At 16, in January, I moved from coastal Virginia, where we had little snow, to Maine, where the snow was piled 6 feet high in spots. It was a difficult transition in so many ways. But, it was the sunlight that helped me get through that first winter. In Virginia, although we had little snow, the sky over the brown and gray landscape stayed dull and somber most of the winter. In spite of the weekly snowstorms, our area of Maine enjoyed an abundance of sunshine. What a difference that made!
Shaunta, I am sorry your area is so dark in the winter. May I suggest brightening your home this summer in preparation for winter? I know you rent so painting may not be an option, but if it is, paint yours walls flower colors. If not an entire room, paint a bright color on an accent wall in each room. At the very least, pick a room for exercise — maybe, yoga —and paint it a cheery color to motivate you to move and stretch.
Speaking of yoga, I highly recommend it as an exercise all year round but particularly in winter. Our bodies tend to fold inward in cold weather, searching for warmth and comfort. But, what we really need is movement, stretching, expanding. Yoga will do that for you. It opens up your muscles and your heart, pushing blood out to your hands and feet which tend to turn into blocks of ice in winter. Take a class this summer, then use what you learn to create a personal yoga practice during the winter months. Many people, including my husband, scoff at yoga as exercise but it truly is a workout, as he discovered when he began attending classes with me.
If painting isn’t an option, use colorful throws, artwork, flowers (artificial or real) or even furniture with vibrant upholstery to brighten your space. Add live plants, even if they don’t flower. Plants give energy to a space. Plus, taking care of them during the winter months connects us to nature when outside time is limited.
Research lightening you can add that will warm a room. There are excellent pole lamps that can transform a room with brightness or a warm glow. Sconces added to walls (you can get some with batteries so electrical wiring isn’t an issue) can easily brighten dark corners and hallways.
We can’t control the weather or how much sunlight shines upon us, but we can make our physical spaces bright, cheery, and warm. Color and lighting can make a huge difference.
Living in Maine taught me that just like squirrels gathering nuts, we need to prepare for winter long before it arrives.