the zach girls

Preparing for Colder Months Mentally and Emotionally

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but we live in the North-Western United States. Sure, we don’t get heavy snow outside, but it’s dreary, wet, and all around can be pretty miserable if you choose to look at it that way.

For my very active almost 3 year old, it means that her mom makes her wear socks (and clothing) outside, and for her that is a real downer. I’m a strong supporter of putting on winter weight. Give me all the warm cookies, hot cocoa, chestnut praline lattes, and heavy stews you’ve got. That said, I never understood why Winter is such a warm invitation for me personally to bundle up, enjoy the rain, and read a good book. Although, since I’ve been come a mom of two, the more accurate depiction is of listening to an audiobook while doing the dishes and drinking coffee. 

A couple concepts I’ve come across have really opened my eyes to how we can choose to have a warmer, more festive, calm Winter season and I’d like to share them with you.

Hygge

Now, I won’t pretend that this term hasn’t become yet another sales ploy by Pier One to sell you fluffy blankets and some carved wood bowls. It’s almost to the point where the word makes me cringe, yet the concept makes so much sense for those of us in colder, more dreary climates. I’m also not going to pretend that I’m an expert on the subject. Although, there are a few strong concepts that I’m trying to put into to practice this winter. 

  1. Invite people over whether or not your home is spotless. I know right? Gasp! You have laundry in your living room corner too? Yup. We all do. So, why do we get into the habit of stressing about having friends over if our kitchen isn’t mopped? (I promise you, if you come over to my house and my kitchen floor is shiny, I did that to impress you, not because it’s a Tuesday and my house elf scrubbed the floor.) Why do we feel the need to be instagram ready all the time? My favorite moments with friends are sitting on the couch, enjoying coffee while breastfeeding the smallest one and the toddlers run around our rambler home playing tag wearing capes made out of scarves. Don’t wait for perfection to live your life or make memories.
  2. Opt for warmer lighting in your home. There is something to be said for christmas/fairy/holiday lights. The warm glow casts a magical feeling in a play space, living room, bedroom, wherever you want to choose them. If you’ve checked out my post on morning rhythms (ahem, ahem) you’d know that we’ve been integrating more candles into our home around mealtimes. I’ve also been integrating more candles in my own time. Now, as much as I’d like to tell you I start my morning off in a warm epsom salt, essential oil, and goat milk bath before the children awake and scrub the floors along with that house elf, truth is- my me time is usually after everyone has gone to bed, and I get in 10 minutes of meditation/yoga along with cleaning up the home a bit while my toddler isn’t actively destroying it. Self Love comes in many forms, mine usually involves a clean sink and fairy lights. 
  3. Experiment with warm drinks. While coffee takes place as the lord and savior in my home, we’ve been expanding our palettes this Fall and Winter season with loose leaf teas, home made cocoa, mushroom elixirs, spiced ciders, mulled wine, and chai lattes. Get your kids in on the fun too. I never would have expected that my almost 3 year old absolutely loves Blue Lotus Tea, or that Four Sigmatic Chai Blend is something she enjoys. All too often with young ones, we put them in a box of what we think they want without letting them experience new flavors, textures, and well, experiences. We took a look at our day and try to have some sit down time before naps and drink something warm. Lately, it’s been a Reishi infused Hot Cocoa that’s oh so calming. Play around with different experiences and see what your family enjoys!

Festivals

In years past, we hadn’t really focused too much on holidays other than the typical ones we come across in our western world. Christmas, Fourth of July, Valentines, Thanksgiving, etc. However, when I really was thinking about Hygge, I also at the same time was delving into the Waldorf world. A perfect gateway drug to a Waldorf style simple home is the Whole Family Rhythms curriculum that we have been loving since August. I purchased about the time we start the Whole Family Rhythms course an Around The Day Waldorf Planner one of these days I’ll make a blog post dedicated to this planner. Out of all the book planners I’ve used over the years, this one is sheer perfection. But, one of the most forward features when I purchased it, is the fact that it lists in the month all of the upcoming festivals (holidays of various origins and cultures). The Fall and Winter have so many beautiful festivals celebrating how precious light is, how precious our family is, and celebrating stories of exceptional individuals who did their best to show courage. One holiday we are gearing up for in the near future, is St. Lucia day (or Saint Lucy’s Day). It’s very close to the Winter Solstice and comes from Sweden. It is to celebrate the return of the sun and light as we are in the darkest part of the year for the western hemisphere (and for many, the coldest part). Santa Lucia is celebrated every year on December 13th. There are some beautiful explanations of this holiday and the symbolism which I will post links to down below. ​

Don’t Take The Outdoors For Granted

However, all of this aside, even in the cold it’s vital we get outside, breath in some crisp air, and set our intentions for the upcoming warmer part of the year. While Waldorf philosophy refers to the winter as a time of “in-breath”, a time to retreat inside, reflect more, spend more time in our own skin and enjoying the company of loved ones, remember that the cold is a part of our own unique balance on this earth and our children will benefit from finding joy and wonder in the colder months as they do in the warmer ones. 

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