On Making the Most of Winter

Despite the incessant moaning and groaning of English Folk (read: Londoners, mostly) on the odd super cold day, I actually feel like winter has been quite forgiving so far this year. In fact, I admit I’ve woken up some mornings saying ‘Hey. You know what? I could go for a walk today because it’s so crisp and delicious outside!’ And, though my nose feels like an ice cube, I am content. I seem to have foregone the usual bout of SAD this year, though I’m unsure if that’s partly because of my recovery time off work.

Nevertheless, winter, to me, is a time for doing almost nothing outdoors except the bare minimum. Yes, the Christmas markets are up and running, enticing us to leave our cosy homes for promises of a bustling, vibrant atmosphere that includes Mariah Carey playing much too loudly on a speaker nobody can locate and a £7 hot chocolate that we could have made at home without being sardine-packed on the Piccadilly Line. But what else is there to do outside this cute, expensive little activity?

There is many a festive menu across all restaurants, and enough limited martinis that now have a generous sprinkling of icing sugar snow dusted on the side of the glass. We’re being reminded that, actually, there is a lot to leave your house for, guilted into staying indoors instead of venturing into the cold. It’s December and I haven’t even been to any Christmas markets! Or the outdoor ice-rink! I haven’t been to see a single flashing light and I’ve missed Winter Wonderland, a heaving extortionate waste of time that I now have to pay and queue up for!

So anyway, I’ve thought about the winter goals I have that don’t necessarily mean doing festive things because, truly, I very much enjoy the weather that forces me to stay indoors. What a shame, I can’t go outside, it’s raining. Damn it. Actually, I’m blissfully happy laying in bed with the lightbulb red, asking Alexa to play metal while I write, so I can really feel like I’m in a dungeon. Can’t do that when it’s sunny at 8pm.

I would, on a normal day, like to have some mulled wine and chestnuts, but it’s not something I’m going to pen down and venture into the crap weather and ginormous crowds for; don’t get me started on Christmas crowds because I’m exhausted just thinking about them. There are plenty of indoor and introspective goals to be achieved in Winter, especially for an introverted dopamine-chasing hermit who absolutely loves their own company and will look for any excuse to stay indoors.

Here are my five winter goals. Let me know if you have any of your own that I can draw inspiration from!

  1. Have one lazy day a week
    Starting off strong with my favourite of all my winter goals, for obvious reasons. Okay, this is sort of a rule I already have, but I highly recommend and now is the best time to start. It works as a goal even if you already have lazy days every day.Every fortnight, I give myself one allocated lazy day. A full day of doing nothing but TV and eating anything my heart desires at each moment; and, because I’ve planned this, I don’t feel guilty about it. The reason I’ve increased it to once a week for the winter is because I don’t really have any museums to be going to, no walks in the park, hardly any random events and evenings out. Therefore, it only makes sense to take care of myself and my wellbeing by recharging indoors.

    Every time I have a lazy day I feel reinvigorated and ready to take on the next week or two — it also gives me something to look forward to. Hours and hours playing sims? Not even going to the gym? Waking up after 7am? I’m giddy just thinking about it.

  2. Bake something
    Notice I don’t have a time constraint for this one. It’s because baking, for me, is an annoying, long, and messy activity, and I would rather loosely tell myself ‘eh. Just bake something every now and then whenever you feel like it’. The outcome of baking is great, obviously, but sometimes it’s more effort than it’s worth — if only I could hire someone to clean up as I bake.

    I don’t really get cravings for cake and cookies, and a supermarket jammy joey will always hit the spot, but it’s always nice to see the fruits of your labour — despite this, I only have two or three specialties under my baking belt, so I have told myself to start venturing out. Cooking, to me, is an art, and baking is a science. It requires patience and an eye for detail, plus the will to wash up probably more dishes than you’ve ever seen piled next to the sink. I will scour the internet and make those slag brownies, or whatever they’re called.

  3. Stop obsessing over how much weight I gain over winter
    Ugh. I do it every year. Every year!As soon as November rolls around, my brain says ‘Hey. It’s November, by the way. It’s cold. December is coming up and you’ll be spending every day consuming cheese and crackers, desserts, milky coffees, and probably even pasta, so you might as well start now because who cares?! It’s Christmas!’ And then, I’m surprised when January comes around and I can, once again, no longer fit into my jeans. So I’ve decided to accept the fact that I will most likely gain some weight over Christmas, remedying it only by increasing my attendance at the gym. It’s fat to keep me warm.
  4. Reread Wuthering Heights
    It’s my goal every single winter and I have only completed it twice. I’m not sure when and why I made this a goal, but it’s one I keep reminding myself of; I love Wuthering Heights and I refuse to read it in the Summer because I surely can’t pretend I’m running through the windy moors in a long, billowy dress on an unbearably hot day in July.I think it’s because I’m always spending November and December frantically trying to hit my reading goal for the year with books I started weeks ago and I never have time to read about Cathy and Heathcliff. Winter, however, is long and isn’t over until the new year. I’ve made this one my January goal. For now, The Brothers Karamazov is perfect winter reading.
  5. Hone an indoor skill
    Look, I’m not interested in learning a new skill and I think that’s perfectly okay. I don’t have time to dedicate to something new, so why not just improve the skills I already have? Writing, first and foremost, is a skill that can reallytake up all of your time when you’re constantly trying to finish that damn WIP. I also take this time to play more guitar (because it’s winter, I’m not going anywhere and therefore don’t need to have my nails done. Yes, I chewed them off).If you’re better than me though, you’ll find the time to learn a new skill and make that your winter fixation. Cooking, baking, an instrument, coding, any type of art. There are so many ways you can keep your brain busy that don’t involve calculating whether you’ll be able to pay the rent after buying a festive hot dog at Southbank Centre.

Don’t forget to factor in bouts of the common cold and flu that you keep catching off everyone you meet; keep your winter goals simple and achievable and maybe you’ll even distract yourself enough to not have seasonal depression. Hurrah!

Now Playing: Alkaline – Sleep Token

Originally posted on Substack. Subscribe here for free updates.

Leave a Reply