I love having the four seasons to mark the passing of the year, to give variety in the weather and in my daily tasks. Each season brings its own joys and challenges, much like life itself. I have heard that there is a high rate of depression in the winter months, and I can understand why. The days are short, and most are cold, cloudy and gloomy. When I look out the windows, all I see is brown and gray. There are some things that I do to make the most of them and lift my spirits, so here are 5 easy ways to brighten winter days.
1. Counting My Winter Blessings
Focusing on the positive always helps to make things more pleasant. Some winter blessings are because of what it doesn’t have: snakes, ticks, and chiggers. I can go walking around the farm or in the woods with little regard to any of them.
In winter with the leaves off the trees we have a better view. From our windows we can see the valley and our farm down below. When driving through the country we can see things that are usually hidden such as homes or geographic features. When it snows, it highlights the lay of the land and we’re able to see the creeks, ravines, and bluffs.
No matter what winter brings, I have a warm home, plenty to eat, and a wonderful husband. What more could I want?!
2. Enjoying Nature
When we do have pretty sunny days, I try to get outside to absorb the sun and allow my body to replenish its Vitamin D. Deep breaths fill my lungs with the cool fresh air and that makes me feel good, too. By taking a walk, I get some exercise, releasing endorphins that make me feel happier and healthier at the same time. If I’m alone I sing and talk to God.
A real treat is when we’ve had a beautiful snow followed by some calm and sunny days. Once I’m bundled up they really don’t feel that bad, and it’s awe-inspiring to walk through pristine snow in our quiet countryside. Our rocky hillsides have a lot of springs that you don’t realize are there until crystal icicles form along the bluffs.
On cold dreary days I prefer to stay inside. I love scented candles and burning them fills the house with a nice scent. It puts me in a nesting mood so that housekeeping is more enjoyable. Right now I’m still using a pine scent for winter, but soon I’ll switch to a spring flower scent. I get so excited about spring and the flowers coming up, and I can hurry it up a little that way.
Baking and cooking warm up the house and I get to use the foods that I spent so much time growing, harvesting, and preserving earlier in the year. Being able to take those fruits and vegetables out of the freezer, and season them with my own herbs, brings a taste of summer to every meal.
I also love baking bread. Who doesn’t love that aroma?!
I have a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and I love it! I still haven’t tried all of the recipes because I like the basic “Boule” recipe so much. I can take out a little bit of dough, shape it like a bun or hoagie and have bread fresh from the oven. It really kicks up an ordinary sandwich or bowl of soup! Scott and I enjoy having some simple suppers by the fire together in the evenings.
God gives rest to the plants and animals that hibernate through winter. I take advantage of this slower season by giving myself some rest, too. I refresh myself by reading, writing, and pursuing new interests.
5. Spring Dreaming
Just a few days ago I got out my seeds, took inventory, and made a list of the varieties I need to order.
Then I study my Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog, and choose a few new things to try.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn
I’m also making a list of gardening chores that I’ll want to start on soon. Among the first will be cleaning out my garden beds.
The fruit trees’ buds are swelling so I’m beginning to think towards spring and wonder if the pear trees will blossom for the first time, and if the Blue Jays will get all of the cherries. (Or will we get a late freeze and not have much fruit at all?)
I wish I enjoyed winter as much as Libby does. I think it’s her favorite season. Winter has its own charms, though, so I try to focus on those while I await the first signs of spring. If winter gets you down, try some of the things that help me. I hope they’ll help you, too!
More Winter Reading
Angela just recently started blogging from her farm in north Kansas. In “My New Winter Attire,” she talks about the importance of having the proper winter gear.
Kathi writes about the difficulties she faced at her homestead in central Oklahoma after a big snowfall in “The Big Snow.”
Deb takes you for a walk around her homestead in Southern Manitoba, Canada, in her post, “First Snowfall.”
Michelle V. lives in an 1800s farmhouse in New England. She writes about the first big snow on their new homestead in 3 Lessons I Learned in My First Winter as a Homesteader.