As I write this the weather here in North Yorkshire has taken on a rather winter feel. There was some snow on higher ground in the county and I shivered watching the usual snowy pictures as they filtered in through social media this morning. I could imagine the children around the area squealing in the hope that they might be having a snowy half term next week. And then at the other end of the scale, I could almost hear the older generation like my mum, sighing at the prospect of another harsh winter.
The arrival of the first snow of the winter made me think about our attitude to winter here in the UK. I have written a previous post on how to survive winter and if you missed it, you can click here to read it. There are, of course, many other countries who have a similar weather system to us such as Scandinavian countries. Yet, they seem to be more accepting of the onslaught of the cold winter. So here are my latest thoughts on how to cope with the onset of winter (unless you just want to jump on a plane for warmer climes !)
Scandinavian countries have more extreme weather than the UK and yet they are masters at dealing with it. So what is the difference between us Brits and the Scandinavians? The main difference is that they embrace the winter. As Brits we like nothing better than moaning about the weather. It’s TOO hot, TOO cold, it’s the wrong type of rain (cue the latest train delays) or we don’t like the type of snow that has fallen. I am sure people from other countries laugh at our comical relationship with the weather and I have to admit I am one of those that witters about the weather.
Perhaps we need to change our attitude about the weather and embrace it, however it presents itself. I know this is really difficult to do. We are almost conditioned into behaving in a certain way when faced with extreme weather. However, even learned behaviours can be changed with some effort.
So here are a few pointers into how we can embrace the oncoming winter, wherever we live.
Cold weather is enough to make anyone grumpy, but this attitude only makes us feel worse about the cold. I do believe that if we live our life smiling and being happy (regardless of how we truly feel) then we start to actually believe we ARE happy. This then increases our positive mood. So, even if you are screaming inside and wanting to let the world know how bad you feel about the weather, why not PRETEND you love the weather? Embrace the weather and smile regardless of how you really feel.
The cold weather does not mean we have to stay indoors huddled round the fire. Although, that in itself is a nice thing to do! Why not embrace the winter by enjoying the very best that nature brings at this time of year? Wrap up warm (get those thermals out) and go for long walks in the countryside. On your walk be mindful of your surroundings and take note of the ever changing landscape. On my walk today I watched a busy squirrel burying his collection of nuts ready for his own winter. It was wonderful to watch and I felt uplifted watching the squirrel make his preparations. Following your walk, why not plan to end the day with a drink or lunch in a cosy pub or cafe. Imagine yourself sat round a roaring fire, listening to the wood crackle as you sup a delicious hot chocolate.
As winter arrives, our love of salads usually flies out of the window and with good reason. Our body craves warming food as it tries to deal with the cold temperatures. So why not start making your own nutritious soups full of healthy ingredients which will make you feel warm and cosy. I always make winter meals in my slow cooker. It is easy to do and stews are always so welcoming at this time of year. Grab a few healthy ingredients with a sauce and pop in the slow cooker in the morning. Just a few hours later you will have a nice warming meal ready to eat. I always get the hot chocolate out when winter approaches. There is something so comforting about hot chocolate, especially if it has marshmallows on top !
Yes, we still get sunshine even in the depth of winter. The sun makes us feel better and is a great source of serotonin which lifts your mood and helps prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.) Just spending time in the sunshine, regardless of the temperature, can be such a positive experience. So, once the sun appears get yourself outside and turn your face to that big yellow ball in the sky.
You will have heard of ‘hygge’ which is the Danish way of expressing cosiness and contentment especially in winter. The feeling of ‘hygge’ can easily be copied by giving your living environment a cosy theme. This can be achieved by placing lots of fluffy thick blankets over your bed and sofa, ready to throw over you as you read, perhaps. Lighting lots of candles or having dimmed lighting is also a great way to induce the feeling of ‘hygge’.
Why not wear comfortable clothes or even pyjamas teamed with fluffy socks as you try to embrace this cosy feeling. There are many inexpensive ways to make your living environment cosy and comfortable, so have a look round local shops or even drag out that wool blanket that you have had stored in the wardrobe all summer.
I hope I have given you a few ideas to help change your mindset over the oncoming winter. I know, personally, I need to be more positive about the winter months, as I spend far too long dreaming of hot summer days. This is such a waste of time as I can’t change anything so I might as well embrace the season. It does take a lot of effort (especially for us Brits) but it is worth the effort. And so, on that note I am going to make myself a hot chocolate, fill my hot water bottle and snuggle on the sofa wrapped in a large fluffy blanket.
How do you approach the oncoming winter ? Do you have any tips you could share with me and my readers?
Until next time dear friends