I can’t believe it’s my 5th winter in DC and, as a Southern California girl, I truly never thought I would be able to accept the cold, gray days we experience here in the Mid-Atlantic during this season. If I’m being completely honest here, I have severe anxiety towards the end of the Fall season and dread the winter months with a passion. It doesn’t make it any better that my family spends each Christmas in Kauai so I am always faced with a brutal shift back into reality come January. It is usually this time of year that I also convince myself that I hate DC (not true!), never want to live through another winter again (not possible) and come up with every reason why it’s time we move out west (maybe someday).
Don’t get me wrong, I still much prefer all other seasons to winter by a landslide and I don’t think that will ever change, but for the first time in my life I feel a sense of contentment that I never have before and I am so proud of myself for getting to this place because it has taken a lot of work. Over the past few years, I’ve figured out a formula that works for me and helps me get through the cold dark days without too many tears and I wanted to share them here in case you’re reading this and thinking man, I’m ready for Spring.
Embrace The Season | Who doesn’t love a good excuse to sleep a few extra hours, cozy up with a good book and thoroughly enjoy warm soups and a piping cup of coffee? Hibernation is a part of nature for a reason! Use this season as an opportunity to enjoy life at a slower pace.
Book A Trip | There is nothing worse than heading into a New Year with zero plans to look forward to. Use this time to plan for a big (or small) trip sometime throughout the first few months of the year. Travel is a huge priority in our marriage, so Blair and I forego expensive Christmas gifts for each other and instead book a trip somewhere instead. The past few years we’ve been to Miami and Mexico for a quick few days in the sun and it works like a charm every time.
Bundle Up and Get Outside | I refused to buy heavy duty coats, snow boots, and gloves out of sheer denial for the first few winters here, but I’ve come to realize that when you have all the gear you need to stay warm, it actually feels really good to get outside. If you live in a pedestrian-friendly city like me, find a coffee shop you love a mile or two away and walk there knowing you have the reward of a hot beverage to hold onto for your walk home.
Take a Hot Yoga Class | I’m totally biased here, but there is nothing better than walking into a warm room when the temperatures are below freezing. The mental and physical benefits of yoga always leave me feeling so much better when I walk out than when I walk in, not to mention it’s nice to get into a space with other people who are there to uplift themselves and others around them.
Work on a Passion Project | Am I the only one that feels guilty for sitting inside during the warmer months? Whenever it’s sunny outside, I much prefer to go for a run or bike ride around the neighborhood, but in the winter I have no excuse to not stay inside and work on fun projects. This winter I’m finally enrolling in an online class I’ve had on my radar forever and I’m excited to work on new skills!
Make a Winter Bucket List | I keep a running list on my phone of things I want to do/see/eat (I call it my ‘wucket’ list) during the winter months so that whenever I start to feel stir crazy I have a slew of options to choose from. It includes movies I want to see, restaurants to try, new workout classes to sign up for, and little day trips to take from the city for the days when roads aren’t covered in ice or snow and I want to get out of the house.
Eat Well | It can be tempting to eat feel good foods when you know you can cover up with a heavy sweater, but food makes a huge impact on your mood whether you want to admit it or not. Drink plenty of water, eat a lot of roasted vegetables and warm veggie soups, and save the alcohol for special occasions as it’s a depressant and can make you more sad on a dreary day than you need to be.
Have any other recommendations for surviving the winter months? These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over the course of my few east coast years but I’m always looking for new suggestions. Only two months to go until the Spring Equinox!