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A recent Montana newspaper article on the opinion page encouraged readers to be like the citizens of Finland and look at the long dark days of winter with a “positive winter mindset.” Apparently the Finn’s view of those long, cold snowy days, when sunlight has disappeared for hours on end, as a time to feel the coziness of home that cultivates contentment, happiness, and togetherness.
I don’t know about you, but I, and many others who live in the north, would find this Finnish coziness great for maybe a week.
We are now a good three months into winter weather, and it is getting tedious and tiresome. We best take the crux of that Finnish viewpoint further, to explore how we employ that positive winter mindset. Here are six, small daily habits to help make the rest of winter palatable.
Bring out The Wardrobe you enjoy
I love wool socks. In winter I don wool socks that come up above my ankles. The socks are soft, colorful, and warm, keeping my feet especially cozy from the cold.
Years ago when I moved to the north where it gets really cold, a new friend advised me to enjoy the winter by having several coats, for added variety in winter wear. She was right, and I have been collecting coats ever since (just ask my husband!). To accompany those coats, I have found inexpensive, washable, bright-colored gloves at the box stores, so I have an affordable pair for every coat. I keep the gloves in their corresponding coat pockets, and I never have to hunt for or steal a pair from another coat. Were I to lose a glove, a replacement isn’t expensive.
My grandson loves to ski. He can’t wait for snow. When he comes in from skiing, his face is animated as he describes what kind of snow he skied in (yes, there are different kinds of snow from icy to powdery). Following his lead, I try to get outside almost every day.
My husband has a saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable apparel.” So I dress appropriately with my various coats. I also try to follow the title of the book, Never Let the Weather Interfere, when I am preparing for an outside activity.
Enjoy Comfort Food
Steaming food is as important as apparel for enjoying those gray winter days. I cook differently when the windows slam shut and the furnace comes on. Soup for the evening meal in the winter is a soothing way to end a busy day. To have a healthy soup simmering on the back burner of the stove and sending out inviting aromas invokes that Finnish contentment, especially for those coming in out of the cold.
Soup is always more flavorful the second day. Maybe that’s because it’s already prepared. What is your comfort food for the long dark days of winter?
Communicate via telephone, media, or, best of all, with a letter. When I see a letter in the mail, amidst all the advertisements and catalogs, I’m ecstatic. I understand I have to write a letter to receive one, so winter is a great time to sit down and wright some letters.
Plan At Least One Short Trip
A person needs at least a short trip toward the end of winter to look forward to. We often go to a hot springs resort, stay all night in the motel, and swim in the pool. It is invigorating to go into the outside pool because of the contrast of temperatures. But that may not be your preference for a short trip, so be creative in planning.
Have a Time- and Thought-Consuming Project
Every winter I plan a project that will take days to complete. One year I cleaned the storage areas of the dark corners of our basement. Another time I organized our financial records and sorted out what needed to be shredded.
This year I’m going to put up a card table and sort out photographs that have been lying around here and there. I plan to organize them into books. Once you get into a project like this, it becomes thought consuming, and those winter days will zoom past.
There’s more to winter contentment than sitting by the window and saying, “Let it snow.” The ultimate goal for creating a positive mindset for the long dark days of winter is to wake up every morning and look forward to what you have planned for the day. MSN