Don't hibernate this winter

Thursday 26th October, 2023

Days begin to get shorter, with darker evenings and colder temperatures as autumn rolls around and then slowly turns into winter. Much like many other animals, as humans we get hungrier, sleepier and just generally lazier; as doing anything besides sitting inside in the warm becomes unappealing. As much as I love sitting inside on cold winter nights with candles lit, blankets on and the fire blazing. I also don't want to feel like I am wasting the winter months of my life by essentially hibernating away indoors. In years to come I want to tell people about all of the great things I achieved in my life and the fun times I've had, not of the multiple TV series I binge-watched throughout winter as I was too deep into hibernation mood to do anything else. To keep some summer spice in your life throughout the winter and not hibernate I have a few ideas on how you can make the most of those winter months and come out the other side with a few stories to tell; plus feeling happier during England's grey months.

Firstly, my favourite thing about autumn and winter is the colour palette. In autumn you have the oranges, browns and dark greens as leaves change and we begin to see sunset and sunrise more frequently, plus the orange and greens of pumpkins and Halloween (if you celebrate). In winter you have the soft white of snow, the reds of Christmas, the greens of the trees and the golds of the New Year. You will notice that most of these colours can best be appreciated outside as a lot of the items mentioned are found in nature. My suggestion here is to put on a nice warm coat (with a hood as we know the British weather) and get outside for a walk. Then you can see the sunset, feel the brisk air against your cheeks and watch the tree's leaves change colour. Not only that but you will get some great noises too of the crisp leaves or snow crunching underneath your feet as you walk. Then my favourite part after an autumn or winter walk is going back home and having the warmth of the house just pull you back in and engulf you like a massive blanket. If you're feeling social you could invite a friend or incorporate a cute little coffee date into your walk.

My second suggestion is to cook with friends one evening. Most of us now live in a culture that favours ordering a takeaway or going out to eat with friends as opposed to actually cooking and making a meal together. I think we should all start to do this again as from my experience making a meal with friends can often be more fun than enjoying the meal itself! Take pasta making as an example. All you have to do is simply mix the flour and the eggs, then use the machine and scratch cook a sauce. I say simply, but this could go two ways, either this blog post is turning into the script of a new sitcom, or I am describing a lovely experience shared by friends creating a meal together to be split with a bottle of red at dinner. It is a very fifty-fifty chance scenario as sometimes making dinner with friends has gone well for me, yet other times we have had to crack open the instant noodles, as Tyler forgot to put the marinara sauce in the lasagna; dry was not the word!

Another favourite thing of mine this time of year is to go to the cinema. With the rise of streaming services everyone normally just waits and sees films later these days, so getting to see an exciting new film before everyone else has a nice exclusive feeling about it. Cinemas are also warm, cosy and relaxing to be in, so unwinding in one with the new blockbuster can be the perfect de-stress after work. Plus the snacks are normally good too, as who doesn't like liquid cheese on tortilla chips?

My final suggestion is to have some quality self-care time. I typically have self-care on Sundays, but any day of the week works. By this, I don't just mean the usual bath and a face mask, as self-care to me means nurturing myself and improving in some way. For example, a current self-care Sunday of mine normally involves going to the gym, grabbing a coffee, going for a walk, pursuing a passion project of mine and then a face mask and bathing it up. I feel that all of those activities give me the elements of self-care that I need to feel good, as the gym makes my body feel good and clears my head, the coffee is a nice little treat, the walk allows me to relax and stretch out and the passion project either furthers my internal growth as a person or furthers my professional growth depending on what it is. This day is always rounded off by a nice homemade meal too like a lasagna or something similar so that I can go to bed feeling satisfied and nurtured in all areas. The above are just examples though as the definition of self-care and how self-care looks and feels heavily differs from person to person. The most important thing is that you practice self-care in a way that feels good to you in your body.

This winter you have the choice to hibernate and wait for the excitement of summer to roll about again or you can use some of the ideas above and live instead of hibernating this winter. I always choose to live, as it's always best to be having fun whenever possible. All this being said a good film, hot chocolate and fire-lit evening is a must-do on occasion, it's just about balance.

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