My Winter White Hymnal
These past few weeks the northeastern coast of America where I live has suffered under severe cold weather conditions. Heavy snow fall, over 70mph winds, and bone rattling temperatures that stick with you even after several minutes of warming up indoors. It is also the end of the holiday season when for at least a month if not more the world seems like a gray bleak without any celebration. There seem to be a grey blanket that falls on the world at this time that provides no comfort. People spend as much time as possible inside, try to eat foods they don’t enjoy, and over exert themselves in exercise to deflate the round jovial bodies they gained over the past few months. Despite all of this I have always found winter to be one of my favorite seasons. I may be one of the only people who think so but the winter season, I believe provides the best time for self-care.
January presents itself as a brief time of quiet which seemed impossible during the past few months. As the winds howl it presents the perfect time to snuggle oneself in a soft blanket and wear soft clothing such as sweaters and fuzzy socks. The cold nights and little excuses for plans give the perfect opportunity to sit and think. To one ear the winds outside may be howling but listen again and doesn’t it almost sound like a whistle? It’s ok if it doesn’t but trying a new perspective never hurt. As you warm up in your home having a simmering soup or hot beverage of tea or cocoa provides a warm embrace from the inside out.
For some reason it is only during December when winter has hardly begun when people celebrate the beauty of winter. At sunrise and sunset the mixtures of pinks, oranges, blues, and greys paint the sky with wonder as everyone else bows their heads away from the cold. The sunset may be earlier in the day but that does not make it any less beautiful. When the sun does come out it is brighter and reflects brightly on the snow and ice. As much of a nuisance as getting around the snow may be it is beautiful to look at. If you can perhaps take a moment to admire the snow and ice before returning to the indoors for the promise of a hot shower or bath.
There is a Norwegian saying “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes” so take advantage and layer up. Pile on the long johns, thermals, your thickest sweatshirt, the homemade scarf you have tucked away in your closet, and of course a nice pair of fluffy snow boots if you have them. After all of this is done take a walk. If it is below 19 degrees Fahrenheit, then perhaps stay inside for your own safety but anything above should be fine. Though the air may feel harsh I always find a pleasant crispness to it as if imported from the mountain tops if that were possible. I have recently been doing this and I found myself bundled up well enough that it was ok. I also believe that playing in the snow can be done at any age. See if friends will come over to build snowmen, make snow angles, and perhaps even a snowball fight! Your cheeks and nose may have been bitten by Jack Frost but will give off a pleasant rosiness that is better than any powder or cream will ever give you.
I recently took my own advice and went for a walk on the beach near my apartment. Seeing a place that is usually associated with the summer in the winter was breathtaking. The snow made the familiar sights breath takingly anew. The snow and the sand swirled harmoniously into patterned hills before my feet. The jetties by the water usually only briefly capped white by the foam now wear a blanket of ice and snow striking against the black rock and greenish grey water. Above all the tide still came in making the same sounds it did in summer and the seagulls were still there squawking as they did in months past. From my walk on the beach many things had changed but many were the same. It’s a fact of life we sometimes forget but amazing when we witness it. Although I needed a nice hot cup of tea right after the walk it had shown me right quieting the anxieties I was feeling that day and lifting my spirits.
I do recognize that my love of winter is a privilege. I have the means for a warm home, warm food, and proper winter attire. Millions of people at this moment have to sleep near the snow banks and have no way of easing their rattling bones. Winter can be beautiful, but it is also incredibly harsh. It’s important to recognize both qualities. Giving whatever gently used clothing or even purchasing extra socks or long underwear for those in need is an act of care for your community as well as an act of self-care knowing you helped someone in need. Even still those who are anemic can find it hard to warm up after all of this and those with Seasonal Affective Disorder take a serious toll on their mental well-being. So no matter what take care of yourself during the winter.
Winter is harsh but I still see it as a beautiful time. Try to gain a new perspective and use winter a healing time. Many people, including myself, have started to embrace the nowegia idea of Hygge(pronounced hoo-ga) which I will post about in another blog post. The world is crazy. More people are taking action against everything. But as the cold settles in remember to pause and take care of yourself. I hope this has helped. Please tell me what you think of winter and the cold? What do you do to take care of yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments so please share!