Wintertime Wrist Weights and Hygge

Winter is coming, y’all. Can you feel the creep? Last year, I told my husband “I’m kinda excited for wintertime,” and we can mark that as the most unfamiliar thing I’ve said. This year I’m changing my word excited, to ready.

Kristin Beale & dog

I enjoyed the cold weather for a few weeks last year, but it got old fast; a few weeks of drinking hot tea while staring out the window, of wrapping in a blanket to read a book, and of sitting by the snow-filled window with a lit candle, then I was over it. I simply prefer to exercise outside and go on walks with my family more than I do wearing three layers of clothes and freezing my butt off.

But we’re going to make the best of it! Right?

The Danish have a word for those first weeks of my winter mindset, before I start my cycle of lament: hygge (“hue-gah”). In essence, hygge is when you create a comfortable, cozy sanctuary for yourself amid the fast world and your busy life. Hygge focuses on doing simple things like lighting candles, spending time with loved ones, baking, and whatever else puts a comfy smile on your face. My goal this year, really, is hygge. I feel it in those first few weeks of winter, but how about making it last all the way through? I’m trying, at least. Who’s with me?

   Join Our Movement

What started as an idea has become a national movement. With your support, we can influence policy and inspire lasting change.

Become an Advocate
  1. Stay active. This year, I’m getting rid of my excuses. That’s just to say, I bought exercise bands. Exercise is an endorphin-raising mood lifter, so why is my norm to go on a wintertime exercise hiatus? The answer: excuses are too easy and so, so satisfying to make. This year, though, I went all out: I bought bands, balls, straps, free weights, discs, a mat, and even Velcro wrist weights. Bless my heart, I’ll try to be consistent. Check back with me in a couple months.
  2. Try something new. There are plenty of indoor hobbies to choose from: knitting, painting, baking, and musical instruments, to name a few. In my opinion, all options pale in comparison to what I can do in the warm weather, but it’ll do. I prick my finger when I sew and I burn everything I put in the oven, but I found my version of this a few years ago: drawing comics.
  3. Set a goal. You might not be a crafty person, but a project-around-the-house or a learn-something-new person. God bless ya: we comic artists and popsicle stick crafters need people like you around. If that’s the case, set yourself some goals for the cold months; having something to look forward to and work on can boost your motivation and sense of purpose.
  4. Light up. I realize my double entendre here, but I’m talking only about light therapy. Winter’s diminished natural sunlight can lead to seasonal affective disorder and/or more solemn moods. It’s understandable! A light therapy bulb will mimic natural sunlight to help regulate your mood and energy levels. Plug one into your desk while you work or sit by it for 10-15 minutes daily and see if that makes a difference.
  5. Reconnect. We’re all sitting around inside anyway, so why not do it together? Winter is the perfect time to strengthen connections with friends and family: host gatherings, movie nights, and cozy dinners to combat those [justifiably] imminent feelings of isolation and despondency this winter.

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, it’s not uncommon to feel a dip in your mood. Some years, that feeling is so tangible I feel like I can reach out and grab it. But it doesn’t have to be that way, folks; with some strategy and the right mindset, we can make the most of and even thrive during the winter months.

Embrace the chill, create cozy moments, and strap some weights around your wrists. You may never look forward to winter, but we can make the most of it.

About the Author - Kristin Beale

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of three books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, Wide Awake, and a comic book, Date Me. Instagram: @kristin.gupta

Kristin Beale

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.