Living in a temperate climate where you can experience all four seasons has its perks, but depending on where you call “home,” they may not all be the same length. For example, here in Montreal, Canada, we are known for harsh winters that often endure well past their welcome (snowstorms in April? Really?!).
There is no denying there comes a point in February when it’s easy to forget that spring is just a few (er, many) weeks away, so learning to survive and even enjoy the rest of the winter season is crucial to one’s well-being.
Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day and announced there would only be six more weeks of winter, my boyfriend kindly reminded me that the prediction “doesn’t apply to us.” Which is what inspired me to write this article: Now that the novelty has worn off and the holiday season is behind us, how do we make the best of and enjoy the remainder of winter, snow and cold be damned? Here is my best advice, which I also try to remind myself of daily.
There comes a point when it’s easy to forget that spring is just a few (er, many) weeks away, so learning to enjoy the rest of winter is crucial to one’s well-being.
Bundle Up. No, Really
This may seem like an obvious tip, but learning to wear the appropriate clothing combination for every type of weather requires finesse. It’s all about layers—and variety. Sure, you need a scarf, and something to cover your head (a beanie, headband, ear muffs, hat with cat ears, or whatever else fits your style and fancy), and some mittens or gloves. But if you live somewhere ~cold~, you might need more than one winter jacket.
I have a main puffer jacket I sport most days, and I know exactly what to wear under it—a long-sleeved top only, a short-sleeved T-shirt with a sweater, etc.—depending on how cold it is outside. I also have a long, thick, much warmer coat for when the mercury dips drastically, and a lighter, sportier jacket that ensures I don’t get too hot when I’m out being active. Knowing how to dress for the weather will keep you comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws your way, allowing you to stop dreading leaving the house (or make it a little less painful, anyway).
Enjoy the Simple Things
One thing the pandemic has taught me is how to slow down and really savor life’s smallest pleasures. Like, really savor them. A lot of us have more time on our hands than we did in the past, so let’s make use of that!
The idea isn’t to put pressure on yourself to learn a new skill, publish a book, or get a master’s degree during lockdown, but rather to take the time to live in the moment. Notice little things that usually fly under the radar because you’re too busy, or just rushing to the next social event or meeting. Say “hello” to the dogs you meet on the street, or the cats sitting on window sills while you take your 100th walk of the week. Get excited about a book you’re reading, or watch your favorite TV series one more time. Call your mom, or get on a video call with a friend: It’s not the same as meeting up in person, but it’s so much better than a text message. Spring and summer will be here in no time, and someday, the pandemic will be over and we’ll all be scrambling for time again.
Chase the Light
And enjoy every extra minute of daylight before the sun sets! While we’re on the topic, sunsets during the colder months tend to be the most beautiful—so keep an eye out for those.
You might be accustomed to working all day and having free time in the evening, but unfortunately, the sun is long gone by then. Why not make an effort to take advantage of the daylight a little more? You might have to shift a few things around, but working from home makes it a little easier for many people. Go for a walk in the morning or around lunchtime to avoid having to get your exercise in after the sun has already gone down. Even if you only go out for a few minutes, know that it can make a world of difference in your mood and energy levels for the rest of the day.
Figure Out What You’ll Miss About Winter …
And partake as much as possible. This tip works even if you’re not into skiing, skating, snowshoeing, or other winter sports. You might like photographing snow people or a certain type of bird, or maybe you just find joy in walking around right after a snowstorm when the snow is pristine and it makes everything look magical.
For me, it’s skating outdoors: There is something exhilarating about it, whether it’s in a small park in the middle of the city, on a frozen trail in the forest, or on a lake somewhere in the country. The fresh air, the sun, the beautiful scenery—it’s truly one of my favorite things to do in winter. And as the days and weeks pass, I try to remind myself to grasp every opportunity to get some skating in before winter ends and I have to wait months before I can enjoy it again.
Indulge in an Elaborate Bath-Time Ritual
One of the best things about spending time outdoors during the cold season is the anticipation of coming back inside. Amirite? For me, that includes warming up in a hot bath. Bath time just doesn’t have the same appeal in summer as it does in winter, so get in some relaxing soaks while you can.
Why not go the extra mile and indulge in some bath salts, a luxe bubble bath, or a bath bomb, light a scented candle, put on some soft music or your favorite podcast, and even throw on a sheet mask while you’re at it? Don’t forget to take your time and treat your skin to some nice, hydrating skincare and body products when you emerge from the suds. This can also be a nice way to wind down before bed.
Find Something to Look Forward to
In other words, start thinking ahead to spring and summer. During the first weeks of the pandemic in 2020, I realized we’d likely be spending a lot of time at home that summer, so I made a project out of introducing plants into our home and planning changes to our small balcony (string lights! Flowers! A palm tree! That hanging planter I was coveting!) so that we could enjoy our condo’s small outdoor space. Finding ideas and sourcing what we needed kept me motivated through the end of winter—and it all paid off come summer (spring is approximately three days long where I live).
There are so many ways you can start getting ready for spring both mentally and in your home. And with all the time we spend there, even small things can result in a lot of joy!
What are your favorite things about winter? How are you going to enjoy the rest of winter and keep your spirits high until spring?