When the hustle and bustle of the holidays ends, it can leave you with an empty feeling. You can hold on to the warm feelings of the holidays with a few cozy rituals.
February is often considered the coldest and snowiest month of the winter (especially for those in northern states). Even January can feel pretty dreary once the fun and festivities of Christmas and New Year’s have passed. Instead of letting the winter blues set in, try some heart- and soul-warming tricks.
Keep Up Your Christmas Decor
Lots of folks keep their holiday decorations up into the new year, and there are no set rules on when you need to pack the tree back up. If your Christmas tree and decorations make you happy, keep them up until the snow starts to melt for good, or until you’re ready to take them down.
Turn the tree lights on each evening when it starts to get dark out. Continue kissing under the mistletoe. Let the joy of the holiday season stick with you well into the new year.
Add a Few Candles
Candles add warmth and light to any home. Pick candles with scents that make you feel cozy—like cinnamon bun, apple pie, or even sugar cookie. Scents like vanilla, peppermint, and lavender are relaxing and can help relieve your post-holiday stress.
Candles make a great replacement if you don’t have a fireplace in your home. The flickering of the flames is soothing. Just remember never to leave candles unattended.
Invest in a Throw Blanket and Comfy Pillows
Folks in Denmark have this thing they call Hygge, which translates to “fun” in English but is more about a lifestyle of comfort. They don’t dread snowy, cold, dark nights. Instead, they embrace these evenings with comfort, including furry throw blankets and overstuffed comfy pillows.
Find a soft pillow with lots of cushioning that’s just as comfortable on the floor as it is on the couch. Plush blankets are amazingly comfy, too.
Schedule a “Pajamas-Only Day”
Staying home for the day? Stay in your pajamas. I work from home, and some days I get more done when I stay in my jammies all day. They’re comfortable, and what’s more relaxing than comfy pants and a loose-fitting shirt. If it’s chilly, grab your throw blanket and a cozy over-sized sweater.
When it comes to enjoying a day in pajamas, don’t forget to put on your most fun slippers! I like to switch between bunny slippers and cozy thick socks.
Let the Light In
For those of us living far from the equator, the evening comes early—it’s often dark as early as dinnertime. The winter solstice has passed, and the days are beginning to get longer, but that early darkness can still mess with your mood. No matter what schedule you live in, try to get a little natural light into your life.
Open the blinds or curtains when it’s daylight outside, even if the sun isn’t shining brightly. On cloudy and snowy days, turn on your light therapy lamp for a dose of near-natural sunshine. Bring in mood lighting later in the day with your candles and dimming your lights. All levels of light offer some kind of warmth and coziness to your life.
Drink a Warm Beverage
Hold onto the holidays a little longer by enjoying some warm eggnog well into the new year. If, like me, you’re not into eggnog, enjoy some hot cocoa (I like dark chocolate with extra marshmallows).
Sip some hot tea to warm yourself inside and out. Great choices to keep the Christmas spirit in your heart after December ends include anything with peppermint or cinnamon.
Not only will a fresh batch of cookies or loaf of bread make your house smell like the holidays again, but comfort food is a great way to make you feel cozy from the inside out. Bake your favorite dessert, bake something for your neighbor, or take what you bake to work with you to share with your coworkers (nice gestures help keep the holiday spirit alive all year).
That hot oven will help make your home toasty warm, too. Give the furnace a little bit of a break.
Enjoy a Warm Bath
Baths aren’t just for kids. Consider soaking in a warm bath, especially before bedtime.
If you want to distinguish your bath from your kids’ bath, use relaxing scents (like lavender) and Epsom salts (to soften your skin and soothe your muscles). Dim the lights, light a candle, play relaxing music, and just let the heat from the water warm your bones.
Snuggle Up with Your Family or Pets
There are professional snugglers—people who get paid to cuddle with others in a professional, platonic manner. Why? Because, as science shows, snuggling up with someone you love (pets included) releases happy hormones in your brain.
Take a night out to cuddle with your significant other, children, and even your pets. Curl up with your cozy pillows and comfy throw on the couch and watch a heart-warming movie together.