6 Tips to Survive the end stretch of Winter
I still can't believe it's almost the end of February! And I don't know about where you are, but the weather here in Southwestern Ontario has been bizarre. It's been mild and then miserable, and we had at least four weekends in a row with weather advisories and messy storm systems. So needless to say, it's been more difficult to get out and find enjoyment in the season. And to make matters worse the temperature flip flop is great for spreading our winter colds and flu bugs (and we aren't even talking about coronavirus).
So what can we do to survive the final stretch of winter while feeling cozy, healthy, and happy? I've put together some tips that may help you make it to Spring. We are so close!
1. Decorate: With Indoor Plants
Studies have shown there are so many therapeutic benefits to indoor plants. They can boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity. They reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds. They clean the air by absorbing toxins, increasing the humidity and producing oxygen. Not to mention it doesn't hurt that the extra bit of greenery will add life to any room!
The trip alone to a year round garden centre is good for the body and soul. It is full of leaf and flower life for the senses, and reminds us that Spring and new beginnings are coming.
2. Light a Scented Candle
Having a scented candle flickering away can promote relaxation, reduces both anxiety and stress and can help induce quality sleep. There is something about the flame that instantly puts me at peace, just like a real wood fire. They add an instant ambiance to any room, and especially at this time of year gives that extra boost of light and smell. Look for a candle with pure essential oils and botanicals for natural scents. Non-toxic candles are made with healthier waxes like soy, coconut, rice and beeswax so no toxins are released while burning and the air is clean allowing the fragrances to circulate throughout the room.
We just finished up our Voluspa candle in the yummiest but not overpowering Bourbon Vanille scent. I bought mine at a great little local-ish shop in downtown Paris called Piper & Oak (along with the other awesome goodies in the pic below). I've also seen the candles at another local shop Candela & Co (who are just finishing up a shop remodel and I'm excited to see what they have done!). I'm trying to shop local more, but if you are not local to me I know they also have a selection at Indigo.
TRAVEL TIP: Always have a smaller scented candle with a firm lid on hand. This smaller Voluspa candle has been perfect to pack and bring on several overnight and weekend trips. What better way to step up the ambiance of a standard hotel room or even the cutest Airbnb with a scented candle!
3. Find Local Activities
If the weather is questionable for outdoor winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing or a hike, try to find some other local activities to do. There can be some amazing options for local concerts, off-season amateur theatre, and wine tastings. I recently heard from our local wine tour owners of Ride the Bine who commented that the off-season can be a great time to get out and visit wineries. You may not be able to walk the grounds and see the grapes on the vines, but you can often get a more personal and behind-the-scenes experience than you may get during the busy season. And lots of restaurants and breweries host comedy, trivia and music nights, which is a great way to break up the monotony of the cold winter evenings.
For my local readers, there is a great online resource, Culture Rodeo, for music, food, art and all things culture for Norfolk, Brant and Hamilton all in one spot. And the lovely real estate brokerage Mummery & Co in Port Dover have dedicated part of their website management to becoming a resource for local events and activities here.
4. Music. Crank Those Tunes!
It only takes 15 minutes of listening to your favourite tunes to get a natural high. Your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that leads to increased feelings of happiness and joy when you listen to music you like. It also decreases levels of the hormone cortisol that counteracts the effects of chronic stress. And since stress can be a factor in illness and disease, lowering stress helps with your overall well-being.
I know some people that create playlists of happy and upbeat music to conquer the winter blues. You can play their favourite summer songs that remind you of the warm sunny days, mentally taking you to the poolside or beach.
5. Plan a Trip
If you are lucky enough to be able to book a vacation away, whether somewhere warm and tropical to get away from the last hurrah of Winter or elsewhere, the actual research and planning of a trip has great benefits for our soul. It gives you something exciting to look forward to, and studies have shown that the anticipation can be a powerful positive emotion that can help us live happier lives.
If a beach trip down South isn't in the cards right now, you can still use this concept. You can plan a weekend getaway to a ski resort or an Airbnb for some winter cottage relaxation. Or you can start researching and planning Summer vacations or camping trips. And to look at something more budget friendly in the interim, plan ahead or organize a last minute day trip.
We just did the latter, and recently took the boys to The Butterfly Conservatory an hour away. We enjoyed the atrium of tropical plants and flowers, beautiful butterflies and birds, a waterfall and pond full of koi and a couple of turtles, cool insects, and even a few quail. Afterwards we went to one of our favourite shawarma places - for yummy shawarma of course! It was a great family weekend outing!
Here's a video showing the butterflies flying all around. It was pretty cool!
The pond with one of the turtles! And you can spy my oldest son and budding nature photographer in the red shirt at the top :)
These beautiful butterflies have blue wings when open, and I love bromeliads too.
6. Update and Cozy Up Your Bedding!
If you haven't already cozied up your bed for the Winter, there is still time and a need. Flannel sheets are perfect for this weather and helps prevent your bed from feeling like an icy lake when you're getting into it at night. It's like a warm cuddle and there are so many options out there. Buffalo check (as you see in the pic) and plaids are great for adding that cozy pattern. Solids are perfect for the in between seasons and gives a subtler look. And likely at this time of year you can probably get some flannel sheet sets on sale!
Adding layers and textures are essential to a bed that looks good and makes you want to get a good nights sleep in. Whether you use a duvet or blankets and coverlets, just layer and play with how you set it up. Now is a good time to update your bedding with a nice coverlet/quilt. It can be layered with a duvet now, and then be the main cover once the warmer weather hits.
We find it too warm for duvets, with a hubby who runs warm and me now in my mid 40s lol, and I use flannel sheets, a quilted coverlet, and then add a cozy knit or fleece blanket at the foot of the bed, and a decorative blanket on top. The pillows are layered with decorative cushions in either knit as shown or velvet for the winter.
So just layer all of the flannel, fleece, knits and velvets, with quilted coverlets, duvets and cozy blankets. Don't those textures and fabrics just make you want to stay in bed until Spring actually arrives? If only...
So while we wait that last bit longer for the snow to melt, Spring to arrive and the flowers to start blooming I hope these tips and resources help you get through the last stretch of Winter.
And I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you already do all of these things? Are there ones that I may have not talked about? Which one is your go to?
Also please let me know if there are topics that you would love me to write about. Whether questions about Interior Design, family, food, travel, or whatever, I would love to know!
Your Designer, and Modern Boho Mom,