Overhead lights are dead to me come this time of year. It's hard to perk up when it gets dark so, so early, and sharp lights can be harsh! Lamps, candles, string lights -- invest in them all and find the perfect amount of mood lighting that makes you feel cozy and not under a microscope.
2. Map out your activities
Do you ever get to the end of summer and realize there are, like, a hundred things you meant to do or places you meant to visit, and now it's too cold and too late? Let's not do that with winter! Just like you can only go swimming at the beach in the summer, there are some activities that are more, if not only, winter-appropriate. Jot down your list -- ice skating, dining in a trendy restaurant igloo, actually going to the museums you always say you will. You won't have any post-season FOMO and you'll always have a something to look forward to.
If spring is for cleaning, winter is for hunkering. You might be tempted to start some home improvement projects or clean out that back closet when you're spending more time inside -- and that's great! But if the idea of labor feels like a springtime thing, maybe turn to the opposite: holding tight to all the things. Buy that 12th throw blanket. More artwork for the gallery wall? You got it. Fill your home with things that make you happy and deal with the clean-out in a few months.
4. Light comfort meals
Too light of a meal and it won't feel indulgent; too comforting of a meal and you're stuffed silly, feeling gluttonous and immobile. That happy medium is what's going to keep you energized and, honestly, happy in the wintertime. Some ideas? Miso soup -- cozy, warm but airy. Strawberry shortcake -- decadent, but not too rich. A grilled cheese drizzled in hot honey -- yeah, you get it.
5. At-home date nights
How often do you and your partner treat home like the only place you'd ever want to be? And I don't mean because it has Netflix and a couch. Don't let your love life suffer because the weather isn't cooperating -- make home the newest trendy restaurant in town, the concert hall, the movie theater. Get creative and re-invest in quality time together, even if you can't get out of the house as often.
6. Ambient noise
I'm convinced that part of the dreariness of winter is that everything is so quiet. Everyone's keeping to themselves, no one's out walking, restaurant patios are closed up and the whole world can feel muted when there's a foot of snow on the ground. A silent world is a lonely one, so try to trick yourself into thinking your surroundings are positively buzzing. Play a new record while you're working from home or pop in those earbuds when you're at the grocery store. Make conversation with the receptionist at the dentist and sing songs to your dog. Create a soundtrack to your every day that adds energy and life.
7. Self-care and manifestation
Once we come down from the high of New Year's resolutions, we don't feel motivated to do much come wintertime. That's all good -- it's time for rest, for a damn break...but that doesn't mean you can't prepare yourself for when that motivation returns in full force. Pull up some new inspirational podcasts, or start an audiobook by a life coach you've heard a lot about. Heck, build a Pinterest board of all the cool sh*t you're going to do once spring comes around. You'll end up hyping yourself up to hit the ground running!
Sunlight is self-care -- in that I firmly believe. Sometimes in the dead of winter, we can go days without seeing the sun, and when it does come out, it's below freezing. No, we don't really want to brave frigid temperatures unless we have to, but I'm actually going to encourage it. On the often-rare occasions that the sun is shining, get outside. Bundle up in your favorite beanie and scarf and head out for a warm, fancy latte; put on the dog's booties and go for an extended walk. Even when it sounds better to stay inside cuddled in a blanket, a little sunshine on your face can kickstart a day like nothing else.