How I Survive the Winter

Let me start by saying: not. easily.

Not to be a gloomy-guts but winter has been a struggle for me forever. I become unmotivated, depressed, reclusive and anxious. I don't want to do anything but the act of doing nothing turns me into a vacuum of stress and overwhelm. And I know I'm not the only one that feels this way when the temperature dips and the days become dark.

Though I've never been officially diagnosed, I would confidently say that I experience S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) every winter, the likes of which probably started when I was a pre-teen. I never had words for how I was feeling and the term S.A.D didn't exist yet, so I spent every winter lonely, confused and depressed, no matter how many wonderful people and experiences I had in my life.

Now that I am older and (somewhat) wiser, I know what to expect when winter hits. I may not always know how to handle it, but at least I know that I'm not losing my mind.

Over the past few years, while my S.A.D has been especially tormenting, I have developed a few practices and go-to products that help me feel a little less...well, sad.


For me, this usually comes in the form of Christmas music (particularly, anything Michael Bublé) and Christmas movies (particularly anything Barbie and the so-bad-they're-good made-for-TV-holiday-rom-coms).

I, admittedly, spend a lot of time sitting or lying down on the couch in the winter (don't @ me, you do too) so rather than feel bad about it, I use that time to ease the tension in my soul by drowning it in Christmas cheer. That said when the holidays are over, this doesn't have the same effect for me but there are still lots of nostalgic (aka Disney) movies and shows that make me feel like a child at heart.

Hygge (who-guh)

A pretty recent Danish hype-word (at least in North America) that basically means "comfy-as-fuck". I'm talking fuzzy socks, fleece pajamas, thick-ass blankets, hot tea (or chocolate...with marshmallows), winter-scented candles (yes, that is a category of scent), twinkle lights, and warming foods (I LOVE SOUP AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT) are just some of the ways I like to add a little hygge to my soul.


I am not the most disciplined person in the world. I am often motivated (or unmotivated) by how I feel at the moment. Do I want to wash the dishes? No? They can wait. Is it dark and snowy and freezing outside? Yes? Just stay home and have some mac and cheese.

But I have found that a simple routine can really make all the difference, and it doesn't have to be anything heavy. It can be as easy as work 9-5, come home, shower, do a load of laundry or dishes or make dinner or some other activity that you don't always want to do, and then relax the rest of the night with a book or good TV show.

The one thing I will say about creating routines is that you need to honor any resistance you feel. For the longest time, I was trying to work out on Tuesday evenings and clean the entire apartment on Sundays. And let me tell you, every Tuesday evening and every Sunday I was an anxious, overwhelmed, depressed blob. Eventually, I realized the problem wasn't me or my lack of motivation—it was that those routines didn't fit me or my lifestyle. I didn't have to change, they did. So I stopped trying to go to the gym on Tuesday nights and instead opted for some at-home yoga. And I stopped trying to do ALL THE THINGS on Sundays and instead had slow mornings and 1 or 2 things I needed to do that day. Now it's a routine I can stick to and enjoy. Which is especially important in the winter when my motivation seems to disappear with the daylight.


If you know me (or follow my Instagram), I think it's pretty obvious that I love animals. Especially my animals. Kind of a bonafide crazy cat/dog/horse Mom over here. And on days where I am feeling low, there is something so comforting about curling up on the couch with the sleepy doggo or squeezing the purring cat like he's a stuffed toy.

And the horse. Oh, the horse.

While getting out to the barn on winter nights can feel like a battle—mentally and physically—there is something about Rozee that is like chicken soup for my soul. Every problem, every anxiety, every sadness melts away when I'm with her and I can just kiss her nose and breathe her in (she still smells like when she was a baby, and if that's not nostalgic, I don't know what is. Also, everyone smells their horse, it's not weird, you're weird for thinking it's weird).


It's not all bubble baths and face masks—though those are definitely part of it for me. Self-care to me is about prioritizing those things that often fall by the wayside. Maybe you really want to have a bath a few evenings a week, or maybe you want to read more books or drink tea before work or before bed or both! Maybe you want to stretch every day or spend more time in nature or put more energy into therapy. Maybe you want to journal or learn a new skill or Marie Kondo your bedroom. All of these things are self-care. And you need to make space for all of them if you're going to survive the winter.

But remember to be mindful. As soon as you start saying that you have to have a bath every evening is when you'll stop enjoying them. Listen to what you need and if that's a night to soak and float, then do it. If you want to tear apart the bedroom and reorganize, you can do that too. Self-care isn't about "have-to's" or "shoulds", it's about listening to what your soul is craving at the moment and indulging it.


Speaking of self-care...

I recently joined because I was tired of going to therapy consultations, investing time and money into initial appointments only to be disappointed by the lack of connection or help I was getting from the therapists. 

I may not know what I want, but I do know what I don't want and no one was checking the boxes.

So far, I like it. It's interesting typing with a therapist—I find that I can "vocalize" what I'm thinking much easier than I can if I was sitting on the therapist's couch and having to speak the words out loud. And so far the therapist I've been paired with has been more helpful than the last two therapists I've been too, so that's a plus.

Either way, if you can find a therapist you're comfortable with, winter is the best time to do it. We naturally turn inward in the cold months, especially if you deal with S.A.D, and sometimes what we have on the inside can feel overwhelming. TALK 📣 TO 📣 SOMEONE 📣. Please. I know how intimidating it can be but it helps.


Ever since I got myself a library card this summer, I have been devouring books. I've been reading an average of three books a month I'd say, and I can't believe that I ever took a reading hiatus (unintentionally, in case that wasn't obvious). I have a "to read" spreadsheet of over 200 titles that I am making my way steadily through, other than the fact that I seem to be adding to it every day. (PS: PLEASE SEND ME YOUR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. I love knowing what other people are reading).

Reading is a way to make your lazy days less depressing because you still feel like you're accomplishing something. Try and take a break from your favourite show and pick up a book instead.

(PPS: You can find out some of my favourite reads in my Love List posts. There is usually a section on what I've been reading, in case you're interested!)

Moving my Body

Truuuuuuuuust me, I know how hard this can be. And I also know that there can be a lot of other feelings associated with fitness and health, so let me start by saying: you can do, look like, and eat anything you want. You are already where you need to be and you do not need to change. I'm not kidding. Try and put those other feelings aside. Say "fuck you" inadequacy. Say "get lost" judgment. Because I want to talk about fitness for what it really is: a way to express yourself. A way to process emotions, life, and the struggles that come with them.

My favourite way to move my body is yoga. It's challenging but you can reap the rewards right away. When you find yourself slipping deeper into a stretch, or there is a moment of complete silence in your mind, or you are able to center yourself and breathe through a move that is making your arms shake—THAT is what it's about. Not abs, not calories, not sweat. It's about turning inwards, seeing what's there and fully accepting it for what it is—for what we are—temporary.

Find a way to move your body a few times a week that leaves you feeling happier. More motivated. More energetic. Because fitness is about becoming more, not less.

Eating Good

On a similar, but different, note—I eat GOOD food!

Now, a little PSA: there are no foods that are inherently "good" or "bad" for you. What I mean by "good" food is food that tastes good, makes me feel good, and lets me have a good time with family and friends.

A personal favourite of mine is udon noodles topped with a ton of veggies, Asian spices, and chili sauce. Or ramen of any kind. Or sushi. Or a fruit salad. Or chicken wings. Or a bag of chips. Or apples and almond butter. Or fruit smoothies. Or a spicy veggie bowl. Or a cheeseburger. I'm honestly so hungry right now.

My point is that "good" food is a personal choice. If it tastes good to you and makes you feel good, then it's good. And if it makes you feel good then the winter is probably a great time to eat it. Enjoy!


Something of mine that are still very much a work-in-progress, but I digress. Boundaries are so, so important not just around the colder months, but all year round. Especially if you are someone like me and hates disappointing or hurting someone else by saying "no". But I'd argue that they are even more important in the winter.

And that's because it's around this time of year that everyone wants to get together for the holidays, and schedules seem to fill up in the blink of an eye. Don't overbook yourself. Tell friends and family that you'll get back to them, that you might need a day to yourself. After all, if your answer isn't a "hell yes", then it's probably not that important to you. (And that's okay).

Happy winter guys! (Literally).