December 1st heralds the start of the meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere, so if you haven’t stocked up and/or barricaded yet, it’s now time to fortify against the chilly air, wet feet, cold hands and chapped lips. So much joy can be found in the darkest of winter days; you just need the right gear to unearth it.
With the lifelong experience of living through the coldest, darkest and longest of winters in Norway, I understand what kit is necessary in order to not only survive, but thrive this winter.
The colder season is a wonderful time to reinvigorate the body and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Having the correct gear in place for when out and about and ensuring your home is set up to provide maximum comfort and warmth means that even those who dread winter will be able to revel in the opportunities for pleasure that it brings.
While it is foremost important to adopt a positive mindset and actively seek out the enjoyable experiences that we can relish through the winter, having particular items in place that we can rely on will make the season much easier to navigate. Building up armour – made from cosy jumpers – and carving out moments of calm throughout the day is essential to take you from surviving to thriving this winter.
Read on for my winter essential checklist…
Heading outside in the winter can often feel like a military exercise, requiring a whole heap of thick layers, waterproofs and woolly accessories to protect ourselves. However, as the famous Scandinavian saying tells us “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” If we dress appropriately for the outdoors, the cold, wet winter climate shouldn’t get in our way. Whilst layering up might seem like a chore, it is exactly what will help you to enjoy being exposed to the elements, so take pleasure in the process of getting cosy, no matter how tiresome it can seem.
A sturdy pair of walking boots, fleece-lined snow boots or wellies and snuggly socks can mean the difference between a miserable walk suffering the discomfort of frozen, wet feet and an invigorating winter hike that gets the heart pumping, the endorphins racing, and a lungful of fresh air as you contemplate the beautiful winter landscapes. The right footwear, thermal layers, a waterproof coat, and gloves, hat and scarf will transform an unpleasant afternoon into a day of gratification.
In fact, the colder months are an excellent opportunity to show off your winter flair. Cosy cable knits, leather boots and contrasting tones will brighten up everyone’s day and will have you feeling and looking good when out and about.
Our skin can take a real battering in the winter, with low temperatures and strong winds impacting our protective barriers. A deeply moisturising hand cream and lip balm can work wonders to stave off dry hands and chapped lips. Keeping one of each in a coat pocket for when you are outside the house and by your bed to apply first and the last thing will help keep your skin will strong and healthy all winter long.
Another skin essential that often gets neglected during the winter months is SPF. The sun’s rays filter through clouds, rain, fog and snow, meaning that even though you can’t see it the sun is still affecting your skin. To protect it year-round and ensure a healthy glow come springtime, make sure to apply a gentle SPF every morning.
When it comes to preparing our homes for the colder season there is no such thing as too much cosiness. Knowing you have a warm and welcoming sanctuary to return to makes spending time outside not just bearable but enjoyable.
Start with the basics to keep the cold out, such as placing draught excluders by external doors. Consider the thermal feng shui of the room, making sure no furniture is blocking or absorbing all the heat from radiators. Add a rug on top of a hardwood floor for warmer feet through the colder months and add on top of the carpet to create layering and even more cosiness in your living space.
Once the basics have been covered, it’s time to level up, adding in snuggly blankets, cushions, fairy lights, scented candles, and bringing in the firewood ready for cosy evenings sat around a crackling, warming fire with a good book and a glass of wine.
The flavours and tastes of winter are arguably the best of any season. Combine that with the seasonal goodies on offer and it is clear why comfort eating is at an all-time high during the winter. Baking is a great way to add warmth to the home, not to mention delicious smells as your baked goods waft their scents through the house. When cooking, add warming winter spices like cinnamon and cardamom to your food to elevate a regular dish to a more festive feast. Making soups from seasonal vegetables is another way to enjoy the tastes of the season and leave you feeling healthy and warmed from the inside too.
A glass of mulled wine or a mug of hot apple cider are ideal options to help get us into the spirit of the season whilst also keeping us warm on a night out, whilst hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows is the perfect fireside choice and can be enjoyed by all ages!
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