marshmallows in mug
Natural Living

Seasonal Living in the Winter

We are still in the depths of winter as I write this, dear reader. Up here in Norway, the forest is covered in deep snow and ice, and I find it best to stay inside most of the time. So, it’s a good time to explore the concept of seasonal living in the winter. It will still be a month or two before spring arrives here.

A recap of seasonal living in general

But before we begin, let’s just revisit what seasonal living really is.

Seasonal living, dear reader, is the art of dancing with nature in her own rhythm. It is adjusting your lifestyle to match the environment around you, and making shifts when the environment around you shifts.

Excerpt from my last blog post

And one the main benefits of seasonal living, is that you get to relax and decompress a bit when the season dictates it. In a nutshell, that’s what seasonal living in the winter is all about. As nature slows down, so can you.

spruce on snowy terrain in winter park

What nature is doing in winter

Winter makes everything seem frozen and stagnant. The trees have redirected their energy into the roots and trunk, the warmblooded mammals are for the most part huddled up in their cozy dens, and the world is dark and quiet.

But under the surface, there is still life. Little mice are making tunells in the snow, and the earth is preparing for yet another season of abundance and vitality as the seeds lie dormant. What seems cold and dead, is really teaming with life just below the frost layer. Still there. Still alive.

The mammals that are us

We often forget that we, too, are nature. In fact, we are warmblooded mammals. And as such, we are not meant to be out and about just as nothing has changed in our environment when winter comes. If we do that, we are headed for exhaustion and malaise. The risk of heart attacks rise in the winter, as does the risk of having a stroke. The cold simply does not agree with our biology.

(And that’s not even mentioning the common colds and the broken bones due to the slippery ice.)

Emotionally, we may need a break as well. Some are prone to winter depressions due to the lack of sunlight, and the chemical changes that thus happen in the brain. It’s a bit ironic that the symptoms include:

  • Increased sleep and daytime drowsiness
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in activities formerly enjoyed
  • Social withdrawal and increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  • Fatigue, or low energy level
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased ability to focus or concentrate
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Increased appetite, especially for sweets and carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Physical problems, such as headaches

It’s almost like the medical world has problems acknowledging that many of these are the body’s signals of needing more rest and quietude – which would be completely natural in the depths of winter.

cup of coffee with chocolate biscuits on a saucer between a pearl necklace and an old correspondence

Winter self care practises

There are many ways you can take extra good care of yourself during the winter months. Getting enough sleep and relaxation would be one of them, so make sure you have a cozy and clean bedroom, a couch with soft pillows and blankets, and maybe a woolen yoga mat in front of the fire place.

Nutrition is also of the essence when the world is slowing down. If you followed your natural cravings during autumn, you will already have high levels of vitamins in your blood. But if you didn’t, or if you binged chocolate instead of sweet fruits and berries, you will have to compensate for that now. Think hot blackcurrant toddies and berry pies.

Other foods you might consider, are starchy vegetables, stews and soups.

Stress management in the winter

Proper stress management in winter would include simply slowing down and not taking on too many projects. You could have full self care days at home, or you could take time to just be with yourself. Activities such as journaling, meditating, yin yoga sequences and infrared sauna sessions would be wonderful.

In the daytime, try and get those precious rays of light on your skin. There won’t be much vitamin D to get out of it given the lacking strength of the sun, but your brain will register it as a bit of vitality and make you feel invigorated as long as it lasts.

knitted piece and yarn with hook

Other seasonal living activities in the winter

Since we are spending so much time inside, this would be a good time to give you home a little make-over. Not in the sense of tearing up your kitchen to replace it entirely, but in terms of making in cozy and nice with fresh curtains, pillows and decorations to reflect winter’s beauty.

And you remember the teaming life of the soil beneath the frost layer? Yes – this is a time that is quite beneficial to allow you subconscious mind to prepare for the coming of spring. If there’s anything you would like to study, or any books you would like to read, this would be the perfect time for that. You could also take your time to choose your word of the year. Cozy up with your blankets, a hot toddy and an interesting book, and allow your mind to work while your body rests.

Last but certainly not least: Handicrafts such as knitting or crocheting are wonderful winter hobbies, and they are useful, too. You can spend your winter nights creating your own warm socks, scarves, mittens or even sweaters to keep yourself and your family warm.

In conclusion

As you can see, dear reader, we are natural beings, and we could benefit greatly from slowing down when the days are getting shorter. The best way to go about seasonal living in the winter, is to simply make your home a cozy den, stock up on healthy foods and interesting books, and in general just spend time with yourself and reflect upon the coming year.

What is your favorite winter activity?

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