Wholesome soup, night walks and wearable sleeping bags: how to prepare for winter – and even embrace it

Winter is coming and the beauty of autumn – red and gold spreading across the neighbourhood trees; low-hanging mist; a morning glitter of frost – has an ominous quality this year. I don’t need to set out why we are all facing the next few months with real apprehension: almost every headline is doing that for me. The grim bonus is meteorologists predicting that La Niña may mean a colder-than-usual early winter.

But even at the best of times, I don’t think we as a nation deal with winter brilliantly. It’s something to endure or escape rather than appreciate or even enjoy. I personally fixate on Christmas, a frenetic emotional maelstrom – more powerful even than the John Lewis advert – of family, financial anxiety and festive frankenfoods. Then I lurch into some absurdly puritanical “new year, new you” regime for four minutes before giving up and spending months in custard-fuelled, snotty, grey lethargy. But does it have to be this way? I talked to experts to find out how eating, dressing, moving and generally living a bit differently might help me embrace, and even enjoy, winter.

“It can be really tempting in the middle of winter to shut yourself indoors, look out the window and go ‘Ugh, I don’t fancy that,’” says Linda Geddes, the author of Chasing the Sun, an exploration of the science of sunlight. But there are great reasons to go outside, in terms of alertness and mood. “When you’re exposed to bright light, the part of your brain involved with waking you up and making you