The Wintrovert Starter Kit
Goblin mode, but make it chic. (How to rot with style!)
May I, for a moment, extol the glorious virtues of wintertime? My chin is finally nested in the folds of a turtleneck sweater, no longer shamed by exclamations of “Aren’t you hot?” My stoop grins, flanked by huge pots of white mums. And it is perfectly acceptable to cancel plans with the outside world and curl up underneath a blanket, nursing my inner introvert instead. Or, as I call it, my inner wintrovert.
Wintroversion takes many years of faithful practice. It is a meditation, a seasonal discipline. You must wrap yourself up in the idea of home as you decamp and feather your nest. This means pulling out the downy blankets and draping them over the plush chairs in my living room. Out comes the cast-iron pot, prominently perched on the stove, eagerly awaiting its marching orders: Soup! Chili! Bone broth! The kettle, too: iced coffee is switched out for hot cups of tea—some destined for a mischievous dance with bourbon in hot toddies. The dog, though outfitted in a fur coat of her own, gets a sweater, if only for a season-signaling Instagram. Wintroversion, commence!
During this time, I like candles. Lots of them. If my living room could even vaguely resemble the candlelit setting of a Harlequin romance novel, I would be just fine. A fireplace? Sure. I’ll wrap up in sedentary satisfaction and bask in its warm glow until my face sweats. Give me a stash of friendly, familiar books, a stack of the fall fashion issues I never got a chance to thumb through, and the comforting sound of You’ve Got Mail in the background, on its 100th loop in my living room.
The most important thing you must remember, if you are going to be a proper wintrovert, is that it is a necessary state of rest. It is a time that spans the end of an old year and beginning of the new, which invites metamorphosis. Things slow down, and your body is given the grace to catch up with your life. You have time to think and reflect. Ask yourself: Have I grown? Have I outgrown?
The weeks I spend cocooning in blankets are not useless sloth; it is time I need. I swaddle myself as I mentally rearchitect, making sense of the year behind me. Swapping out linen for cashmere is an act of ritual, a signal to myself that with every candle I light, every down comforter I fluff, I am ushering in a season of change. By the time spring’s first bulbs break, I am ready to shed those layers and bloom in the sun. And when my leaves fall off at the end of the year, my inner wintrovert will step in and slow me down. Out will come the blankets, and I will know she has arrived.
See you in March.
A version of this essay was originally published in a 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine.
In The Wreckage of My Presence, Comedian Casey Wilson’s hilarious book of essays, she proudly declares herself a “bed person.” For the uninitiated, Wilson describes “bed people” as self-indulgent comfort-seekers who pursue the noble art of remaining horizontal as much as humanly possible. TikTok fondly calls this “rotting.” The nomenclature also includes the bathtub.
While the feeling of sanctuary is implicit, Wilson argues a bed or tub’s innate coziness does not negate its ability to function as a productive place where emails are caught up on, books are devoured, and even languages learned. In short: a bed person does not = a lazy person.
I think highly of baths. I take one almost every day. Lots of people argue the “ick” factor of baths, conjuring images of stewing in filth. To that, I say: how dirty are you? If it really bothers you, just rinse off afterward. I always end with a short, cool rinse! It feels incredible!
In the deepest depths of winter, a hot bath is where it’s at — and I would never want anyone to miss out on one of the cold weather’s most sacred rituals. It’ll warm your bones, soothe your muscles, calm your aches, and perhaps even deflate a little bloat. And since everyone’s got some kind of bug right now, I’ll vouch that a bath also feels pretty amazing when you’re sick.
Here are the things I consider absolutely essential for any serious bather: