I have to admit approaching the German winter a second time is mildly comforting. The nights are getting longer, the days are getting shorter and the smell of Lebkuchen is already in the air.
For a person who loves summer and all sun-related seasons, you can imagine my dread preparing for winter in the cold, dark and grey wonderland I call home right now. From my short experience I can recommend doing the following to make your winter slightly brighter.
1. Stock up on Glühwein
If you live in Germany, and do not know what that is, I give you my, “Are you kidding me?” judgemental look. November might still be early to start drinking Glühwein and before you mistake me for an alcoholic which might not be completely uncalled for, I just want to say- “You gotta do, what you gotta do”.
2. Invest in warm clothes
No, seriously. No cheap short cuts here if you want to save your precious life and not end up frost-bitten and dead on the side of a dark street. If you need some help on the same, about one half of you can refer to my earlier post here: 6 ways to dress like a German Girl in Winter
3. Eat a lot of Kuchen
You know what makes for a great winter? A fat belly to show right after, filled with a lot of cakes and cookies. Normally, I don’t have a lot of sweet cravings, but living in Germany has changed that a bit. I do enjoy eating various new cakes and cookies a lot. Who knows I might even start baking a few of them myself? *Amen*
4. Work on your inner Zen
Given the short days, and general lazy atmosphere, winters can be sort of depressing. Especially when you can’t go out that often. Staying indoors might not be such a bad idea if you can find some relaxing activities to do. I suggest yoga, journal-writing, meditation, buddhist prayer chanting et al. You get the idea. Do what makes you not want to kill some one.
5. Travel to cosy/warm places
If your soul yearns for travel as much as mine does, I’d say take the car/bike/bus/train/reindeer wagon and just go somewhere that gives you warm and fuzzy feelings. Nothing lifts my mood up as much as the thrill of exploring a new place. It could even be a short hiking trip around a trail you always wanted to explore but never had the chance to. Don’t forget the Glühwein and cookies to keep you warm and fed. If nearby places begin to feel drab, there’s always the option to run away to SE Asia and peace out during your winter holidays. Many a Germans do this on a regular basis to drive away the winter blues.
6. Host pot-luck dinners with your besties
Having a foreign room-mate or even some friends opens the doors to trying new and exotic cuisines/dishes. I have tasted dishes in the last one year I had no idea existed and honest to god could never make myself. Food has re-entered my life as a priority and I absolutely recommend getting together for pot-luck dinners. Winter evenings are so much warmer with amazing food and loved ones around. Not to mention, you can all huddle together after and watch some good old TV.
7. Cosy up with a partner
If all else fails, I recommend you the easiest option. Find some one who knows how to cuddle the life out of you. It sounds shallow to date some one just to deal with the winter, but hey who knows what a winter romance may turn into? Before you know it, you’re booking your summer holidays together and running away to chase the sunset in Portugal.