December is upon us. Though Christmas is nearing, which is often a time for family get togethers and fun times, it is also the month of darker days when many people get SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or the winter blues. Some people that don’t engage in winter sports or particularly love the cold weather can feel sluggish and socially isolated if they don’t get out as much.
Sometimes it seems like winter is dirty, old snow on the side of the road and freezing mornings spent scraping the ice off of the windshield. Not to mention you have to get up earlier to do that. It can be hard to get out of a warm bed when the morning is particularly cold. It’s not all magical and pristine.
I struggle with winter days. When the temperature drops I feel the cold down in my bones no matter how warmly I’m dressed. It hurts my lungs to breathe in the ice cold air if I don’t have a scarf. My finger tips get numb if I’m not wearing gloves. It feels like I’ve been plopped on another planet where I don’t belong. I also get SAD from the lack of sun due to spending much of my time hibernating indoors waiting for warmer weather.
Light therapy helps. (You can look up light therapy lamps for some options on Amazon). The kind of light I have warms up so feels really good to have on when I’m working or reading.
What really helps me get through winter months though is finding joy in the little things and appreciating what I do like about winter.
This post is dedicated to those things that help me get through it.
Fresh snow. When the snow is fresh it really does have a magical quality to it. It just seems like everything looks prettier when it’s dusted with pure, white, glistening snow. When no one has made a footprint on that beautiful white blanket I can really appreciate the landscape. The snow brings out the depth of everything and brings back to life, even if just for a while, the trees that were once just forgotten barren sticks.
Snow days. If you don’t live in a snowy climate you won’t know the pleasure of snow days. When there’s a big snow storm coming we make sure we have what we need from the store because there’s a possibility of being snowed in. That means no school for the kids and sometimes no work for the adults until the plows can make sense of the roads again. It doesn’t happen often but there’s just something about those days when the snow drifts get so high and most of the town has just stopped. Everyone is just nestled in their own homes. You’re stuck in the best possible way.
Cold mornings when you don’t have to get out of bed. Oh my goodness, those mornings are the best. When you wake up and realize it’s a day off and you can bask in the warmth of your blankets until you feel like getting up. Sometimes I spend a whole day bundled up basically just hibernating. It’s the best, even if I do have to dash out of bed to get a hot tea I can jump right back in.
Speaking of which, hot drinks like coffee, tea, hot chocolate or hot apple cider never taste so good as they do on really cold days. I love feeling the warmth of the cup on my hands then letting that hot drink warm my whole body up as I sip it. So good.
We’ve always tried to find a house with a fireplace when we could because there’s nothing better than a roaring fire on a blustery cold day or night. We have a gas one now but want to go back to a regular wood burning fireplace. The smell of the fire and sound of crackling wood can only be truly appreciated when the fire is doing its job of heating a room in the winter.
Baking cookies in the winter is the best. The house is all closed up so the heat from the oven warms the kitchen. Plus the smell of them baking is heavenly. I know you want homemade chocolate chips now! It would just be mean if I didn’t link a recipe. You can find a chocolate chip recipe with high ratings here or just use the one on the back of Tollhouse chocolate chips which is a great classic recipe.
And then there’s Christmas. People all over the world celebrate their own holidays in the own ways. For us, it’s Christmas and it’s about family, gratitude and kindness. It isn’t about the material gifts (or even the religious aspect, though I do believe in a higher power) but more about just being together to appreciate each other. As a person who loves all things sparkly there couldn’t be a better time than Christmas when you get to decorate with twinkling lights and sparkles galore. I absolutely love looking at a lit Christmas tree at night. It feels sad to take it down when it’s time because the twinkle and glow really make the house a home for me. Every year we also take a night drive or two to appreciate those who go all out with outdoor decorations. I love making or buying heartfelt gifts for the ones I love. I love wrapping them and giving them. I love all the good things about the holiday when people remember to be kind to one another and can slow down to appreciate the whole Christmas season. I love the holiday comfort foods and desserts and if there’s snow on the ground and it’s freezing cold with a blustery wind, well, that’s one day I don’t mind it.
What do you love about winter?
Are you an outdoor person in the colder months? Do you do snowball fights and build snowmen and snow forts with your kids?
Do you ski or snowboard (very popular here in Colorado)?
Or do you hibernate like me?
If you have SAD, does thinking about these things make it a little better?
I hope so. It made me feel good to write it.
Thanks so much for reading along. I hope you’re enjoying the weather wherever you are in the world!
May you be happy and well.