On my fight against long dark winter days /EN/

12.02.2018

The beginning of February usually brings the promise of a long lost spring. We look ahead in the hope for longer and warmer days but are still stuck in long dark evenings. There are generally fewer opportunities to go outside and we have less energy to survive through the whole day. And when we do (because miraculously we always make it through), at the end of each day we end up being only a shell of the person we were in the morning.

Some people choose to fight the winter depression and tiredness by remaining active, which might be very effective for those who like to do sport throughout the year. But what about those who belong to the specific group of people who consider sport a vulgar word and prefer to live through the winter with a book under a blanket or with a friend chatting over espressos in a stylish café?

I would define myself as a person who meets the (long) definition of a lazy reader thriving while being snug under the softest throws, being able to eat tasty simple meals and generally taking pleasure in those little joys of life, such as brewed coffee, beautiful big books and taking photographs. Since my little budget makes me wonder "why there is so much month at the end of the money", I can't (but I would love to) really go on holiday to a hot country. However, there are quite a few ways of having a high-quality time while effectively diminishing the fact it's all dreary and uninviting outside.

I've compiled a visual diary followed by a few words mapping the way I deal with the long dark days.

Manual coffee brewing

Fortunatelly, making good coffee does not require selling your organs or being a professional with a hundred years of experience. All it takes is to read a book or two, buy a few things like Chemex or V60 and then be willing to pour all your heart into the preparation.

Going to cafés

If I could reduce travelling through cities and countries to visiting cafés and restaurants, I probably would. Coffee and food tourism is one of the very few activities I enjoy doing. I feel like a little child at Christmas every time I manage to find a stylish small business with a combination of such an obvious genius loci and hard-working owners. 

Phill's Twenty7 - the interior of a small buffet in Prague. The place has beautiful pendant stylized candle chandeliers designed by Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus.

Small treats

These little joys of life are literally worth living for especially when feeling miserable. The key is to never feel guilty about having weak moments of eating up two desserts instead of just one.

Once I started focusing on smaller, seemingly insignificant beauties, I've become much happier. In fact, I've been able to derive this experience and transfer it to other situations. The process resembles sort of a rehearsal and the skill can come in very handy especially when facing stressful days.

A hot cocoa with delicious Nicholas Vahe marshmallows, which can be used as a sweetener.

Visual stimulus

Exhibitions, books, photographs and other forms of visual art are all a perfect way of pushing away bleak thoughts and stupid ideas. 

Being organized

Such a seeming triviality like being in a neat surrounding has this beautiful and unexpected effect of calming my troubled mind. Getting things organised and keeping the place pretty, especially when I spend a lot more time in now than in summer, seems an easy thing to accomplish and has a massive positive impact.

The pencils, notebooks and the rubber ball are all simple and beautiful pieces of stationery giving me a feeling of order.

Please, don't stop the music

This is very closely related to my other, newer obsession - I've become a collector. Yet I am doing my best not to be attached to many objects as well as not to cram the place with useless and unsightly thing. There are these two contradictory tendencies inhibited in my mindset. But as soon as I found the way to balance them, they actually started to complement each other. I used to be a hoarder. Now I try to keep a minimum amount of stuff necessary to perform everyday tasks such as getting dressed, cooking or cleaning. On the other hand, I've started collecting vintage things with a certain sentimental value. And what's more valuable than vinyls, big books or old polaroid cameras and vintage typewriters?

Welcome to the Jungle

In winter I need to keep being surrounded by living organisms more than ever. Having a little private jungle could correlate to the free spirit rooted in humanity. Just mere looking at the green triggers positivity, doesn't it?

Reading

No, I don't read Fifthy shades of Grey and I have a very poor opinion of the whole phenomenon, however, I can understand why so many people seem to be enjoying both the books and films. Whatever floats your boat, reading is a perfect way to indulge in long travels to different worlds. 

Last but not least

The last but not least on the list is of course the bed. What feels better than being avalanched with the softest throws while feeling the texture of the bed linen? I feel best when finally being in bed all snuggled down into my warm duvet after having had a productive day. With the promise of a fresh start I feel like being given another opportunity to do and experience something. I can't help but be immensely grateful for this as the end of the day gives me a sense of achievement.