January is probably the most dreadful month of a year. It’s only a start of the winter. The days are short and in Belgium mostly gray. And summer, summer is million years away. I feel like this every year and I know I’m not alone. And since it’s inevitable to go through January of every year it’s better to find ways to enjoy it.
Lack of sunshine, daylight, and outdoor activities easily leads to discontent, laziness, and moodiness. But there are things to enjoy even in winter, or especially now. And even if it seems like summer is too far away we are getting closer to it every day.
It’s difficult to get motivated and happy sometimes, but some things and activities make my days better. I concentrate more on activities I can do at home, things I have more time for, things I would skip doing in nice weather. These are just a few things I remind myself of and do these days.
It’s just a season
I remind myself that winter is just a season and it’s about as long as any other season. Just a few weeks, and then everything will look and feel better, and more optimistic. Even if the days seem too short and nights unbelievably long right now, I know for sure it will change. I look forward to it already and meanwhile focus on activities I know I don’t have the time or desire to do in summer.
Last summer I read the Little Book of Hygge, and now I dug it out again. I reread some tips on creating a cozy atmosphere at home, and I’m implementing some of them. For me, a warm atmosphere, good food, and pleasant activities are on the top of the list of things I focus on. We light a scented candles in the evening, have some relaxing music on, and do our favorite indoor activities.
Winter is the time I read the most, every year. Since I’m already sitting at home, I enjoy that time with a good book in hand. Another favorite is watching funny comedies and TV series. A good laugh always lightens and brightens the mood.
I also love to bake, since in summer the last thing I have the desire to do is to turn on the oven. We bake bread and roast vegetables. We bake cookies, cakes, and scones. And if I’m really restless I declutter, purge, and clean. This is the ideal time to do it since in summertime there are so many better things to do than clean and organize a closet or pantry 😉
No matter how tempting it is, I try not to live only on cookies during the cold months of the year. This isn’t the ideal time for fresh vegetable salads since fresh, tasty local produce is hard to find. So instead, I try to eat more soups which are a great way to sneak in some vegetables. We love this vegetable-packed vegan chili, this carrot soup, or good ramen. Plus our recent addition, cream of pumpkin soup. Other nutritious favorites, ideal for the season are Indian daal and sweet potato curry. They are easy to make, make our apartment smell nice, and fulfill the healthy requirement we put on our meals.
And another source of nutrition these days are smoothies made with frozen fruits. They are readily available in every store, and since they were picked when they were ripe, they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Our favorites, currently, are raspberries. And, I don’t forget to take vitamin D supplements to boost my immunity and lighten my mood during this time of year.
We love to go through our never-ending list of places to see and select a few for upcoming spring, summer, and fall. We check the destinations, recommended must-see sights, I look up plane tickets and accommodation. We never end up visiting all of the places we selected at the beginning of a year, but more than a half is checked off of our list by the end of the year. Now is the best time to check day-offs, holidays, and plan according to our schedules. And just going through the images of sunny cities, and sights brings a smile on my face.
What are your tips for surviving winter and fighting winter blues?