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The Creative Comforts of Winter Hibernation

by Philippa Radon

What comes with purchasing an old home that’s not fully restored: the windows shake and rattle with every gust and flurry, and the drafts seem to find new ways in despite our efforts to block their chill. Life in winter is a constant state of layering, wool socks, coffee fikas (Swedish for coffee breaks), and piles of colourful blankets in every room…but it’s cozy, and it’s home, and these things can all be handled with grace and a sense of gratitude. "It's part of the charm," we tell ourselves! 

Winter Solstice art by Jessica Boehman

I enjoy winter. It provides permission to rejuvenate, rethink, reconnect, reevaluate and remember the small things that make a big difference in my every day. The stillness is therapy...watching leaves fall until just the last one remained on a bare limb and our lawn is a carpet of broken pattern - begging for a rake. Pathways and openings appear through our woods, neighbors' gardens and beyond open up for observation creating attenuated vistas only seen during these barren winter months. So I wonder: what will the focus be this winter as I withdraw into my homebody, hygge cocoon?

hyg·ge - /ˈh(y)o͞oɡə,ˈho͝oɡə/
regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture, it's a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.

I ask this, already knowing the answer because the focus was determined some time ago, cast by the corrosive fear of ending another year feeling the same unmet, nagging dilemmas. It’s not so easy when your business is client-based and supports the financial kitty. Still, my time management goes in fits and starts, which contributes hugely to disarming my personal ideas and unfulfilled goals once again, inflating my lack of discipline and deflating any self-belief that real dreams are made of. So, building and manifestation will be my main personal focus as I work my way through this "winter of wellbeing."

I am my own worst distraction. However, I feel so grateful for the support and encouragement of those around me to aid this chosen crusade to be more artistic and creative. Promising myself that I will not harbor resentments at personal failings or too many indulgent snacks, or stress over finances, but will turn myself over entirely to my creative process, follow my plan (which is still being outlined) and trust the process. 

Our homes provide such a sense of belonging, a connection for placement in the world and with each other; they are the most important investment we make for ourselves and family. So what will your winter hygge look like as you take time to reflect inward and cozy up with family? This practiced lifestyle has its merits for honoring expressive activities like journaling, crafting, writing, or maybe applying a brush to canvas while burning candles and indulging in a delicious cake (a very Danish thing to do)!    

Danish Cake (aka Drommekage)

TRY: This traditional Danish cake recipe

Perhaps winter will offer you the much-needed time to ponder on your home itself, possibly anticipate a new colour palette or get to work on a project for early spring implementation. Perhaps, when the festive decor is removed, and your home feels somewhat stark, you will view your space with fresh eyes and be inspired to try something new. 

Moodboards are a creative starting point

TRY: Book a colour consultation with me or someone in your local area. Often a new perspective is just what you need to breathe new life into your home. 

The outdoors provide constant inspiration. The beautiful, harmonious colors of nature inspire my design. And winter walks offer a myriad of colour palette options, from cool grey blues in the more Nordic family to bursts of accent brights inspired from mosses and berries, wet barks, and heavy skies.

And when I least expect it, a new idea arises – usually triggered by a visual in my daily maneuverings – that period of recognition that I’ve discovered my new “starting point,” from which I can commence mapping out where this inspiration will take me.

As I hunker down this winter, some of my favourite companions are books. Here are some recommendations. 

My Winter Reading List:

  • Well Being - Danielle Copperman

  • Recipes and Rituals to Realign the Body and Mind

  • Creative Visualization - Shakti Gawain 

  • The Alchemy of Things - Karen McCartney 

  • Interiors Shaped by Curious Minds

  • The Stuff of Life - Arranging Things Ordinary & Extraordinary by Hilary Robertson 

  • Rethink the Way you Live by Amanda Talbot

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