11 Little things you can do to help get through the living nightmare that is winter
Sometimes – on the most unbearable of winter days when you've left the house and it's still dark, and a passing car suddenly splashes a great, dirty puddle over you – you're left thinking about why you even signed up for life.
But don't despair, there are lots of things you can do to get through the awful, awful months of the year that are winter (*shudders*). Of course, the only sensible thing to do would be to plan your life so that you spend it between the two hemispheres, alternating where you live and work to ensure it's always summer and never winter.
But alas, not all of us can afford such a lifestyle. Instead, here are 11 little things you can do to make things a little easier for yourself. Go on and make yourself a tea, nestle into a blanket and have a read.
1. Go to bed earlier
Our natural hibernation instincts kick in when the days are shorter and the temperatures are colder. Don't fight it, and give yourself the extra zzz's you need.
2. Don't dry out
Always keep a chapstick at hand, buy some good moisturizer and smother yourself with it often. The dry, cold winds and indoor heating will dry out your skin, lips, and eyes. You should also consider getting a humidifier (the ones that you can put scented oils in are the bomb) to keep your home from becoming a moisture-sucking hell-hole.
3. Layers, people... layers
Warm yourself up with clothes before you warm the entire house. Seriously, don't even think about complaining about how cold you are, if you're not wearing socks. Wear a few layers you can peel on and off after leaving the house, depending on where you're headed and what you're doing.
4. Stay active, even in the insufferably cold outdoors
Keep your blood circulating, the sweat going and endorphins pumping and you'll no longer feel frozen. Me? I'd make the most of it and go skiing. Alternatively, just follow a yoga flow sequence from YouTube, or go for a brisk walk or jog outside.
5. Spend some time outdoors
Walk the last few hundred meters to work, grab a coffee, or go out on your lunch break even if you're feeling a little run-down. Head out during the brightest part of the day and you'll feel so much better after soaking up some natural light (maybe even sunshine if you're lucky) and breathing in some fresh air.
6. But also change your priorities
You're naturally going to feel more lethargic in the winter months, so just embrace it. Rather than shivering your way from club to club on a Saturday night, stay holed up in one cozy bar and leave it at that. Or ideally, do some quieter activities and take the time to read more, write more, bake, play games and watch movies.
7. Get a dawn simulator alarm clock
Maybe you've heard of them before, but they're basically a big spherical alarm clock that gradually lights up about a half an hour before your alarm rings. The light is at its brightest when the alarm rings, and because your body has experienced something similar to a natural sunrise, it'll be so much easier to get up.
8. Plan something for the end of your day
Whether you're going out to a nice little pizza place with a friend, to the movies, or just having a bath at home, having something to look forward to at the end of the day will make those long, cold nights seem less wretched.
9. Stock up on candles
Having candles flickering in all corners of the room will make things feel so much warmer and cozier. Don't bother with buying fancy candle holders – wedge some candlesticks into the tops of empty wine bottles or pop a tea-light at the bottom of an old jam jar.
10. Don't hold back on comfort food
Think slow-cooked stews, thick soups, spiced casseroles and fruit crumbles. Your body will be craving the extra nutrients, complex carbs, and warming foods to fend off the cold. We all need a few more calories to keep warm in winter, so now's not the time for strict diets. And you already know that drinking tea will make everything better as well, right?
11. Become an advocator for hygge
"Hygge" comes from Denmark, a place of horrid winters but also the happiest people in the world. It roughly translates to a cozy, warm 'n' fuzzy feeling mixed with "togetherness". Light your candles, put up some fairy lights and add warming textures like fluffy rugs and chunky knitted blankets to your home. Invite friends over for dinner to complete the effect.
Think you'll be okay now? I thought so. Try and embrace winter for what it is, and make the most of it. It doesn't have to be all that bad.