This is about the time of year I enter hibernation mode. As an introvert, I like the way winter slows everything down. It’s the ebb and flow of the year. I may get sick of it all when March rolls around with another snowstorm, but it’s not all bad. Hibernation is my bright side.
The world naturally gets a little quieter and even the snow muffles things. It’s a time for settling in and waiting for warmer days. This is my list of simple things that help me switch the indoors from confining to cozy. Nothing is too fancy, and the important thing to remember is that these are meant to be used, not saved. Burn the candles, drink the tea, watch the show. Remember to care for yourself and your loved ones with the things you have at hand. If you get caught in the trap of saving things for someday, you’ll find you don’t need them in summer time, and the stuff you stockpiled didn’t serve you when you could have used a bit of comforting.
- Candles. Light them every night if you have to. There’s nothing like the flickering warmth and toasty scent to welcome the dark evenings. I like Pottery Barn’s unscented or flameless candles because their 4 inches thick and look more weighty on my mantle. Then I add in one scented candle, like PF Candle Co. Amber + Moss (our all-time favorite), Capri Blue candle, Paddywax Tobacco and Patchouli, or Mrs. Meyer’s Iowa Pine (the crispest wintery pine scent).
- Tea. I am a coffee-lover all the way. But there’s something about winter that makes me want a warm drink in the late afternoon or at night. So, I like to stock one box of my favorite winter tea – Harney & Sons decaf hot cinnamon tea. It’s only about $6, but the tin box, the spicy smell, the warm drink feel like a luxury. It’s not necessary, but I like to add a splash of cream too.
- Chunky Sweater. Every morning I pull on my Everlane Chunky Knit Cardigan over my pajamas. It is like wearing a hefty, insulating blanket and lessens the dread of getting out of my snuggly bed. You can see my cardigan in this old outfit post. Some people had issues with pilling (mine hasn’t been bad, and I’ve de-pilled it once with this tool). You can also check out Everlane’s updated chunky wool cardigan, with less pilling issues promised and no collar. Or try Grana’s ribbed merino cardigan in navy. I have the crewneck version, and love it.
- Good Books. Instead of scrolling, I’m trying to wind down with a good book more often. The trick though, is having a good book close at hand to grab, because otherwise the default is your phone. So here are some of memorable novels I’ve loved in recent years to get you started: What Alice Forgot, The Rosie Project, All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, Along the Infinite Sea, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Garlic and Sapphires, The Knockoff, The Lunar Chronicles, and Attachments.
- Blankets. As soon as fall rolls around, I pull out our blankets from a drawer and drape them on just about every chair around our house. We own this super-soft one, but this dash stitch blanket is great too. For gorgeous throws, I’d check out Anthropologie – like this one and this one. They’re stunners. For a more modern blanket, I love this buffalo check wool blanket. It’s on my wish list for someday.
- Wool socks. After years about hearing my brothers and husbands rave about wool socks, I’m finally on board. My mom added some cute Smartwool socks to my stocking this year, and they are amazing. So toasty warm. I also just bought these no-show wool socks to wear with ankle boots and these for all the days in between.
- Netflix Shows. Zach and I dropped cable a few years ago and simply use Apple TV to stream shows. Usually we watch something together, but since he’s in the middle of tax season, he is working late almost every night. So, I get to pick my own show for a few months. I’m missing Downton Abbey this year, but I saved up season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy to watch (can’t believe it’s been 12 years!). We also watched Sherlock together this month on our date night at home. It’s nice to get caught up in a story and have a show to look forward to at the end of the day.
- Flannel. I basically want to wrap myself in flannel all winter. We use flannel sheets. Zach and I both wear flannel shirts, and please don’t forget about flannel pajamas. It’s just the softest, coziest fabric ever.
- Yoga. Being active and having a membership at the Y, is my secret weapon against any winter blues. I’ve had some dark winters with post partum blues in the last couple of years. Exercising in a way that relaxes and strengthens my body helps relieve tension and lifts my spirits which is a win, when the majority of the parenting is on my shoulders during Zach’s busy season. Now, if I could just find a hot yoga class at the Y…
For the Kids
I’ll be honest, there’s some dread associated with winter now, because the kids are trapped inside all day. With three little ones – 4, 3, and 1 – it’s really hard physical work to get out the door with all the hats, mittens, coats, and buckles to be wrangled. Last year, with a newborn, we truly hibernated for like six out of seven days of the week. This year is a little better, but there are still quite a few days when we stay home. I’ve found the kids do play pretty well, once they get used to the idea of staying indoors and getting creative with their toys.
I also like to keep a little list of indoor places we can go when we need to get out – Chick Fil A, the Children’s Museum, the Mall, the Y, etc. We also have to adjust to cleaning up more messes indoors because it’s truly their playground, unlike days when we can get lots of energy out at a park. Here are a couple things to help out the kids…
- Sleep Sack. We’ve used the DeeDee sleep nest every night for all three of our kids. I think we’ve bought 3 now, and they’re well worth the price. Since we live in older homes, it can get a bit drafty and chilly at night, and this is basically a safe down comforter until they are big enough for a bed. It makes them super cozy.
- Crafts. This Christmas both kids got lots of little crafting supplies, which they’ve been using every day since then. They spread out across the whole dining table and get to work. Here are a few of our favorites: Reusable Sticker Pads, Coloring Pad + Sticker Collection, Twistable Colored Pencils, Fine Tip Markers, and a Pre-K Workbook.
- Trampoline. Thankfully our basement is an area the kids can go when they need to get some energy out. A trampoline (we have this one and like it, but I’d also recommend this foldable one) and slide have been lifesavers on days we can’t get outdoors.
I’d love to hear if you have any ideas for making winter cozy instead of confining. When I’m starting to get really down, I might buy a little pot of hyacinths to cheer me up. I associate their smell with spring, and you can plant the bulbs in your garden after they bloom. Of course, there’s always soup and homemade bread to cheer you up too!
top image via laurenconrad.com