.
4. Wash your hands regularly.
5. Get lots of sleep.
6. Carry Purell with you when you go out.
It doesn't guarantee that you won't get sick, but it will significantly lessen the chances of a virus nabbing you.
Continue to get outside
I know I know, there's ice and snow and mud and freezing temperatures. But if you have the right clothing, you can continue to enjoy the outdoors throughout the winter. Despite the old wives' tales that warn of sickness if you get chilled, the truth is that colds and flus survive better in the winter months because everyone is packed indoors!
Whenever you can, take a walk to enjoy the cold, crisp air. Here are some ways to make it more enjoyable.
1. Bring tissues. Your nose will run (which if you have a cold, isn't a bad thing!)
2. Always wear the right gear so you stay warm.
3. Avoid beaches and other windy areas. Opt instead for the woods or inland, where the wind is less severe.
4. Invest in some hand or foot warmers.
5. Bring a thermos full of cocoa.
6. Take a camera along to capture winter's beauty.
We also continue to use our outdoor fire pit in the winter. Huddled around with hot cocoa or tea, enjoying a roaring fire on a cold night can be quite romantic.
Get away to a snowy lodge
You may start to appreciate winter more if you celebrate it with a weekend away. Rather than escaping to a warm beach (where surely you will come home and be more depressed than ever), go away to a mountain lodge. Most places have oodles of outdoor snow activities, roaring fireplaces, and indoor pools and saunas after a long day of skating or skiing.
Top winter getaways
Snow-ins: they aren't always bad
Inevitably, at least once a year, cold weather residents get snowed in. Have a plan so you can enjoy this opportunity to stop and rest. Have a bunch of old movies on hand, board games, candles, and those hot water bottles you can fill up with boiling water and take to bed with you. Get a stack of books from the library, collect recipes you've always wanted to try, and don't forget to go sledding!
Besides, there are lots of fun things to do in the snow...
1. Build a snowman.
2. Build a snow fort.
3. Make maple syrup snowballs.
4. Fill up water balloons, add food coloring, let them freeze outside, and then pop the balloon. Colored ice balls! (Use for decoration or just for the sheer fun of it).
Winter recipes are usually cheaper
Winter is a great time to explore your culinary skills. Oftentimes, the fresh produce is expensive (like berries, tomatoes, etc.) but there are plenty of things that are less expensive too!
Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, grapefruits, cranberries, pumpkin, root vegetables, spinach, and others are cold-weather crops. You can experiment with soups and stuffings and pies and breads.
There is nothing better than a cold winter day with a warm pot of soup.
Try a winter sport
There are a host of athletic activities you can do in the winter...
- Ice skating
- Ice hockey
- Downhill skiing
- Cross-country skiing
Start your gardening in the basement
If you are craving dirt and green seedlings, set up a little garden area in your basement with one of those fluorescent lamps. You can start your seedlings in February, so when it is time to garden, you will have the joy of starting all your flowers and produce from seed.
Join a YMCA
If you just NEED that sense of warm summery-ness, join the YMCA...preferably one with an indoor pool and sauna. You can exercise all those stiff joints and feel the joy of sweating, and maybe it will alleviate your incessant whining about the long winter months.
Get into the holiday spirit
Winter is the home to some of the most enjoyable holidays; Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine's Day, and even St. Patrick's Day (which is right at the end of the season). Get into the spirit with the other lesser known holidays like President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and New Years. In fact, when you line up the four seasons, winter might be the winner for the most holidays!
Embrace the change
For those of us who live in a climate with seasons, the winter makes all the others so much more enjoyable! People who live in picture perfect weather year round become ungrateful. (I realize I may get flogged for that statement). But how sweet is the blossoming spring, the buds on the trees, and the little ducklings waddling behind their mama, as the last of the snow melts away?
Have you ever noticed how many children's books write about the seasons? No one writes about the constant 365 days of 72 degree weather. There is nothing magical about that. Watch a Maple tree go from blooming to bright orange to frozen under ice...and then come back again. It is incredible.
Embrace winter. It is 90 days. Three months of cold, peaceful, dormant silence in nature. We all could take a little advice from the season that tells us to stop and rest. And if people would just stop complaining about the cold, they'd see that it isn't really that long at all.