January and February can be hard months. The excitement of the holidays is over, often leaving us exhausted, and the sunshine has been replaced by dreary days. We find a boost of energy in the naming of our New Year’s goals only to have it replaced with regret when those go quickly off track. Or, perhaps worse, we never even start those goals, although we did make a great post on social media letting the world know of our lofty goals.
During the drag of winter, I often find myself navigating toward cozy. Wool socks. Warm quilts. Winter candles. There’s even a Danish term for finding comfort and warmth in winter — hygge. It’s all about channeling contentment when life is darker and perhaps a little unsettled.
Instead of unrealistic annual goals, I’m working on being more intentional in the months right in front of me. Here are the ways I’m working on finding warmth and light this winter season:
Getting Outdoors. There are some countries and cultures that embrace being outdoors all year round. I’m guilty of outdoor time only when it is 60 degrees and sunny. The winter season provides an opportunity to layer up and adventure outdoors, including in the quiet twilight with snow or in the brisk morning hours of dawn. The leaves have fallen to allow us to see further in the forest, which means our view is made new in this winter season.
Sniffing the Season. Smell has the ability to invoke nostalgia and positive memories. We need that all the time, but especially in the down days of winters. When I step outside, I breathe deep the wood-burning smell of my neighbor’s chimney or the smell of pine trees on the trail. The smell of baking bread is also one of my favorites, which takes me straight back to my grandma’s kitchen. She’s been gone 30 years and I can still hear her voice reminding me to knead gently.
Warming the Belly. I’m a coffee lover, but it’s been fun to explore the world of tea. There is so much variety. Recently, I’ve been making a ginger tea recipe where you steep ginger in sugar water to make a syrup and then you mix that with ginger tea, plus your favorite warm milk. The warmth goes straight to my belly. It also seems to calm my spirit right before my head hits the pillow.
Nurturing the Mind. If ever there is a season to settle in and open a good book, winter is it. I’m slowing down to read more of God’s word and also exploring new books that broaden my view. There are books I read to nurture the mind, but also some for pure entertainment that make me feel. There’s joy curling up in your favorite reading spot (cozy blanket, candle lit, and hot tea in hand) and letting the hours pass while the winter storm rages outside.
While your hygge list might look totally different than mine, figuring out those moments of comfort that refresh and refuel are so important for winter. It’s a chance to embrace the season instead of spending it in dread or wishing it away. It really is comfort over chaos. Warmth over worrying. Healing over being a hot mess.
Make it yours, dear friends.
Heather Feeler isn’t making any New Year’s goals, but she may get around to organizing her collection of teas and books … or not. Winter is now one of her favorite seasons.