It was the shortest day of the year on Monday, and while that technically should mean that we are on the downhill slide towards summer, we still have a long way to go. In tourism speak, "shoulder seasons" in this country should only be applied to winter, for summer can end as quickly as it starts.
So, what should we do with all these short days and long nights? We should make the most of them. Some of us are already doing this by gearing up to hit the slopes, but there are less expensive and time-consuming options out there, not to mention those that require less skill.
Take the plunge
Watch the Goop Lab episode on Netflix about Wim Hof or take a look at his socials, and you will see why he calls himself Iceman. Not only does he extol the benefits of a specific type of breath work, but he plunges into icy baths and does snow angels while wearing very little.
New Zealand prides itself on being close to swimmable bodies of water, but why not use them year-round? Did you have a grandparent who swam every day, even in winter? Take the plunge and treat your system to a regular bracing plunge. If nothing else, it will give you bragging rights over your grandchildren one day.
Spend time in the kitchen
Winter is a great time to get into the kitchen. Is there a style of cooking or eating that you're curious about? Practice your slow cooking, track down all those hard-to-find ingredients or dabble in more plant-based recipes. Have a cookbook you love the look of? Why not try and cook every recipe in there, perhaps watching Julie and Julia first for inspiration.
And while you're honing your skills, dust off the dinner set and invite some friends over to help you eat it all. Learning, creating and socialising. All excellent things to do in winter.
Commit to 10
Apparently, it takes 10,000 hours to master something, but who has time for that? Ten minutes a day, however, is much more doable and 10 minutes adds up when you do it for the rest of the year.
Think you can't do much in only 10 minutes? You can learn to meditate, do a short yoga, foam rolling or stretching workout, you can journal, learn a language, tend to houseplants, write an email or message to someone you haven't seen for a long time, have a daily check-in with your parents or an elderly relative, edit your iPhone photos for 10 minutes a day, breathe deeply, plus much more.
Last year was my first winter in 13 years and after the initial shock of it, I heartily embraced it. Get a really warm jacket, scarf and hat. Make sure you've got some appropriate shoes and just embrace the cold outside. Take windy walks along the beach, the lake or the park.
Don't mind the drizzle, as you've got your jacket. Go for bike rides and enjoy a hot chocolate afterwards. Exercising outdoors in inclement weather makes you feel invincible and the endorphins are second to none. Knit or crochet in your warm house or fill the room with baking when it's blustery outside.
Before we know it, another year will be over. Don't you want to make the most of it and enjoy it as much as you can?