“Always have an attitude of gratitude.” – Sterling K. Brown
Gratitude can be practised at any time of year. However, when the nights close in, the weather turns, the house gets colder and the days get shorter, many of us find gratitude harder to come by. Many of us struggle to appreciate the joys of winter in comparison to spring and summer, when the wonders of the world seem easier to come by.
But there are plenty of magnificent wintery things to find gratitude for. There are many brilliant bits of the chilly season that can only be found at this time of year. So, here are a few things to focus on if the blues of the bleak midwinter are closing in on you.
1. Snuggle Up and Hunker Down
A day spent under a blanket on the sofa can feel a little indulgent… but the feeling you get from it on a cold wet day is a feeling you just can’t get any other time of the year. For me it stems back to when I was little; on a sunny Summer day, my Mum couldn’t fathom why on Earth I’d want to be hunkering down in a den made of blankets behind the sofa when I could have been playing outside. Anyway, if there is a time to release that guilty feeling and simply enjoy a day looking out at the chilly landscape from under the covers, then Winter is that time. Embrace the Nordic tradition of Hygge; nourish your soul with the sensation of safety and cosiness.
2. Cool of on the Social Stuff
The warmer months tend to have us out and about a lot. Summer parties, barbecues, holidays, beer gardens, picnics, and many more gatherings; we are out being social all the time. Of course, the Winter is not devoid of social events, Christmas is around the corner after all. But the average week in mid-January does not tend to be as socially buoyant as a week in May might be. This is something to embrace. Often, when we are riding a wave of social engagements, we forget to take time to be with ourselves; to check out where we are and to do literally nothing at all. Your body and brain need down time; rest and recovery. So, take the opportunity to be with yourself a little more before Spring comes.
3. Project Time
The fact that we are indoors more often during the Winter means that we have more solo downtime on our hands. Hobbies and projects often get shelved during busier, more outdoor-friendly, periods. So, perhaps it’s time to learn that thing you’ve been meaning to learn, or to pick up that instrument, or paint that room or build that chair. If there are kids in the house, this is also an awesome time to get hands-on with them and teach them something new. Great activities for the kids (and fun for adults as well) include baking, sculpting with clay, painting, or cracking out some Lego.
4. Winter Wardrobe
This is an oddly common thing I hear when I talk to others about winter. ‘Ooh, can’t wait to get my big coat out, I miss it.’ The change over to cold-appropriate clothing is often strangely exciting. The jumpers, scarves, jackets and gloves that you forgot you had and loved can come off the bench and back into your garment circulation. It’s like having a whole new wardrobe without having spent a penny.
At some point, you will probably have to go outside. When you do you might notice that there are less people about. This, joined with the fact that bare trees and hibernating wildlife adorn nature with a stillness, gives the world a blanket of apparent silence. If you find yourself in a peaceful clearing or on an uncluttered street, just stop for a moment and appreciate the serenity and stillness of Winter.
6. Comfort Cooking
If there was ever a time for comfort food, now is most certainly it. Stews, casseroles, pies and hotpots; this is their territory. Sure, the salads and light dinners of the Summer were nice, but now is the season of hugging food. Put that stew together, and let it bubble away on the stove for an afternoon, filling your home with warmth, aroma, and comfort.
By Chris Thomson
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