Winters in Berlin – the lack of sunshine, the chilly wind, the lifeless grisaille – are such a challenge. Is Winter to the seasons what Monday is to the week?
Don’t get me wrong: Winter is great when you’re at a ski resort.
Winter is pretty, adorable, festive during Christmas time as well.
But past NYE, as we go back to work, those too short and too cold, colourless, often stormy or just chilly days create a collective moan that surpasses the “it’s Monday, kill me now”-cry. Are you kidding me? Three months worth of Mondays?!
In the first SOUL DETOX of 2017, let’s see how we can make the best of every winter without moving to remote exotic islands (make this my plan B).
Don’t: whine and dwine
Do: accept or change
Remember the serenity prayer?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Now you can be serene or brave because you can’t change the seasons. Of course, you can change the seasons by what we, humans, have been doing all along by contributing to the global warming – eating meat and burning fossile fuels – but that’s not the point. Winter is part of our reality, at least in those parts of the world that does have seasons. All you can do is either change your address or accept winters.
It’s really that simple. Stop whining.
Don’t contribute to the toxic culture of complaining that has developed from mere small talk fuss to a full blown social-media-fuelled, unproductive, unhealthy, vain and pointless wail.
And unless you’re a tree, move someplace warmer – or shut up.
For there is still something you can do.
Don’t: give up*
Do: practice immersion
* earworm courtesy of P. Gabriel and K. Bush
If you decide, for good reason, that you will accept winters (deep breath: serenity!), a whole new world awaits you. Seasons, where they do exist, have an innate beauty and wisdom to them.
Winter is Nature’s beauty sleep. Ironically, January is when the trade fair and expo season kicks off as well, so it’s not so easy to hibernate in Bali, Australia, Hawaii or the Caribbean. Although if your work allows for this, why not try and work from paradise? But I digress; beach party is our plan B, so:
The only way to enjoying winter is to embrace Winter Wisdom.
Dress adequately and take a walk in a snowy park. While not entirely eco-friendly, functional wear – garments, shoes, accessories, sunnies – is your best ticket to actually enjoying the elements.
If you, like me, think that functional clothes don’t look très fashionable, add winter-themed pins or brooches to your beanies, scarves and jackets.
Rings and necklaces might not be the best idea under layers and layers of knitwear, but why not wear sparkling snowflakes at a party?
Winter is also THE season for recluse lifestyle. No better opportunity to enjoy you-time, to take a nap, to read a book. Also, in winter, parties sound alluring, but in the end, they feel exhausting. So why not celebrate yourself before you celebrate someone or something else?
Personally, I feel so much better about winters since I really enjoy secluding myself. Lazy Sundays with pancake breakfasts, delicious tea or cacao in round mugs, binge-reading, binge-learning. So, so good! And speeaking of learning: learning new things is the best idea for long winter evenings anyway. Get ready to stun everyone with your fluent Japanese this Spring. 😉
BONUS KARMA POINTS? SURE! Support a local charity that helps homeless people actually survive the season. (Do you feel bad about your complaining now? Don’t. Just help and move on.)
Don’t: act the martyr
Do: nourish yourself
Winters used to be my sinusitis season. Year after year, severe inflammation would shoot me down for two to four weeks and haunt me well into Spring. Headaches, pain in the entire face, snot… Winters used to be my “depressive” season, too. It all changed with these steps (plus ditching stuff I’m allergic to) that seem supe easy in hindsight:
1. Get a balanced sleep routine.
I have several posts on how to develop healthy bedtime habits. And here’s a good one on why weekends are not workdays. Another sign of how popular sleep questions are: this post on mudras for healthy sleep is among the 2016 top ten.
2. Say no to junk food.
Resolve to resist the “flu season” by including more vitamins, more greens, more micronutrients and minerals from food into your diet. Natural (e.g. not synthetic) supplements, in particular vitamin D and B vitamins, are great. Alcohol and added sugar? No bueno.
3. Rethink hygiene.
An organic sanitiser should be handy in case of need; washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds will eliminate most germs (btw you don’t need to burn your hands – water temperature is not essential for germ elimination on your skin, it’s the time that the germs are in contact with soap); scarves should be exchanged regularly.
I also have learned by way of trial that, in social settings, 10 in 10 people are relieved when I suggest skipping shaking hands, let alone hugging, in the time of