Thursday, 19 January 2017

10 slow-living ideas for midwinter...

I am not a winter person. Give me year-round sunshine any day of the week: in spring and summer, I am more cheerful, less anxious, more productive. A tendency towards winter melancholy has led me to develop some survival strategies for these darker days; these are my favourites...

1/ Eat your oats. This is one of my favourites as it's all about starting each day right. I have porridge on the stove most mornings for my little ones anyway, and I can switch the toppings between banana and honey, raspberries and nuts (or whatever else takes my fancy) to keep it interesting. This, and a really good cup of coffee, gets me ready for the day.

Image courtesy of Savory Simple

2/ Walk. On the beach, in a muddy field, around the local park or nature reserve, wherever. Fresh air and daylight are so important to me in these dark, midwinter months, and it's a great opportunity to spend time slowly with my husband and children, reflecting, chatting, planning. (The promise of a cosy pub, afterwards, doesn't hurt either...)

3/ Plant bulbs. It's not too late to plant up hyacinths or paperwhites, and they are such a hopeful sign of spring. Failing that, a new bunch of flowers never fails to lift my spirits – such a simple thing, but then, sometimes the very best things are, aren't they?

4/ Have a bonfire. Irresistible to adults and children alike, the combination of comforting nostalgia and simply being outside in the fresh air is good for the soul. It's also a great opportunity to invite friends round for sausages and hot chocolate...

5/ Bake. It doesn't really matter what – cakes, biscuits, scones, bread – I find baking incredibly soothing and meditative (the process, the warmth, the waiting), and try to find time for it pretty much every weekend during the winter.

6/ Stretch. I try to go to a yoga class every week. That hour to myself is pure gold, and I really notice a peak in my stress levels if I don't manage it. Then, just five minutes of quiet – breathing, staying mindful – really helps.

7/ Fly a kite. It’s such a simple thing, but weirdly uplifting.

8/ Keep it cosy. Light some candles, gather blankets and good, woollen socks, pour a glass of wine or make some hot chocolate, run a hot bath – whatever it is is that makes you feel warm, nurtured and at peace.

Image courtesy of Toast

9/ Make plans for your garden. Whether it's a new patch or border of flowers or a different vegetable that you'd like to try growing, gather some gardening books and get inspired. (I love The Low Maintenance Vegetable Garden by Clare Matthews.)

10/ Tackle a small decorating or styling project. Sort out your bookshelves, clear a surface and curate a new collection of favourite things, make or buy new cushion covers, reframe some pictures and create a simple gallery wall. I find that anything which doesn't involve picking up a paintbrush is pretty soothing. The paintbrushes can wait until spring...

What makes you feel good in these midwinter months?

1 comment:

  1. I think these are lovely ideas, Nicola :) I'm actually quite a winter person (aside from the dark days, I love the cold weather and the cosiness of it all), but I am finding the evenings a bit tiresome at the moment.. I'm excited for spring and seeing the sun in the sky after I've left the office! :)

    Porridge oats is my go-to throughout winter too (at the moment I'm soaking my porridge oats overnight in almond milk with raisins and cinnamon, which is lovely because the raisins plump up!).

    Hope you're having a lovely week :)