While we are blessed to have short, mild winters in Johannesburg, I still often feel miserable in winter. The air is dry, the grass is brown and the mornings are dark and chilly. A lot of people have complained to me that they feel tired and generally unhappy and while it may well be related to winter, it could also be a mid year tiredness. Wow, we’ve made it halfway through the year but we still have months ahead of us.
(By the way, if you’re reading this and it’s summer where you are and you feel really happy and energised, that’s great! Please store this for later in the year when it applies to you).
Our instinct in winter is to do things that are not necessarily good for us. Hibernating and eating the wrong things. Yes, there is definitely a time and place for cuddling under a duvet with a steaming mug of hot chocolate in your hand but is probably not going to energise you. Save all the rich, sugary treats for the weekend when you can enjoy it more and use it as a reward for yourself for a week well done.
Here are some of my ideas for feeling better and more motivated and energetic in winter:
– increase your vitamin intake by getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
– always drink a glass of water before you reach for that cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate.
– use invigorating oils like grapefruit or lemon in the morning to get you going.
– try to exercise more (I know, I know you don’t really want to but those feel good endorphins will kick in and you will feel great!)
– start a gratitude journal so that you can focus on all that is good rather than on all that feels bad.
– when you feel like hibernating under a blanket, remember that many people are not in the position to do that. So volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate a blanket, start knitting some cosy woollen items. You will feel good and so will they.
– cuddle with somebody that you love before you rush off to go your separate ways (you’ll both feel good about it and hugs keep you warm)
– before you rush off into the dark morning, take a moment to take a deep breath, watch your breath steam out and wonder at the marvel of winter
– and my ultimate winter happiness is baking (yes, I know I just spoke about not overdoing the sugar). Baking is a very tactile thing and I find that making scones is very soothing. And eating warm scones with dollops of jam is even more soothing! The softness of the flour when you rub the butter in, the release of tension when you’re kneading the dough…
Best scone recipe:
2½ cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Good pinch of salt
¾ cup milk
½ cup water
Heat oven to 220°C
Sift flour and add sugar and salt into a bowl
Rub the butter in with your fingers
Stir in the milk, and then add water until your mixture is a nice, soft dough
Knead the dough until it is smooth and then press it down to about a 2cm thickness
Using a circle cutter, or a glass, cut into rounds.
Keep kneading and pressing the dough until you have used it all up.
Place your scones on a prepared pan and bake for about 15 minutes.