It’s been only a couple of weeks since the official start of the fall, but I can see, feel, and smell the difference. These past few days we had a lovely Indian summer weather, and I almost fell in love with this season. But warm, sunny days are not typical for Brussels for this time of year and based on experience I know that the next few months will be challenging. That’s why I like to get ready for long and rainy days ahead of us. Several things help me enjoy this time of year a little bit more, and I hope these ideas will inspire you to cozy up at home as well.
Over the summer, I read the Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. The book is full of inspiration on how to bring more coziness, enjoyment, and well-being to your home, especially in winter. People living in Scandinavian countries are experts on creating a cozy atmosphere and finding ways to enjoy themselves no matter what’s the weather like. I might be useful to check out some of the ideas and tips from the book or google hygge concept to get some inspiration.
What helps me to thrive despite lack of sunshine and low temperatures is to make my surroundings, my home, and myself feel warm, relaxed/relaxing, and fun. I like to have nice hot drinks on hand, a stack of books to read, board games to play, a list of movies to watch, projects to work on, and recipes to try. What follows, are four categories of things that help me enjoy time indoors and fight feeling cold.
Food & Drinks
After the season of big fruit and vegetable salads, handfuls of berries, and cold smoothies bowls for breakfast it’s time to switch to hot meals. I love to cook big batches of hearty soups, chilies, stews, and curries which always disappear faster than I anticipated. I don’t know how we do it, but what seems like a meal for a week is gone in days 😉
In this season I cannot resist a pumpkin spice latte, but my primary source of hydration is caffeine free, mostly herbal, tea. I can drink it all day long. My favorites are mint tea, herbal teas, and I recently fell in love with flavored rooibos tea.
Tip: Cook meals that warm up your body and soul. Prepare hearty meals and use wholesome ingredients to fuel your body. Now is the time to rely on canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and legumes. Find caffeine free teas to stay hydrated.
Fireplace, warm light, and candles help us relax, feel calmer, and warmer. Not all of us can start a fire at home, but we all can light a candle or switch a lightbulb.
Our bodies respond to light around us, be it sunshine, light from a reading lamp, or computer screen. Disrupting the circadian rhythm of our body can lead to a difficulty to fall asleep and rest properly or reduce your physical and cognitive performance. To respect the natural rhythm of your body reduce your exposure to blue light at wrong times, especially in the evening and night.
Tip: Buy light bulbs that are emitting a warm light. They are often labeled as ‘warm white’ or ‘soft white’ bulbs and have a light color of 2700 Kelvins. When selecting candles opt for beeswax or soy candles. We are planning to buy at least one of these two light bulbs from IKEA (teardrop bulb or globe bulb).
Clothes & Fabrics
My hands are cold almost all year long, and in colder months especially. What helps me stay warm and cozy is layering the clothes I’m wearing, even at home. Warm woolen socks, thick sweaters, and scarfs are part of my everyday uniform.
At home, I have a blanket on hand and a comfortable spot where I curl up to read a book or watch a movie. Layering the blankets and pillows helps to make any space feel cozy visually. It also makes it more inviting and warmer to all senses.
Tip: Invest in a blanket, sweater, or socks from natural material such as wool, cashmere, cotton, etc. I’m considering buying this blanket for our apartment. Regarding clothing, I love to have several pairs of warm socks, like these, and a comfy sweater.
Activities & Projects
Movies and books can transport us anywhere in the universe. They can make us laugh or cry, challenge our beliefs and opinions. Stories can teach us a thing or two or inspire us. Long evenings and cold days are made for a movie marathon or for getting lost in a great novel. Choose funny, uplifting and inspiring books and movies to cheer yourself up.
You don’t have to just do a passive activity. Choose a project or endeavor you can do with a friend. Play board games, host a tea party, invite a friend to explore new cafes in town with you. Active participating in an activity and doing something in a group of friends brings us more joy and shared experiences are often valued more.
Tip: Learn how to knit or crochet or how to make bread. Practice new language or a new skill. Invite friends over for a ‘clean-the-fridge’ dinner party or wine and cheese tasting. There are many possibilities for a fun activity, even indoors.