The seasonal change at this time of year brings colder, wetter weather and shorter, darker days. And this change doesn’t just affect the environment around us; it can affect our mood, our energy levels, and our motivation. Feelings of fatigue and gloominess are not what we want for our winter wellbeing, that’s for sure.
Just as the animal kingdom prepares to go into hibernation during the cold season, us humans seek refuge in our homes too. By creating some simple hygge based rituals at home, it can help to shake off that bad mood and improve our winter wellbeing, whilst embracing everything there is to love about this magical time of year.
We’ve got one word for you… Christmas!
OK, OK, so some of you may think it’s too early to mention the ‘C’ word just yet, but humour me because there’s a lot to be said about digging out a bit of seasonal decor to help lift your spirits and lighten your mood.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking inflatable Santa, snowflake projector and full-on tinsel overload, that really would be premature. However, adorning your interiors with sparkly Christmas lights so that your home quite literally has the winter glow up it needs, does wonders for warming up the soul. Battery powered fairy lights are a great addition to a fireplace or mantlepiece. You can decorate them with pinecones and foliage – extra hygge points if you’ve been out on a winter walk and foraged these yourself!
And with any leftover woodland foliage how about having a go at making a few different sized wreaths to hang on your walls and doors, which you can also adorn with fairy lights to create a cosy glow in the evenings. Talking of which…
Summer’s nice and all, but there’s something so special about cosying up in the winter, right? There’s no getting away from the fact that this winter is going to be hard for us all. The energy crisis means our heating bills have skyrocketed and the heat or eat debate is a massive deal for many of us. Which is why cosying up is more important than ever and there are ways to do this without having to rely solely on the gas central heating.
Keeping warm, even when you’re indoors, is all about getting clever with layers. I know we all joke about how dad always says ‘put on another jumper’ rather than turning up the heating, but if you wanna save a few pennies this year he’s got a good point. Wool is a great natural material for keeping you warm, so dig out those knitted jumpers, thick cashmere socks, and chunky knit cardies and prepare to get layered up.
Shared bodily warmth is probably the best feel good heating system you can have. Make yourself and the family a hot drink, pile onto the sofa, snuggle up under the biggest, woolliest blanket you can possibly find, and get hugging hygge stylee.
Light The Candles
I love a candle in the winter. There’s just something so peaceful and calming about watching the flicker of candlight of an evening. It invites you to take a moment to pause and take stock if you like, perfect for your winter wellbeing. And there are some absolute beauts of a candle out there. From posh designer ones, to scented colourful ones, you can even get battery operated candles these days.
See those candles below… they are battery operated… I know, good right!?! As much as I adore candles, with teenagers and a dog in the house I am constantly on high alert to make sure there isn’t any swishing hair or waggy tails getting too close. My daughter has also recently asked if she can have candles in her room, to which I replied with a very quick ‘NO!’. Can you imagine the fire risk with all that hairspray and TikTok dancing going on, it doesn’t bear thinking about! These candles do away with any fire risk, and yet they look and feel exactly like a normal candle, right down to the realistic flickering flame. They can even be set to timer mode so they switch themselves off after a while, which again is perfect for kids who are forever forgetting to switch things off – you can tell I’ve got beef, right?
Fur ultimate winter wellbeing, turn your mains lights down low and fill your evenings with warming candlelight and twinkling fairy lights for those cosy hygge vibes.
Create Food & Drink Stations
When the temperature drops and the nights draw in, many of us find ourselves craving hearty, warming food like casseroles, soups and good old comfort food like sausages and mash, to help warm our bellies and feed our souls. We want food that reminds us of our childhood, that nurtures us, and that makes us feel good.
If you’re anything like me, it gets to November and you start squirreling away a few foodie bits for Christmas, popping a few items on the weekly shop to help budget it out a little bit. The thing I’ve noticed however, is that when I do that, I become so obsessed with making sure people (a.k.a. my kids) don’t raid the ‘Christmas’ cupboard, that come actual Christmas there’s so much in there we’re struggling to get through it all. And the reality is, that the lead up to Christmas; all the excitement and anticipation, the parties and get togethers etc., that’s the best bit, right? That’s the time when food and drink comes into its element. So, this year I’ve made a pledge, to firstly not buy so much and secondly to start enjoying all the festive food a lot earlier.
And one way I’m planning on doing that is by setting up a couple of food and drink stations in the kitchen. Hop onto Pinterest and search for hot chocolate stations and wave goodbye to hours of your life, because winter drinks just got interesting. Decant your favourite hot chocolate powder into a glass jar, and place on a tray along with jars filled with marshmallows and flaked chocolate, bottles of flavoured syrups, candy canes and hot chocolate stirrers, and some mugs and spoons. Decorate with fairy lights, because you can never have too many, pinecones, and glitter and leave it in the kitchen, ideally by the kettle, for everyone to enjoy. The bonus is that by leaving it out, you’ll no longer be the one expected to make it, people can help themselves whenever they feel like it – although obviously make sure kids are supervised around the kettle.
Likewise, with a food station, let your creativity run wild, here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Popcorn station – Fill a glass jar with plain popcorn and place on a tray with small shakers filled with salt, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Remember to include popcorn bags so that they can give them a good shake once they’ve chosen their flavour.
- Fruit & Nut station – There are tonnes of different nuts available at this time of year and my faves are what I like to call cracking nuts – the ones you need to use nutcrackers on. Fill a shallow bowl with cracking nuts and surround with labelled jars of dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, banana chips, chocolate chips, and crystallized ginger.
- Pick and Mix station – Oh come on, I couldn’t forget about the pick and mix! Fill see through containers with all your favourite traditional Christmas treats – chocolate coins, truffles, peppermint creams, candy canes, chocolate covered pretzels, and fudge. And if you’re really feeling it, why not have a go at making your own homemade versions for optimum winter wellbeing.
Out With The Old In With The New
The environment we live in can have a huge impact on our wellbeing and our homes should be the one place we feel safe and comfortable. However, when we accumulate too much stuff and our house becomes cluttered, it can make us feel as though the walls are quite literally closing in on us, which is super stressful.
Ahead of Christmas, before all the decorations are out, I like to have a big sort out and declutter. It’s become a bit of a ritual for me and is definitely good for my wellbeing. I start by sorting through the Christmas decorations, getting rid of anything that’s broken or looking past it’s best, and working out which one’s I’m going to use that year. I then move onto the kitchen cupboards as I want them to be organised before I crack on with any Christmas baking. There’s always some out of date spices lurking at the back of the cupboard, or bags of flour that have exploded everywhere that I can decant into containers. Not only does this sort out make me feel much more in control, but as sad as it sounds it makes me smile every time I open the cupboard and there’s no longer culinary chaos going on in there.
Whack on some festive tunes, switch on the fairy lights, get some hot chocolate on the go, and rope the rest of the family in to help you and you’ll have your home ready for Christmas in no time.
Winter needn’t be all gloom and doom, you just need to embrace it for what it is and take advantage of every single one of these glorious hygge rituals. Have a go and let me know how you get on.
*Products gifted from lights4fun
Do you have any winter rituals?
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Becky Stafferton is a full time content creator and web publisher. She continually strives to promote a realistic, sustainable and positive image of how to lead a healthy life. When she’s not writing or reading her teenage diary she can be found swigging Prosecco from the bottle, running through muddy puddles, making lists of lists, having a good old moan, scoffing flapjacks and squatting like her life depends on it.