After the holiday rush ends, we’re left with the cold, dark of winter. Even in Texas, where things usually don’t get too cold, this time of year can be difficult. Being cooped up inside with bickering kids and grumpy spouses can make anyone get cabin fever. The cold winter months are enough to make even the most optimistic amongst us feel…well, dark and dreary.
Let me share with you my tips for beating the winter blues.
The Scandinavians have a saying that "there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." While there are definitely days that put this theory to the test, growing up in Colorado, I can attest to the wonder of quality winter clothing.
My mother was a single mother who raised me on a teacher’s salary, so quality was something that was not always easily acquired. Thankfully, it taught me some frugal tips that I can now happily share with everyone else!
Every winter we’d shop at the end of season sell for next year’s snow boots. We (if I’m permitted to mention a particular brand) were quite partial to Sorels. We’d also buy silk long underwear, often a size or two above what I actually needed. It bunches without compromising warming quality, and with careful care you can get several years of use out of them, even with rambunctious children. Coats were also stretched over multiple seasons.
Perhaps the best breakthrough we discovered when it came to keeping warm in the snow, was the rubbery coating that Burton and other snowboard brands put on the seat and knees of their snowboarding pants and the back of their jackets. It brilliantly keeps the snow from making the snowclothes wet, thus keeping them from getting cold. I’ve even seen this technology on gloves and mittens! Wool socks were also a necessity. Again, one good pair could last several years. In fact, my mom brought over a bag of my old snow clothes a while back and there were some wool socks in the bunch that had survived perfectly intact from 1994!
Armed with this heavy duty defense against the elements, you are ready to explore.
Nature walks are wonderful any time of the year, but in winter even the most basic suburban tree takes on a whole new dynamic. A small pocket drawing pad and a pencil are all you need to capture the dramatic arms of a sleeping tree or the crows that line them.
Also, as someone who is decidedly NOT gifted in drawing, I’ve found that this subject is a good one even for the most novice of artists. Even toddlers can sketch out a little line tree.
Some areas of the country are obviously a bit more magical than others. In Texas, what we have in fairly temperate weather, we make up for in grey skies and brown grass. Even here, though, there is magic if you look for it. Waterfalls and streams are a favorite winter nature spot for us. Without the thick summer vegetation, you can really see the contours in the cliffsides and riverbeds.
Of course, there are some days when getting outside is not possible, even with the best winter clothes. Sometimes the snow is up to the doornob or the roads are covered in ice. On those days, I like to get a hot cup of tea and sit by my window and sketch whatever happens by. I live in a community that is more asphalt than forest, so often the only thing I may see is a lone bird or a neighborhood cat, but looking out onto the outside world seems to help me feel a bit less cooped up inside. Even dead leaves can make an interesting subject!
If, however, you feel like your feelings are leaning more towards depression than simple cabin fever, then reach out to a trusted professional.
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