I’m a summer girl.
Open windows, sunshine, outdoor parties, summer dresses, bare feet. I love it all. So when the big, dark cloud of winter rolls in I find myself catching the “winter blues” like a sickness that won’t end. Not everyone feels the way I do, this I’m aware of. But for those of us that curl up into the fetal position where the sun hits the carpet until April, this is for you.
I have compiled a list of tips to enjoy this season even if you’re longing for warmer days ahead. It’s easy to get into a rut during the months of January and February and I’m hoping that you will take away a few fun ideas to lift your spirits.
1. Music // Music is an essential in our home. The perfect song or playlist can turn your whole day around and on days when I’m stuck inside or feel unmotivated, I crank up the tunes and let the healing begin. Often in the middle of winter, I’ll listen to songs that remind me of spring to lighten the mood and give me hope. I created the perfect playlist on Spotify called Winter Survival. Open the curtains, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let the music fill your home (or office or whatever).
2. Make your bed, always. // If you can clean only one thing in your home, let it be your bed. To me, making your bed symbolizes the start of a new day. It’s the easiest and quickest thing to take care of and it feels nice to slip into a tidy bed at the end of the day.
3. Create a cozy environment // It’s important to create a comfortable environment at home since you’re spending a lot more time indoors. Keep in mind that a cozy home doesn’t mean a newly furnished home. There’s no need to rack up credit card debt and give your entire home a facelift in order to create a cozy home. Sure, a new plant or wall decoration is a fun way to add character to your space, but there are ways to avoid spending money if you’re on a tight budget. Spend one week on each room in your home–deep cleaning, organizing, de-cluttering, and even re-arranging furniture. Homemaking can go from a high calling to a daunting task very quickly and I think winter is the perfect opportunity to indulge your inner homemaker. You don’t need to become the next Martha Stewart. Give yourself grace, but have fun with it! Check out a book or two at the library and re-kindle the flame.
4. Buy a candle // It may sound silly, but lighting a candle in the home is a game changer. Whether your home is tidy or not, a candle adds the perfect ambiance. Some of my favorite candles come from a local business called Wax Buffalo, check them out on Instagram!
5. Create a cleaning list // It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the endless list of chores. Create a weekly chart by delegating a chore for each day. Tackle the laundry on Monday, clean the bathrooms on Tuesday, etc. This keeps you from feeling like you need to do everything all the time.
6. Tackle a Pinterest craft // We all have one; a Pinterest board with loads of craft ideas that go untouched. Try one out! Better yet, get your girlfriends together and have a craft party.
7. Become friends with your kitchen // During the warmer days, I spend a lot less time in the kitchen because we are outside. Winter is the perfect time to become re-acquainted with your kitchen. Organize your cupboards–throw away those expired boxes that take up space, replace the broken utensils you keep cursing at, try a few new recipes, get out the fancy dishes more often. Fall in love with the process of cooking (or baking) just as much as the outcome. (This is a resolution of mine.)
8. Use your dinner table // The dinner table is the most essential part of a home. Use it! Invite people over more often to share good food and conversation.
9. Lay in the sun // Find that spot in your home where the sun shines bright and feel the warmth. Better yet, put on a little Bob Marley and pour yourself a glass of ice cold tea and you’re practically on the beach.
10. Consistent play dates // For you moms out there. You know how crucial it is for you and your kiddos to get regular social interaction. Gather a group of friends and meet weekly for your sanity.
11. Plan a trip (big or small) // Give yourself something to look forward to. If you can’t swing a full-blown trip to the beach, take a weekend away to the closest city. Or find a sitter for the kids and grab a hotel in your town with a Groupon. And if you don’t want to spend any money, send the kiddos to Grandma and Grandpas for the weekend and have a stay-cation–snuggle by the fire, read that book you’re always too tired to read, cook dinner together and rent a movie.
12. Research local activities // Find a few local activities to look forward to on the weekend. Go see a live show, take your kids to Paint Yourself Silly, go wine tasting.
13. Go outside // Even if for a short period of time.
14. Find the perfect lipstick or nail polish // Never underestimate the power of a pretty lip. Sometimes all you need is a little pick-me-up to boost your mood and make you feel less frumpy. Grab a girlfriend and head to your local beauty store to find the perfect shade of lipstick or get adventurous and try out a new nail polish color. Pamper yourself a little.
15. Indulge the happy endings // Sometimes all you need is a good chick flick to lighten the mood. Pull out all of your favorites and watch one a week. Maybe while you’re folding the Mount Everest-sized laundry pile? Not even that can put a damper on the ever-famous Mr. Darcy speech.
16. Be with people // Community is the best way to beat the winter blues. Friends help you keep perspective. Ask a friend to meet for coffee when the kids are in bed or meet your girlfriends at your local winery for a ladies night.
17. Work out // This one’s an obvious one, but essential nonetheless.
18. Treat yo’self // There is no shame in loading the kiddos into the car and heading to the nearest coffee shop for a mid-week latte. A change in scenery is good for the soul (especially at 4pm when you feel the day will never end).
19. Quiet time // Develop a consistent quiet time whether that’s in the morning or at the end of your day. Find a space in your home that can be your spot to pray, journal, read, meditate on scripture, etc. Make it extra cozy with a blanket, your favorite candle, and a yummy drink. It can be especially hard to roll out of bed in the Winter, but knowing you have a warm cup of tea or coffee waiting for you can make it a little easier.
I hope at least a few of these ideas gave you inspiration to take charge of Winter and find the joy that it holds. As I was flipping through my Vogue magazine the other day, I came across a quote by Sienna Miller that was the most beautiful description of living somewhere where Winter exists. She says this:
“I like earning my spring. I like suffering through a miserable, gray, soulless winter and then seeing the first crocus, and the feeling you get when it’s over…there’s something I find incredibly rewarding about it.”
The ground must freeze for there to be new life again. Warm weather wouldn’t be as delightful if we didn’t have to breathe in cold air for a while. It is my hope that amidst this frozen season, you will experience a newfound joy and contentment as you wait for the new life ahead.