There is something so comforting, so soothing about a mug of hot chocolate. No matter how old I am, I think chocolat chaud will always have the ability to take me back to special times, when all of the world’s problems seemed to melt away by consuming one simple beverage. ― Lisa Schroeder, My Secret Guide to Paris
First of all, Winter Blues is a real thing
Winter in Ottawa is no walk in the park. When dealing with extreme cold, massive snowfalls, and a serious lack of sunshine – it can all be a bit much. It’s not unusual to feel exhausted, unmotivated, and a strong desire to stay warm under the covers of your bed.
But as hard as it can be for many of us, life goes on. We have jobs, kids, and lives that need our attention, right?
Everyone has their own way of coping with the winter blues and at the end of the day, it really depends on how you respond to different things. For example, I love swimming in the winter but for another person, the idea of taking off layers of clothing and jumping in the pool to do laps might seem like an awful way to feel better about the cold!
How ever you find your moments of joy this winter, it’s important that you do just that – find them! Because this is the time of year when one can easily fall into a funk, especially after the initial sparkle of the New Year has worn off and the reality of every day has settled in.
Ask yourself what small things will bring you joy this winter
So how can you add more happy into your daily winter routine? That’s the question you need to answer! In fact, you need to answer a few questions to get some idea of ways to brighten your days for the remainder of the coldest time of the year.
- What brings you comfort when you’re cold or tired? (ie: blankets, housecoat, wool socks, reading socks, slippers, heating pad, hot water bottle, scarves…)
- What makes your environment feel cozier and happier? (ie: candles, blankets, throw pillows, ottoman, soft rug, twinkle lights, flowers, warm lighting…)
- What foods make you feel satisfied on cold days? (ie: oatmeal, soups, apple crisp, pancakes, roasted vegetables, dark chocolate…)
- What activity makes you unwind, feel less tense, and nurtures body, mind, or soul? (ie: reading, taking a candlelit bath, yoga/stretches, cuddling on the couch, watching a romantic comedy…)
Writing out a list of small joys that you can add to your daily winter routine will point you in the right direction of feeling more satisfied and comforted during these colder months. It’s not just one of these things that will make you instantly more happy, but all together they are adding more moments of happiness throughout your day that make you feel overall more taken care of.
Whether it’s fuzzier slippers to keep your feet warm, or your favourite hot chocolate on-hand for a special treat, introducing things that contribute to your well being is a form of daily self care you can mindfully add to your life.
So what are the 5 things I’ve added to my daily winter routine?
Well before I share them, I’ll let you in one what my regular winter routine included: going to bed earlier, taking my vitamins (especially Vitamin D3), drinking enough water, and daily stretches.
Now here’s what I’ve added to my everyday winter routine to boost my happiness:
- Tea Time: most winters, I’ll have a cup of tea a few times a week. But this year, I’m having tea everyday and I’m making it a special thing. I make a pot, I pull out my favourite mug, I light a candle, I set it all on a tray and I pause to enjoy it. On the weekends, I’ve made myself a tea service and climbed back into bed with it. During the week, I’m happy to prepare it and take a break from my work to pause for 15-20 minutes and just enjoy 1-2 hot cups of tea.
- Bedtime Reading: this nightly ritual of reading for 30 minutes before bed is one of my favourites. I used to just ‘grab’ my book when I saw an opportunity here and there, but ever since the holidays, I’ve intentionally climbed into bed earlier and read for at least 30 minutes (sometimes much longer). Not only have I been able to devour some wonderful new reads, I find myself completely transported into what I’m reading, switching off from the day and transitioning better into a restful state for a goodnight’s sleep.
- Super Cozy Throw Blankets: for my birthday in November, I got a really soft throw blanket that I fell in love with. It was warm, cozy, and I loved wrapping it around me while I read or just cuddled with my husband and kids. Then for Christmas, I got the same super soft blanket in a different colour. So I had one in my bedroom, one in the living room. These are now my two favourite throws ever. I didn’t really use throws that much before, except more decoratively, but this winter I’m obsessed! If I’m having a cup of coffee in the morning, reading storybooks to my kiddos in the evening, or just chilling watching a movie, I’ve got my blanket keeping me comfortable, warm and happy!
- Candles: I feel like this is an obvious thing you’d want to have as part of your daily winter life, but I just wasn’t taking full advantage of all the candles I have on hand. As a family, we’ve definitely gone more hygge just by our increase of candle usage! Some nights, we’ll even just have dinner by candle light and boy does it set a relaxing, calming tone. As soon as the evening hits, candles come on. I’ll even do chores like folding or dishes by candlelight and it definitely helps me zone out and feel more chill.
- Hand Salve: yep, hand salve is bringing me happiness this winter. It’s always something I had on hand in our medicine cupboard but this winter, I’ve decided to add it to my daily winter beauty routine. Even though I don’t have super dry skin, I’m using it to protect my hands, elbows, and feet from getting drier or cracked, especially since we’re experience such extremely cold weather here in Ottawa. My husband picked me up one from a local Christmas market that I just love, but I am also using Burt’s Bees Hand Salve and The Body Shop’s Shea Butter Hand Cream.
While I’ve added these 5 things to my daily winter routine, there are lots of other simple pleasures I have made a point of indulging in this winter season to cultivate happiness.
Like decadent cups of hot chocolate, warm reading socks from Indigo, Hallmark winter romance movies, banana chocolate chip muffins (one my childhood faves!), and heating face masks – just to name a few.
With two more months of winter to go, why not make your own list of some of the ways you can add some extra joy into your days. Think warm, comforting, restful, and delicious! The small things add up and make the colder days of winter a little more bearable.
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