Having taken a winter trip to Ayrshire to find out everything there is to do in this region of Scotland in the colder seasons, I have fallen in love with their way of enjoying winter. So I’ve put together by 10 ways to feel positive about winter, Scottish style.
1. Eat hearty, rich meals
The Scots are great at serving up rich, tasty food that is so warming and satisfying. I lost count of the number of sticky toffee puddings we had, big bowls of sponge cake drenched in sweet, sticky sauce. There is something about the classics too, haggis or even vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties, creamy mashed potato and veggies. This is comfort food at its best. So forget the January detox, I’m all about the rich comfort food, the new diet can kick in when spring arrives.
2. Get to the sea
The sea in Scotland is beautiful and in every weather we saw people out, walking by it, sitting watching the waves, even just driving past it. There is something so centering about the ocean, it calms and lets you realise the rhythm of the earth is always moving and warmer days will return soon.
3. Don the knits
Arran wool and Fair Isle knits are perfect for snuggling up in on the coldest days so treat yourself to that special jumper or scarf that makes pulling them on a treat. Wrap up against the elements and enjoy the warmth of a luxurious yarn.
4. Embrace the season
Enjoy the winter for everything it brings. I am really trying to embrace the weather, understanding the earth turning away from the sun as it recovers and rests before springing to life again. This is a great time of year to have an excuse for an early night in or to get out and enjoy it, the early dark sky can be perfect for star-gazing so why not sign up to a class to learn more.
5. Enjoy meeting people
The Scots are so friendly and getting out and meting people can lift a day. It’s easy to hibernate but actually that human touch, warmth of a smile or nod of a greeting can make such a difference. Organise tea and cake with friends to lift your mood instantly.
6. Remind yourself of summer
Scotland has some of the best summer scents from beautiful heathers to lavenders and wild Scottish raspberries. Smell has long been known to lift the mood so pick a candle with a fresh fragrance reminiscent of the happiest of summers and light it no matter what the time of day to enjoy a blast of summertime.
7. See the light
It’s easy to stay indoors and hibernate but it’s not good for your mental well-being to do it constantly and just being outside in the light can really help to keep a positive focus. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature has so many benefits. Hire bikes to go for a cycle, take a long walk followed by pub lunch or just make a point of walking to the shop can make a huge difference to a day. It’s a positive way to embrace the season.
8. Allow yourself those sweet treats
Rich butter shortbread and creamy fudges are the staples of Scottish sweet treats and when winter arrives it’s good to allow yourself these tastes of goodness. Indulge in a few little treats or even better have a go at making some of them yourself to help the season feel even sweeter.
9. Enjoy the heritage and history
Stepping into the hallowed halls of one of the many castles which are spread far and wide across Scotland you’ll feel an immediate sense of the history of the building and may find yourself being transported in your mind back to ancient times. There’s a real sense of wonder to these grand buildings where you can lose yourself in their heritage and together with your family, enjoy learning more about the area and how the people of the time relied on the castles for their sustenance and livelihoods. It’s a great chance to step away from the pressures of modern life for a moment and enjoy some of the finest castles in the UK and winter is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them.
10. Finish the evening with a little tipple
While I’m certainly not advocating over-indulging in alcohol a wee dram at the end of the day is a great winter treat. Invest in a good Scottish whisky, a bottle of Irish Cream or a berry infused gin and make a ritual out of pouring a shot to finish off the day in warming style.
For other ways to embrace winter read about top ways to beat the winter blues, Danish style here.