Hibernation: It Isn't Just for the Bears

Rainy day in Los Angeles

Rainy day in Los Angeles

I love the rain! I definitely didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have when I lived somewhere with a lot of weather, but I sure do love it now. I love the change it brings. I love that it cleanses the smog. I enjoy running in it because I can’t tell where my sweat ends and the rain begins. I like how it feels on my face. I love that my surroundings go from brown to green overnight. The flowers seem to smile. The dog chills the heck out.

I also love that rain gives me permission to hibernate. It might be due to having spent a large chunk of my life in the rain, snow, sleet, hail, gray, and occasional tornado, but if it’s sunny, I feel a duty to be out and about doing something. Anything. Not to rub it in anyone’s face, but that’s most days where I live (Y’all can move here too... But please don’t, it’s already crowded enough.) so there’s rarely the excuse to hide out at home and do nothing at all.

But oh, when it rains, that’s all I want to do. Burrow away, under a massive chunky knit blanket with a book and a hot cup of tea (or chocolate) and not come out until the sun does again. Or I have to go to the bathroom. But then I get right back in.

Unfortunately, this latest batch of rain happened during a busy work week, including a business trip. Not very conducive for hibernation. Still, I did my best to at least get in a bit of hibernating during my down time.

Warm blankets and dog cuddles

Warm blankets and dog cuddles

This got me thinking again about the concept of hygge and how I didn’t do a winter edition. Sometimes I forget it’s winter here because winter is more like a long autumn. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get into the spirit anyway, so here’s how I hygge it during these winter months (I won’t include autumn’s hygge, which I’m still doing.):

Warm Blankets

I pretty much always have one on my lap. My two favs are the one my grandma knitted me and the one my sister knitted me. And rumor has it my sister is knitting me one of those big, chunky knit ones that I’ve been admiring for years. I may never leave my couch again once that thing arrives.

Dog Cuddles

We have the most cuddly dog in the entire world. And he’s a solid 70+ pounds of love. So cuddling with him always warms the heart, soul, and body. In fact, he’s been curled up on me snoring the entire time I wrote this.

Hot Chocolate

This is my winter version of hot apple cider. I actually probably think more about it than I actually drink it these days. But when I do I’m transported right back to childhood memories of sledding and playing in the snow for hours and then sipping on some heated chocolate.

Homemade soup and bread

Homemade soup and bread

Fresh Baked Bread

I’ve really been into this a lot lately, although I’m still mastering the craft. And by mastering, I’m definitely struggling. I used to make bread and I think it tasted good, but it hasn’t been like riding a bike. Perhaps by the end of the season I’ll have my perfect loaf. Until then at least the house smells delicious.

Soup Season

All I want to eat in the winter is soup. I’ll put anything in a pot with some liquid and call it a day. Partly because it disguises my culinary challenges. And partly because the warmth is so necessary after surviving a cold day.

Hot Bath

It was in a hot bath at the end of winter of my senior year of college that I decided to leave the real cold behind and only applied for jobs in warmer climates. Hot baths still provide that same comfort when nothing else will warm me up. Light a few candles. Throw in a book or magazine. Maybe a glass of wine…

Read Books

Always a favorite pastime of mine so maybe I can’t just relegate it to winter, but in the winter I seem to want one with me even more often. And one made out of paper if I can help it. Ebooks and audiobooks aren’t quite cutting it. There’s just something about winter that calls for sitting down quietly with some pages I can turn with my fingers.

Fun in the snow

Fun in the snow

Go to the Snow

I know this is the opposite of hibernation, but it doesn’t snow where I live. And I still enjoy the snow. In smaller doses than my childhood. So if I want the full effect of winter I have to go elsewhere. Luckily I can go back to the motherland or head to the mountains not far from me for a fun-filled frollicking day in that frozen white stuff.


Oh, heck yeah! Who wants cold feet this time of year? I always have a pair of comfy slippers on my feet when I don’t have to have a pair of shoes on. My favorites are made out of old shrunken wool sweaters.

Take Naps

I’m a terrible napper. But more prone to give it a shot in crappy weather. It’s a good time to catch up on some missed ZZZs.

Winter is the perfect opportunity to hibernate, which is helpful in our hectic lives. It’s a time to find stillness and go within, to really connect with our authentic selves. Also, to connect more deeply with those we hold dearest. It’s more difficult to find the energy to be all and do all when it’s cold and gray out so we more naturally gravitate toward that and those most important to us. Slowing down and doing less help to rejuvenate and recover the energy lost during busier seasons of our lives. Then, when spring arrives, oh, it is on!