It’s been a couple of weeks since the groundhog made its fateful prediction of six more weeks of winter. The distance from late February to bona fide springtime can feel like a long stretch in many parts of the country—but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to give your living space a refreshing boost. Try these three easy ways to remind yourself that, as the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, “if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
1) Open the Window
Seriously—“Real-Feel” temperature aside, it is always beneficial to open a window or two, even if just for a few seconds. In that short time, you won’t lose enough heat to make a difference to either your overall comfort or your heating bill. But you will bring a sharp lungful of clean winter air into rooms that can feel stale after weeks of bitter weather. A change of air might boost your immunity as it refreshes your spirit. As Ben Franklin astutely observed in the late 18th century, “People often catch cold from one another when shut up together in small close rooms.” So clear the air, for your health as well as your emotional well-being.
2) Put on a Stovetop Simmer
I’ve shared ideas for warming stovetop simmers here before, but as winter drags on, it might be time to brighten up your simmer game. Instead of warming spices like cinnamon and ginger, shift to bracing citrus scents like lemon, lime or grapefruit peel, or refreshing herbs like mint or rosemary. Set big bunches and chunks of these ingredients in a large pot of simmering water and keep it steaming over a low heat all day—re-filling it as the water level drops, and breathing deeply to wake up the senses.
3) Buy a Bouquet
If you find yourself humming, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” at this time of year, let your spirits lift with a simple inexpensive bouquet of fresh flowers. Supermarkets are full of daffodils at this time of year, and alstroameria (otherwise known as Peruvian lily) blooms are plentiful and very affordable year-round. Fresh flowers boost positive energy for a few reasons. Just having something alive, colorful, and sweet-smelling in the house is a winter spirit-lifter. And because flowers symbolize special occasions or gift-giving, a bouquet on the kitchen table also make a celebration out of each day. As a Chinese proverb says, “When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” Let your positive outlook bloom—no matter the weather.