Brrrrrr... it's chilly out there!
It got me thinking about ways to navigate through the cold spell, in environmentally friendly ways that connect us back to our place and our planet, and our loved ones all at the same time.
I think of winter, and I think of the word COLD first and foremost... so I have taken that word and have come up with some ideas for green activities and sustainable products that can help you through the bleakest of icy, wintery weather.
C - is for CUDDLES
Winter is the perfect excuse to snuggle up and bank more cuddles! There is nothing more natural and instinctive than to cuddle your baby or child. This study showed that children who were cuddled and comforted more as babies were more biologically mature at age four and a half", and so too those babies who are cuddled and comforted less, are less biologically mature.
The early days of our newborn are made for skin-to-skin contact, but this doesn't have to end when our babies grow - touch is so important to humans at any age, and gentle massage can be a lovely way to connect. When there are wild, icy rains & winds outdoors, and the family are huddled in front of a Sunday afternoon movie, why not give a gentle rub of each others feet with natural, organic massage oil. It's so relaxing, and everyone can give it a go!
Baby wearing is another lovely way to stay warm and give yourself and your baby that cuddly closeness. A lightweight natural cotton sling is perfect for this.
O - is for OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
There can be perfect moments of low winter sun combined with clear skies, where it feels icy and bracing, but nevertheless energising. This is a good time to get out into the great outdoors with your family!
We like to get into the garden to sew seeds, whenever we possibly can, and there are still things that you can sew in the depths of winter, such as broad beans. Some other seeds need to be started inside (try using a little bit of compost in some used toilet rolls in a small container!) and then can be transferred outside later in the season when it becomes milder.
Studies have shown that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing, so get on your warmest clothes and head out! Try a winter scavenger hunt in a local wood or forest, or even at the beach - children will find it all the more exciting if things to scavenge are covered in snow (or in icy sea foam, as we recently found at our local beach!)
Being outdoors is great fun, but of course the chill in the air and the lack of humidity can cause dry and itchy skin. My son has eczema and I've found that reapplying moisturising balms, of a natural original, can really help with this. The Solid Bar Company have the only all-natural balms that I found on the market that absolutely works for eczema (and nappy rash) and are also totally plastic-free, and are award-winning too.
L - is for LAYERS
I had my son (now 5 years old!) in the deepest depths of December. It was so important to get out with him to get us both some fresh air and to walk the dog, but it was a never ending challenge to keep a newborn warm enough in the coastal icy winds. I found that layers are the answer! Dressing babies in snug base layers such as bodysuits and leggings, and then layering on top with a jumper or snuggly pair of warm trousers, and then a final layer of a jacket, mittens, hat and so on. And of course you can add layers upon layers of beautiful blankets, into the buggy, as the weather dictates!
Try for natural, breathable and planet-friendly fabrics, otherwise it can all get a bit sweaty, and of course make sure that you take away layers as you change temperatures.
D - is for DO LESS
I really recommend a total treasure of a book that a lovely friend of mine gave me, called "Wintering" by Katherine May. It's a treasure of a book, about how to embrace your winter, whenever that may come in your life, and learning to love the cold.
“We must learn to invite the winter in... We may never choose to winter, but we can choose how.” - Katherine May "Wintering"
I am personally very bad at 'unplugging' and 'switching off', so this final item to "Do Less" comes as a reminder to myself and others who find it hard to slow down, to embrace the cold, and to embrace winter by doing a little less. To recharge batteries while you can. To spend quality time with our little ones, by slowing down the pace, and enjoying our time together without rushing around and having to get from activity to activity. Harder said than done, for sure! I really like to spend some focused time with my son doing an activity together, like a building set or reading a book together. These little joys can be forgotten if the timetable is too packed, and there are too many distractions. Winter makes us focus in on these things.
All the best,
Laura Callaghan - Founder of Plastic Free Baby