Delight the senses this winter

Here in the Southern hemisphere we are heading into winter.

For some of us that means no real change: more hot, and maybe just less rain (hello people in the tropics!). For those of us in Australia however, especially those living along the South and East coasts we find the days shortening, rain coming and the sky pulling on that winter shawl that Europe does very well in Winter but we emulate as best we can.

And winter can mean drab.

Winter can mean black and grey as far as the eye can see.

It can mean struggling with rain and damp shoes and wet cuffs and inside out umbrellas during torrential rain.

Winter in Sydney can be that special brand of denial – pretending it’s not arriving and clinging defiantly to our lightweight summer clothes as long as we can and standing at bus stops feeling like the wind is an ice sliver stabbing you in the eye.

And all that.

So what will you do to warm the cockles of your heart when the temperature drops and going out seems a pain and getting around feels wet and cold and miserable?

Here are 10 fresh ways to add zest and colour to your winter days:

  1. Wear a colour you don’t normally wear and find a way to love it. I am embracing both brown and maroon (so so so not my normal colours) and having fun with it too.
  2. Dress to a theme that only you know about! I don’t mean fancy dress, unless you want to really create a stir at the supermarket, I mean a little nod to some fashion or theme that makes you smile. A marquisette brooch and a curled fringe for 1940’s understated glamour, lippy and a fluffy wrap for sexy 60’s starlet, a particularly nice tie pin or vintage bag for suave dapper gent, or maybe a dash of steampunk, 70’s newsreader or holiday maker from the Riveriera. Whatever makes you smile and you can discretely pop into your 9-5.
  3. Wear the brightest, funkiest underwear or socks you have.  For no reason, wear the ‘good stuff’.
  4. Pop with colour on the inside and give your tastebuds a treat as well – eat your greens, your blues, your yellows, reds and oranges. Try sizzling hot spices and warm yourself inside out. Time for a curry? A hotpot? Warm soup?
  5. Get a throw or some cushions that feel soft and cuddly, velvety and comforting. Get a snuggly scarf or splurge on some warm and silky tights. If you don’t want to buy more stuff just swap with a friend to get a fresh look. I’m serious; the sharing economy!
  6. Use fire to light up your inner flame – candles at the dinner table or tea lights in the bath room while you enjoy your hot bath (used safely! Never unattended, seriously, someone I know just had their house burn down because they forgot to blow one out.) If candles aren’t your bag what about solar powered fairy lights for the garden or some warm looking lamps indoors?
  7. People can be more isolated in winter. If you crave closeness or touch why not try a dance class or get an aromatherapy massage. If social contact of any kind is something you crave you could find a way to volunteer that creates contact with people or animals in a way that you find nourishing – visiting the elderly, reading for the sight impaired, walking dogs for a shelter, etc.
  8. Use smell to beat that icy cold blankness of winter – try an oil burner with lemongrass, yang yang, up notes of citrus (bergamot and limeade both favourites of mine), or sandalwood.
  9. If you feel bleak or melancholy try writing about it, or even look up some poems about the seasons to discover that people through the ages have been affected by and observant of the changes in the seasons. Document the sensations, the feelings of winter.
  10. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em – in nature winter is about rest and rejuvenation. The soil is conditioned by the fallen leaves, plants look bare while the work happens under the surface to build new buds and growth for spring. Embrace the cold and bare time to go deeper and process the year that’s been. What work can you be doing under the surface to help some new growth appear in spring? Maybe this is a time for rest and consolidation. Go with it!

Sometimes self care means delighting the senses, honouring how we feel and creating a sense of delight for ourselves.