Embrace Winter

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a walk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

 ~ Edith Sitwell

This past week, the oracular rodents in Canada and the United States offered conflicting predictions on the arrival of spring.  Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its burrow on Groundhog Day (February 2), there will be six more weeks of winter.  Conversely, if the groundhog does not see its shadow, then tradition tells us an early spring is on its way.

While there appeared to be a consensus among two of Canada’s most well-known groundhogs, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, both of whom predicted an early spring, their American cousin Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, was not so optimistic, claiming we are in for six more weeks of winter.

Don’t get me wrong, I love those little fortune-telling critters; however, I have experienced 33 Canadian winters so far, and early spring prediction or not, we have a ways to go before those spring showers and flowers show up.

Admittedly, I am not winter’s biggest fan; we have never really seen eye-to-eye on much.  While I enjoy warm temperatures, long, bright days, green leaves, barbecues and beaches, winter seems to prefer short, dark days, cold (at times face-numbing) temperatures, and copious amounts of snow and slush.

If I’m being completely honest, I have cursed winter more times than I care to admit (not very Pearls, Lace and Grace of me), and have struggled with the season ever since I can remember. That was, until this past November, when I decided that being perpetually irritated for five months of the year was not a healthy way to live, and unless I wanted to permanently relocate to the equator (ok, a little dramatic), I thought it best that I find a way to embrace the season.

In previous posts, I offered readers ways to Embrace Spring, Embrace Summer, Embrace Autumn, and now, I conclude the series by offering you five ways to embrace winter:

Choose to See Winter’s Beauty

All seasons offer a unique beauty that one cannot necessarily experience throughout the remainder of the year.  So, rather than curse the harshness of the season, why not find the beauty in it?  When you enjoy rather than dread what’s around you, your optimism will begin to trump your negativity and you will inevitably feel happier.

Rather than ruminating over your numb fingers and toes, or worrying about that next blizzard that will have you shovelling for hours, shift your focus to something more positive, like sipping hot chocolate next to a crackling fire, or witnessing the whimsical dance of a light snowfall at midnight.

There is so much beauty to be found in winter, and I encourage you to find it!


Don Luxurious Winter Fashion

While I haven’t always enjoyed the number of layers that a Canadian winter requires, as a fashion lover, I have not only learned to tolerate the change in my wardrobe, but look forward to it.

My winter work uniform consists of cashmere and silk-blend sweaters (similar here), light, wool-blend slacks (here), and for a more casual look, an oversized cardigan (here) paired with thick leggings (here) and riding boots (here).

My winter home uniform is much simpler – a pair of full-length pyjamas (my favourites are by Ralph Lauren – similar here), a robe (here) and slippers (here).

For the outdoors, I look forward to donning my knee-length parka (similar here), warm mittens (similar here), earmuffs (so as to not ruin the hairstyle – similar here), a luxurious wool-cashmere scarf (similar here), and a pair of durable winter boots (similar here) that can withstand even the coldest of days.

Enjoy a Winter Activity

In order to fully appreciate what the winter season has to offer, I encourage you to find an activity that is specifically “winter”, something that you cannot partake in the rest of the year.  There is really so much to do:

Skiing (alpine or cross-country)
Ice skating
Ice hockey
Tobogganing or Tubing
Ice fishing

Try a  few and see what works for you.  The activity should be enjoyable, not a chore.

Take a Winter Walk

If the above activities are simply too ambitious for you (they certainly are for me most days), then why not take a winter walk?

Maybe you have a favourite trail that you enjoy exploring during the other months of the year?  If so, take a walk on that same trail now to appreciate how this season changes the landscape.  The slumbering trees, kept warm by a layer of snow that rests on its limbs (if you did not know, snow is a fantastic insulator), or luxuriate in winter’s silence, as the birds have made their way south, and the streams have taken a rest from flowing so fiercely.

A winter walk not only allows you to maintain your fitness regimen, but a walk, especially on a sunny day (yes, there are a few), will give your body the vitamin D that is craves.

Get Out of Dodge 

When all else fails, and you simply cannot spend one more day on the frozen tundra, then my advice is to get out of dodge.

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life, taking a trip, or even just thinking about taking one in the future, can make you happier.

If you are able to spare the funds, head to a place where the residents have never heard the phrase “minus 20 with the windchill”.  Those few days of sun and sand will surely lighten winter’s load.

If you cannot get away right now, then maybe plan a trip for late-spring or summer.  Take some time daily or weekly to research and plan.  Even seeing that beautiful destination and knowing you will eventually be there, will surely make those slushy commutes to work a little easier to manage.

However you choose to embrace winter, cheers to a crisp and cozy season!  If you need me, I’ll be by the fire.

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