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Does Winter bum you out? Do you dread the cold and snow? May I suggest a lesson on how to “Embrace Winter with Hygge Ideas”? But first, let’s talk about winter, it’s purpose and why it’s something to embrace!
Call me crazy, but I love and appreciate the four seasons.
Seasons represent so much more than weather. I realize this more every year that I live in the country and deal with plants and animals everyday.
Everything about our biology revolves around our environment, and our environment is greatly effected by astronomy. The earth’s proximity and changing axis to the sun is the reason we have seasons. Winter doesn’t happen by accident, but rather by design.
Living things need rest. Plants, animals and humans.
Consider this analogy of the tomato plant.
Tomatoes need specific conditions to grow. They need full sun and hot temperatures. When summer comes, we can expect the tomato plant to prosper and bear fruit.
But as summer solstice passes, and the hours of sunlight begin to diminish, the tomato plant fades away. The plant will go dormant and stop producing for a time, when the weather is cold and the days are shorter. But it will come back and produce again, when the conditions are right.
I’ve yet to see anyone go out into their garden and look for a tomato in January. That would be silly, we know that tomatoes don’t grow in January.
But why is it, then, that we are harsh with ourselves during the winter months, expecting more than our bodies are willing to give at times?
When I hear people complain about winter, I’m really kind of sad for them. Winter in Ohio takes up about 4 months of our year. Why waste 120 days out of 365 complaining about the weather?
I see winter as a time of rest and beauty. I believe God created us and things in nature to rest and to be dormant during this time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we hibernate in a cave somewhere, although that doesn’t sound like a bad idea sometimes.
But winter is a time for different kinds of activities, if we’ll just embrace them. Hygge is one of them!
The Practice of Hygge
The Danish practice of “hygge” is known as a state of contentedness. While there is no direct translation of “hygge” to English, it has been modified to include feelings of coziness, happiness, warmth and well-being .
Surrounding ourselves with the things that winter naturally brings and embracing them is what “hygge” means to me. Slowing down and connecting to what surrounds us and to the ones we love is what “hygge” is all about.
Simple home-cooked meals that warm our souls enjoyed in front of a roaring fireplace invites “hygge” into your life. Maybe even pick up that instrument you enjoy, dust it off and play a bit!
Hygge Allows Rest in our Winter
Rest and reflection are beautifully healing.
What better time than winter to reflect? The snow is flying and it’s freezing outside, so why not cuddle up in front of the fire and rest? Hygge at it’s best!
Once the holidays have past, it’s time to me to rest my mind and reflect on the year past. Not to judge myself, but to just let my mind wonder and reflect.
- What was good about it?
- What am I grateful for?
- What wasn’t so good?
- What could I have done better?
- Who do I need to make amends to?
- How can I improve my weaknesses in the coming year?
- What do I want to achieve this year? (Map out baby steps and obstacles to overcome)
- What did I accomplish financially last year? What are my financial goals for this year?
- What new skills can I learn this year? Are there classes I can go to while it’s winter?
So many things to think about and plan…..
The Joys of Being Stuck Inside
Why not make the best use of the time inside to do some handy work? Working on something with your hands is a great hygge idea!
During the spring and summer, when I’m ridiculously busy, I really miss being able to work on a project with my hands. I look forward to having time to knit and sew in the winter, and usually have a pattern or project that I’m anxious to make.
This winter I’m finishing up a sweater that I’m knitting and I hope to get another one made before Spring. I’m also sewing more cloth napkins and making some new female pads. There’s a long list of books that I hope to get through as well.
Why not take the opportunity to catch up on projects during winter? Here’s a few ideas:
- Re-organize your cookbook and get it in order.
- Make some meal plans for your family.
- Catch up on pictures and scrapbooking.
- Bake simple, homemade bread!
- Clean out your coat closet and keep only what you wear on a regular basis, give the rest to a homeless shelter. They need extra help when it’s cold!
- Same with your linens and sheets, give away what you don’t really use.
- Start some baby chicks for Spring!
- Join a sewing or knitting group that does charity projects.
- Organize and minimize your spice cabinet.
- Watch and attract winter birds! I love this! Take pictures! Extension offices might offer classes.
- Grab those seed catalogs and get down to planning your garden! I love Johnny’s Seeds and Territorial Seeds.
- Start a “Farm Journal”, make sketches of garden layouts, notes about plans and goals. Then follow-up later in the summer or fall and makes notes about what worked and what didn’t. I also keep special notes about excessive weather conditions or unusual things that happened.
- Take classes at your local extension office, ours is awesome.
- Read a few books about taking care of your family’s health naturally and put together a family healthy cabinet.
- Start seeds for your spring and summer garden, here’s how!
- Make some new pillows for your couch or bed!
- Get out that camera or go buy one and take winter pictures!
- Binge on YouTube videos to learn something new.
Clear Your Thinking
Not everyone will find themselves in a good place emotionally or mentally. Winter can make depression worse (at least it does for me).
While things are slower, make the time to go talk to someone if you need to. Some other options might be:
- Make time to find an Al-anon meeting, or some other support group in your area. Even if you aren’t close to someone who struggles with alcohol, Al-anon is a great place to just be heard and accepted.
- Light some candles, cuddle up on the couch and pray.
- Bundle up and head out for a walk or hike. Nature has a way of clearing our thoughts and giving perspective.
- Coffee with a friend can be a wonderful thing. If you don’t have a close friend currently, ask someone that you don’t know that well if they might have the time for a cup of coffee sometime.
- Take a yoga or exercise class.
Plan for a New Year
Finally, one of the best parts of winter is planning and dreaming.
I pour over chicken and seed catalogs, thinking and dreaming about what could be. I draw diagrams in my farm journal so that I don’t overspend on seeds and supplies. I make lists of what I need and lists of DIY projects.
Plan trips that you might want to take, plan that remodeling job you’ve been meaning to do, plan to be more sustainable in some way this year….whatever, just plan and look forward to the coming months!
A life well lived is a life well planned. Don’t get lost in endless complaining about the cold, embrace it with these hygge ideas! Your year will be better for it.