For many of us who live in the northern climates, winter is a season to be endured rather than enjoyed.
Mid-winter is especially challenging because the festive glow of the holidays has faded into the frigid darkness, seemingly leaving us nothing to look forward to until spring. But it doesn’t just have to be only doom and gloom. The wisdom of winter is all around us if we warm up to giving it our full attention. The season can help us to slow down, look inward, and germinate new projects that can blossom in the warmer months ahead.
The gift of silence:
One of the loveliest things about winter is how quiet everything becomes. Snow only increases the tranquility by literally muffling noise. Because snow stacks up with plenty of space between flakes, sound waves have less surface area to bounce off than, say, raindrops. The result is precious peace and quiet. Here are a few ways we can take advantage of this gift of silence:
Go for a meditational walk in the winter.
This not only exposes us to much needed sunlight, but also provides us with a still and quiet environment for mindful contemplation.
Get more sleep.
The longer, quiet nights of winter are perfect for sleeping. Replenish and renew by turning off and turning in earlier.
The calm quiet of winter is also perfect for reading. Getting cozy with a good book and a warm drink is a self-nurturing way to fire up our imaginations and recharge our batteries.
Writing in a journal or sending funny or pretty postcards and letters to far-flung friends and family is also a creative way to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones. Using fun supplies like washi tape, stickers, stamps, and pens help us express our individuality in a fun and playful way and is also a great screen-free activity to share with the younger members of our households.
Spending more time indoors can be challenging, especially for very active people, but connecting with our home lives can also be a great gift. Whether we live alone or with others, we can all do a few simple things to make our homes cozier and more comfortable. That way we can actually look forward to spending time inside.
Add some color.
If the weather outside is dull and dreary, having our favorite colors around the home can help lift our spirits. A splash of color can be as simple as a postcard hanging up by the bathroom mirror, or a pillow or throw in our favorite hue for a cozier sofa. Linens like sheets and towels in comforting colors are also invigorating. Some of us might have quite a few of these items packed away in a closet or the basement. Going on a scavenger hunt in our own homes can be a fun and rewarding way to spend an afternoon inside.
Get Some Greenery.
Bring the outdoors in with some plants and flowers. Winter is a perfect time to cultivate a green thumb. Plants not only clean the air of toxins and provide fresh oxygen, but they’re also an encouraging symbol of how we can all flourish with the right amount of time and attention. Taking care of plants slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure too.
Long nights can be dark and depressing, so adding more area lights is another way to lighten up our mood. LED string lights and candles can add a decorative (and fire-safe) touch to even the tiniest spaces.
Daydreams of adventure:
With most social engagements at a standstill, winter can also provide us with the opportunity to plan exciting future projects. The long nights of winter are perfect for researching and strategizing.
Plan a dream vacation.
We can start a savings account and begin learning all about our dream destinations now. Going to the library, researching online, and even learning a new language with fun apps like Duo-lingo or Babble will help us make the most of our adventures.
Reconnect with a long-lost loved one.
Maybe there are friends or relatives in our lives who we haven’t seen in person for far too long. Reconnecting with them and planning a visit will not only brighten up our winters, but will also give them something to look forward to. Reuniting with a special person from our past can also help us heal and rediscover aspects of ourselves we may have neglected or forgotten.
Research a retreat.
Perhaps there’s a yoga or meditation retreat we’ve always wanted to go to. Planning for this will not only reinvigorate us during the long winter nights, but it will also keep us focused on our spiritual path.
Connect with your craft.
There are all kinds of workshops, camps, and residencies for every specialty. Whether we’re herbalists, painters, writers, photographers, or aspiring chefs, there are a plethora of places for us to hone our crafts in a community of our peers. There are also grants and fellowships to help us fund these pursuits, and winter is a great time for researching and writing applications.
Whether we go on a wintry meditation walk or end up writing the next great novel, winter can help us reconnect with ourselves and recharge our spirits. In its stillness and silence, we can rest and renew.