I wouldn’t say it’s a fear of winter. It’s more of a complete awareness of how bitterly cold and frigid the weather can be as soon as you leave the cozy four walls of your house. I have grown up in the Nation’s Capital (Ottawa) and have spent 24 years trying my very best to love winter (as it’s clearly not going anywhere).
From a picture point of view, winter is lovely. The way the snow falls in big, fluffy gobs or how the ice coats each tree branch after a bout of freezing rain. It does end up looking like a winter wonderland, which makes it all that much more tempting to want to venture outside.
Over the years I’ve noticed the desire to go outside during winter is there, it’s just over-ridden by the freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight. However, I’ve come to realize there is a vast difference between enjoying winter and merely scraping by to survive winter. Unfortunately, spending every day wishing winter was over does not, in fact, speed up the process.
So, as of last winter I decided to try my best to get outside more during the winter months. Now, I wouldn’t say I spent the entirety outside, but I did significantly increase the amount of time I spent outside, in addition to actually learning to enjoy myself. If you’re at all like me and are dreading the upcoming months, take a look at some of the tips posted below as to how I got my butt outside the house and started to finally embrace winter.
Seems like common sense but it can truly make or break an afternoon outside. I personally like to go for the stuffed sausage look when I step outdoors, meaning I deck myself out in layers upon layers, scarves, hats, mitts, winter boots. You name it and I’m probably wearing it.
Tricks to ensure compliance:
- Buy a hat that you actually genuinely enjoy or feels comfortable. You’ll be more likely to wear it if you don’t look absolutely ridiculous in it. If you’re worried about hat hair, most drugstores sell mini hairbrushes that are easy to tuck into purses, backpacks or office drawers.
- Invest in a pair of waterproof winter boots. Cannot stress this enough. It won’t matter how warm your boots keep you on dry surfaces, as soon as you hit slush it’s game over.
- Always have a pair of gloves either on or tucked into your pockets/car. (This is actually advice from my mother, who told me I should always keep a pair of gloves handy to avoid absolutely freezing your hands in the situation that its not snowing when you leave for work, but starts snowing during the shift and then you have to clean off the car)
Watch the weather!
I’m going to be honest with you. I am no winter warrior. I am 100% a winter wimp. This being said, don’t pick the day it’s minus 40 with a 100% chance of Hell freezing over to go outside and try to truly enjoy winter for the first time. Look for an unusually mild day throughout the week with a little bit of sun if you can. Ideal days temperature wise are when it starts snowing (surprisingly). Take note of the temperature on days that it ends up snowing and you’ll notice its actually closer to 0 degrees than the latter. If you don’t think you can brave the new fallen snow yet by all means tough out the sunny winter day.
Believe it or not, your dog may actually enjoy the snow. This being said, I’ve often heard of the misconception around not having to walk small dogs as often. This mentality makes sense, as they would theoretically not need to go on as long of a walk. However, this doesn’t mean that you should skip the walk entirely. Understanding the walk is for the dogs benefit (and your own) may motivate you more to attempt to get outside.
I recently invested in some booties for my dogs (this is also important, if you walk on roads there is often a lot of salt which is not great for doggie paws. You may notice them lifting up their paw, this is not from cold but from salt exposure). Not only do they look absolutely hilarious the first time you put them on, they make walks a little more bearable from the dog’s point of view. Use the thought of entertaining your dog as an incentive to get out and love the winter even more. If your dog is one of those that enjoy the snow, you may fall in love all over again watching them frolic about.
Friends who enjoy winter
Makes sense right? Surround yourself with people who already do the thing, so then you sort of somehow end up doing the thing too. Whether you convince your friend to go out for a winter walk with you, or simply tag along to one of their winter activities (i.e. skiing, skating, hiking), you may find it easier to find yourself in situations that take place outside.
That being said, it’s also way more enjoyable to do activities with like-minded people. If you buddy up with someone who already enjoys winter outdoor activities, there’s less likely to be complaining about said activity. Surrounding yourself with a positive environment helps to play into the goal you’re trying to achieve (in this case, trying to enjoy skiing without becoming a human popsicle).
Festivals, seasonal activities and events
For this one you’ll need to check your local listings and news regarding what’s happening and where, but often there are seasonal festivals or events (winter included) where they showcase the highlights of the season. For example, in Ottawa there’s Winterlude that opens up along the canal (which is actually Canada’s longest skating rink!) where there are ice sculptures, Beaver Tails, and several different events for all ages.
There’s several similar events hosted throughout the city as the season goes on (personally any event where alcohol is an option should be visited). I recommend trying to go to at least one event this year! Bundle up, mentally prepare yourself, grab a few friends, and go! You may discover a newfound appreciation for winter if you are able to find a seasonal event you plan on returning to!
Have you ever seen the most picturesque scene directly outside your window? Seriously so picturesque that the amateur photographer in you scrambles to grab your phone to take a picture, only to realize you may actually have to leave the house to get a decent quality photo. To your disappointment you sulk back onto the couch, not ready to commit to putting on a pair of winter boots and trekking out to get that perfect shot.
Personally I love taking photos of nature, even though a lot of them do not end up leaving the confines of my phone. One of the best rewards for getting out in the winter (mostly through hikes) was being able to see the true beauty of the landscape and how winter was incorporated into that. In addition to seeking out breathtaking landscapes, there was the opportunity to capture some of these moments by photo.
If nature is something that inspires you or is aesthetically pleasing to you, I challenge yourself to go out for a walk. Use the weather in your favour here but seriously, just go! Get out and see how delicate each little snowflake looks on your mitten when you scoop up a handful, or how the snow genuinely sparkles in the sunlight. Enjoy the stark contrast between bright, blue sky and fresh-fallen clean snow. If not for the perfect photo, do it for your soul.
I’ll be honest, I still don’t love every single day of winter. But, I do love getting outside. I also would rather go on a hike than run on a treadmill, which the desire to do so doesn’t stop once the snow hits the ground. This is why I’ve chosen to slowly embrace winter instead of being miserable for four months of the year. Honestly, it wasn’t easy, but it’s the little things that count and I would say this is one small victory!
Have you let winter into your life? Still a diehard enemy of winter? Let me know in the comments!