It wasn’t until I recently spent an entire Sunday afternoon on Pinterest, delighting in every picture I could find which offered evidence of tropical panoramas, colorful concoctions on ice, sun-drenched sands and drool-provoking tanned bodies that I admitted the ‘winter blues” was an actual epidemic.
If you are currently shivering through a comparable level of torture, I relate to your every dreary, overcast and cabin-feverish pain.
Winter deserves homage for its perks, however. It is a time when cozy fires remedy the effects of the snow and freezing rain, and a time to recharge and discover luxury in solitude.
So, ’tis the season to withdraw, to wear velvet, to fondue, to adorn yourself in layers, to drift off to sleep under a mountain of heavy covers and to curl up with a mug of steaming comfort. It is the ideal time to pour yourself into a consuming, rapturous novel, to find in your mind your very own cabin in the woods, and to align yourself with nature by allowing all that which no longer serves you to die.
During the winter season, landscapes are less celebratory, colorful and fragrant. Energy is withdrawn. Animals crawl into hibernation. Everything dies; preparing to be reborn in the spring. It is the perfect time for preparation – to incubate a new approach – whether it be in regard to the rejuvenation of your appearance, your state of health, your relationships, your creative endeavors or your inner life.
If the gray skies have you feeling perpetually grumpy, below are 12 cozy, happy and indulgent remedies. You are approaching the mecca of cozy. Enjoy.
#1 Find a Crackling Fire.
Build your own or, if that isn’t possible, visit a restaurant or hotel lobby with a comfortable couch and a choir of cozy, crackling flames. Have a glass of wine or a mug of something steaming. Allow it to melt away all of your winter angst.
#2 Find the Comfiest, Softest, Fluffiest Blanket.
This should preferably be enjoyed fresh from the dryer, for there are few sensations more consolatory, gratifying and pampering when the weather is blistering.
#3 Cradle Yourself In All of the Lovely Varieties of ‘Winter Woollies.’
Oversized sweaters and fluffy socks make me feel connected to the innocence and wholesomeness of my childhood. While summer attire supports the bare-skinned, hot and explosive sensuality of its season, winter is like the friend who is more obscure, often overlooked and under-appreciated.
The truth is; there is an innocence, an endearing sweetness and a cradling effect to our winter wardrobes. So, allow yourself to be “woollied.”
#4 Curl Up With A Stack of Engulfing Books.
The majority of my published writings are within the genres of narrative essay or reported features, however fiction is a love I privately commune with on a rare occasion. It is a completely different kind of affair and, therefore, creative journey. I am entertained by the art of creating other worlds as much as I am entertained by the art of illuminating experiences within my actual world.
Just as fully, though, I love diving into a world created by another writer. My perspective of the human experience expands every time. There is no more perfect season to immerse yourself into a book than when the world is offering so few distractions. So whether it be memoir, self-help or a 19th century novel, slip away from yourself and be engulfed by the unfamiliar.
#5 Diffuse Those Healing & Restorative Oils.
You’re stuck in the house, so you may as well make it the most sensory-pleasing and health-boosting experience possible.
Note: For my three-part series on the beauty, emotional and health benefits of essential oils, go here.
Three drops of thieves and one drop of peppermint is my favorite winter blend for diffusing.
Thieves Essential Oil blend of cinnamon, clove, lemon and eucalyptus is legendary for its incredible immune-boosting and pathogen-fighting properties. It is widely reported that thieves has been diffused round-the-clock to effectively and entirely eradicate (milder cases) of mold from homes. Most significantly, it infuses my home with the scent of gingerbread.
I am not an extremist with this oil and do not consider it to be a “cure-all.” However, I do consider it to be a staple in my home.
Peppermint Essential Oil is a day-maker if you’re suffering from a hangover or a headache. Also, it brightens my mental state instantly.
#6 Step Outside For Some Ice-Cold Vitamin D.
Gather all of your “winter woollies,” bundle up and step outside. There may be no blue skies, lush grass or a balmy garden to marvel at, but your vitamin-d deficient body will appreciate you.
If you are still deficient (as many people are throughout the colder months), please supplement for supported sleep, energy levels and improved mood.
#7 Create Some Magic.
Get crafty. Break out your handy-dandy glue gun and design some jewelry. Paint a wall the color of the sun you miss so desperately. Sculpt something. Give birth to a story. Pull your torch from hibernation and make creme brûlée. Propagate weirdness in the kitchen.
Precious time spent creating is never wasted, for you will always have a glimpse of your innermost oddball-genius, now in dazzling physical form, to show for it.
#8 Get Amped About ‘Hibernation Renovation.’
Most people cultivate the habit of “spring cleaning,” however I find it more practical to clean while hibernating. It makes more sense, don’t you think? So, turn your cabin fever on its head by turning your home into your most ideal haven.
Make a list of those unfinished and half-assed projects which have long irritated you. Fix, paint, seal, oil, sweep or dust those irritations away. Organize. Restructure. Reassemble. Redesign.
Get all of the frivolous and tedious things done that you are sure to neglect when spring has sprung and the gravitational pull of the hot, beaming sun lures you away from hibernation and back into open-aired celebration.
I recently began reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it is transforming the way I approach organizing and arranging my home in general.
#9 Make Bath Time A Sacred Pampering Ritual.
I take baths almost every day of my life, however it is never a more ideal time than when it’s cold outside.
So, dim the lights and fill the room with the glow of your favorite candles. Watch your shadow recline on your bathroom wall. Burn the incense. Gather all of your favorite bath-related delights. Let it become your sanctuary.
Truly, some of my most beloved story concepts, characters, epiphanies, realizations and bursts of inspiration have sought me out and unleashed their wonder upon me during the stillness and solitude of a bath.
For my lengthy article written in veneration of the art of bath-taking, click here.
Below are a few of my favorite wintry bath delights…
LUSH Butterball Bath Bomb
There is no bath bomb more emollient and softening, which makes it appropriate for winter skin. You will feel as though you’re swimming in a pool of whipped, foamy cream and buttery frosting.
SheaTerra Organics Shea Butter & Malawi Sugar Gingered Pumpkin 2-in-1 Body Scrub
This 2-in-1 exfoliant and cream is sublime for the nurturing of dry, irritated winter skin. Also, the fact that it smells like a slice of heavenly gingerbread makes it the cream of the body scrub crop.
#10 ‘Tis the Season to Lose Yourself In a Mind-Blowing Documentary.
Netflix, winter would never be as educational nor entertaining without you.
If you’re going to be locked away from the world for a season, you may as well learn something about it. Below are a few of my favorite Netflix documentary offerings:
Be gutted by them. Allow your consciousness to be expanded because of them. Let your heart become a blazing furnace. Dare to gasp, shriek, cheer or scream at your television screen. No one can hear you – you’re hibernating, after all.
#11 End Your Day With a Mug of Lavender Hot Chocolate.
This recommendation is not to be disregarded, nor is it to be taken lightly. This is my favorite way to conclude a winter night, thus I opted to conclude this article with my dearest, applause-worthy (tried, failed and finally true) recipe:
Instructions: Add milk of preference (cashew and coconut, equal parts, is the tastiest vegan option for this), chocolate, cacao powder, kosher salt and coconut nectar to saucepan over medium heat. Add vanilla extract when chocolate is melted and mixture is almost blended thoroughly. Once blended, remove from heat and add drop of lavender essential oil. Whisk the mixture vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
Serve with whipped cream, if you please.
#12 Oh, and One More Thing…
Shave your porcupine legs, silly girl.
Don’t do it for him, though. Do it because that comfy, soft and fluffy blanket I was telling you about is guaranteed to feel heavenly against them.