The beautiful sides of winter

Winter is a time for relaxing and getting together with family and friends. We want to share some reflections about this quiet time of the year with you.

Winter time

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home,” British poet Dame Edith Sitwell once said. In contrast, American actor Carl Reiner complained: “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” The way we view winter is up to us.
How do you feel about winter?

People typically either call themselves a “summer person” or a “winter person”. They either enjoy pastimes in the sun, at the beach or near the water or they favour activities in the snow, like downhill or cross-country skiing or a nice snowball fight. But why does it have to be a question of either summer or winter? Let’s enjoy the winter because of what it offers: time for intimate moments and quiet pleasures, for celebrating traditions and warming up over a nice cup of tea or a hot cocoa after coming in from the cold. Let’s consider how to enjoy the wintertime, with its beautified, snow-covered landscapes, its grey days which are suitable for snuggling, the scent of cinnamon and cookies and with the cold outside and the warmth inside.

Daylight – or the absence of it in the winter – affects our mood. That is why it is so important to expose the body to as much light as possible. Especially in the morning, light helps the body to shake off sleep and the lethargy that many people associate with winter blues.

Coming in from the cold

When did you last stand outside while it was snowing? When did you take the time to appreciate those lovely crystals which fall from the sky? Aristotle once said, “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold”. Put on a warm jacket and a second pair of socks and take a walk outside. There is only the sound of the snow crunching underfoot and snowflakes melt on your face while the world around you is quiet. Take a deep breath, feel the cold, feel the peace, feel like your true self. And make sure there’s a steaming cup of tea waiting when you get back inside.

Take good care of yourself when the temperature is low. Your skin is used to protecting the body from outside irritants. Some even call it the “third kidney”, because it releases toxins every day through sweating. During the winter it needs extra protection, though, as it quickly loses its moisture. As soon as your skin feels itchy or taut, apply a nourishing cream. Add a drop or two of face oil to your facial cream before you go outside. Your skin will be grateful. Many soaps have a dehydrating effect. Use a gentle cleanser instead. Also, think about humidifying your home! Heating tends to dry out the air, so install a humidifier or let your laundry dry on a rack in the living room.

Frequent footbaths can also prevent infections because they bring warmth to our bodies and stimulate the blood flow in the upper airways. Just fill a large bucket or bowl with warm water at about 36 °C until your calves are halfway covered. Then refill it every three minutes with hot water so that the final temperature reaches 41 °C. The footbath should last about 15 minutes. Afterwards, dry your feet thoroughly and put on thick socks to continue experiencing the positive effects of the warmth.

In addition, during the winter months, your body will need extra vitamins and minerals to weather cold weather and infections. Instead of supplements, a variety of well-prepared meals can supply these nutrients. Talk to your dietician to make sure it meets your unique needs. For example, consider winter squash, which is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre. Have a look at our recipe for pumpkin muffins with cinnamon, too (page 30). They are full of good ingredients, follow dietary restrictions and are simply scrumptious!

Time for dreaming and telling stories

The Christmas season is the time to give presents to the people we love. Why not give the gift of conversation and listening to each other this year? Laughing and singing together create precious memories, as does eating and relaxing together. Winter is the ideal season for taking out your playing cards or having fun around a board game. Why not read out loud to each other? Enjoy the cosy atmosphere when it’s cold outside and gather around an open fire or a hot beverage and tell wonderful tales from the past or from your imagination.

The winter offers us the opportunity to gather strength and find peace inside ourselves. Can you feel this strength? Winter gives us pause so that we can appreciate what we have. Isn’t it time to have a different view of winter?

Winter time