Sunday, January 24, 2016

How to Cozy

When the forecast is calling for some serious winter weather, different people take different tactics for preparing: there are the classic milk-bread-toilet-paper hoarders, the survivalists loading their carts with batteries and salted hams, those who perhaps would rather not be snowed in with their feelings (24 bottles of wine in the shopping cart), and those who are just going to make the best of it. I place myself in the latter camp--I do not like being cold and wet, shoveling snow, or being stuck inside for days, but I do like the feeling of being warm and cozy in my little apartment. Your version of warm and snug might be different from mine, but here is how I get my cozy on.

Cozy Essentials: The 5 C's
  1. Crochet - Pick out a small project, so that you have something pretty to wear when you inevitably have to go back to work.
  2. Cake - Baking a cake is something to do with a tasty reward, and it's nice to be in a toasty kitchen on a blustery day. 
  3. Coffee - My caffeine game must be on point if I'm going to be cooped up indoors. Otherwise, it's headache city.
  4. Coloring - Because if you're going to give it a try, a blizzard seems as good a time as any.
  5. Candles - Lighting a candle immediately ups the cozy quotient by a factor of 4, and they're pretty practical if the power goes out, too. 

(plus a lantern and batteries, just in case)

I had been resisting the coloring trend, because I felt like it was a cop-out for people who think they should meditate but don't want to. Also I couldn't find a coloring book that I liked, until I found this one, "Whatever is Lovely." I bought it at WalMart while I was out stocking up on the other C's (and bread and soup and whatnot), but it's probably on Amazon as well. Here is my verdict on coloring: It is a really easy way to get into a state of flow, hence the meditative aspect, and it is legitimately relaxing and enjoyable. However, I still don't think it's a true replacement for meditation. I don't think 10 minutes of coloring could bring me down from a major anxiety situation quite like 10 minutes of actual meditation can, so color to your heart's content, but you may still want to have meditation in your emotional tool box.

Once the 5 C's are covered, you need cozy socks, warm pants, and a big hoodie, because you should be covered in softness while you color and crochet. Plus, pajama pants usually have an elastic waistband, just in case you eat a bit too much cake.

The "Perfect Size" cake, all whipped up.
Speaking of too much cake, for me, comfort food is a big part of creating a feeling of coziness. But, of course, if I go nuts, I know I will regret it. Maybe at 21 I could have sat around eating cookies all day and felt great, but, at 31, I feel terrible if I have a giant carb-fest. Cabin fever does not pair well with an upset stomach. 

There's also the practical consideration of weight gain. I will not be as active in my apartment as I would have been if I had done normal things like going to work, running errands, or heading out for a hike. Bake cookies or a cake and enjoy them, but don't throw the healthy eating habits you normally have out the window the second you see a snowflake. Eat a vegetable or two. Drink some water. Finding that your jeans don't fit anymore when you head out to shovel snow is like a loud record scratch through your warm and fuzzy snow days. Keep that feeling of ease and relaxation going by keeping things reasonably healthy and active, so you don't spend your next workday morning frantically searching for something that fits.

Happy Snow Days! Stay Warm!

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