The world seems to be divided into people who feel the cold and those who don’t.
Unfortunately, on this score, I am nearly always cold. And while I love the town I grew up in, Melbourne, it has undeniably always had a cold winter, with this year’s being no exception.
So, effectively, I get into survival mode after about June. Originally happy that climate change still allows Melbourne to have proper winters…I am now freezing and wondering how much more of this I can endure.
Alas, yes…it has now turned me into survival mode.
But rather than make myself miserable about it (and there are several things I could list here and won’t) there are things to enjoy about it too. So here, in no certain order, is a list of wonderful to actually delight in this winter.
1. The introverted world – or learning to hibernate
This can be learning to meditate, yoga, journal writing or just sleeping-in extra (because your body demands it) but it’s all part of restoring your inner world. And this mental reflection is good for you. Building some self-reflection or mindfulness, through a bit more rest, especially for time-poor or stressed people is a good thing, and will leave you in a better state and more ready for life in general. New pyjamas or slippers optional.
2. Hot chocolate, coffee, tea (or any hot drink of your choosing)
Nothing warms hands like a hot mug, and a hot drink for someone cold and who suffers from the cold is almost like a hug. Hot chocolate is good, but so is coffee, tea, chai, matcha latte or even miso, and a bit of natural sugar (or even a biscuit) won’t do you any harm either.
3. Winter clothes
Don’t hate rugging up - love it! Rule number one for winter is: "But why stop there?" when one needs warmer socks, thermals, (Rule Number Two is: for daily use) and for goodness sake, have a (this is Rule Number Three) and good gloves (aka Rule Number four). And don’t even get me started on the (aka Rule Number five). Enough said.
4. The reflective hobby
It can be jigsaw puzzling, brewing, knitting, sewing, colouring in, gardening, jam-making, collecting, reading etc. but having a hobby one can do indoors and enjoy oneself for days on end, is a good thing. Your hobby can even be financially rewarding or become a business but it should be a passion. And if you haven’t found it – you should! There’s nothing more rewarding than looking or appreciating your own work and seeing a job well done.
5. Eating winter food
Melbourne is full of foodies and any true foodie loves winter - just for the food. Also known as comfort food, winter food brings the love of stodge, revelling in thick soups, risotto (see our risotto-making class related story!), potatoes, gnocchi, lasagna, pho, curry, ramen, etc. Melbourne also has a wealth of winter desserts on offer, so learn to make one or go out to try some of the season’s best on offer!
6. Red wine (or your winter beverage)
Nothing could be more well-suited to eating heavier winter food than drinking a glass of red wine. Undeniably, though today this could be a mulled wine, hot toddy, cocktail or any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink on offer. Please note however – red wine it has been found, only warms you up temporarily, actually lowering the core body temperature (disappointing news, really) but it will nonetheless suit the heavier style of food around this time of year.
7. A hot bath (or shower)
As someone who lived in New Zealand, (and in the South Island) for a few years knows, when you are cold all day long – you start to dream about having a hot bath/shower - so why not have one more often? Baths are great for sore muscles, aches and pains or just great for making you more comfy. If you are feeling really stressed go for a floatation tank session or spa day visit. Activities that relax you or re-invigorate are needed in winter and are essential to stay in good humour.
8. Game of Thrones (and television addiction)
This is the less wholesome end of the winter survival guide and while I don’t endorse too much television watching, any series that either encourages you to read the original novels, is intelligently made or is even mildly thought-provoking is a good thing. I like GoT but unlike many, can take it or leave it. However, getting a sore neck or watching anything more than five hours at a time is bad for you, and there’s research to prove it.
9. Shake off the winter blues
Ultimately appreciating that winter is actually quite beautiful, right down to the white grass in the morning, frosted windscreen, rare snow and dogs in jackets on the street, is another acknowledgement that winter will pass and soon we’ll be complaining about the heat in summer.
I just have to remember that when I struggle to get out of bed at the moment. And there’s only July and August till it’s over. Amen.