Depending on where you live in this world, many of us are in the thick of winter. I live in the north-central U.S., so it’s snowy and cold. The shorter days mean it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I come home from work. The whole combo can be a real downer. But there must be some fun things to do in winter, right?
When I was a kid, it was great fun to play in the snow. My brother and I built the best snow forts, and my dad made a huge sledding hill for us in the backyard. Well, it seemed huge back then. One year he even made us a backyard skating rink.
Just writing that last paragraph brought back such good memories. So much good old fashioned winter fun. However, that youthful excitement of wintertime activities wore off decades ago.
Lately, this time of year I tend to feel sluggish and lack energy. It’s easy to fall into the so called “winter blues.” Logically, I know this season will end and it will once again be sunny and warm, but the winter blues still can bring me down in the moment.
“There’s nothing to do…. It’s too cold to go outside…. I just want some sunshine.” If you live where the winter season gets chilly, you’ve likely had those thoughts. I know I have!
For some people it goes to a step further and they experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It zaps your energy and makes you feel moody.
Make Winter Fun (or at least ok) Again!
Truth be told, there are some good things about winter. The way the snow clings to branches and nestles into pine branches, the crisp air feels fresh, and I do like pulling out my sweaters and boots.
Note to self: enjoy the season for what it is. There really are plenty of fun things to do in winter. Sometimes we all need a reminder to see the positives and stop whining about the negatives.
So if you’re like me and are getting a little tired of winter, join me in trying to change those thoughts by considering ways to bring some joy back into winter and beat our winter funk.
With just a little motivation, you can help yourself lift your mood and get re-energized. Beat those winter doldrums!
5 Little Ways to Make Winter More Fun
1 – Do Winter-Specific Activities
Make good use of winter by doing activities that you can only do in the winter. Go ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, or just out for a short walk. Here in Wisconsin we go to Green Bay Packer games in frigid weather AND we have fun! The trick is to dress for the occasion.
Set the warm blanket aside, and get outside! Fresh air is good for your mood and mental outlook. Connect with nature to relieve stress and gain new, creative ideas.
Yes, it’s cold outside and you probably don’t feel like going outside. However, if you bundle up and just get out there, it’s usually not as bad as you think.
Just can’t get motivated? I know, it’s a lot of work to get all bundled up in all that clothing. (Right now I’m thinking of Ralphie in his red snowsuit in A Christmas Story.)
Start by finding your most fun winter clothing. Put on a cute hat, coat, and gloves.
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Once you’ve got your winter clothing on, I bet you’ll get the mojo to step outside. Talk yourself into going a short distance. If it’s not as bad as you thought, go a little further.
Often times we just need to take a few action steps, and then we can get ourselves to keep going.
Get together with a friend or take your dog along for these outside activities to make it more enjoyable. And while you’re out there, take some photos of gorgeous winter scenes and let out your inner child by building a snowman or throwing a snowball.
There is one “yeah, but” to this idea, and today is a perfect example of when spending time is not a good idea. The forecast is for a high of -1 degrees below zero here today, and it’s much lower with the windchill factor. On these types of days, it’s a safer idea to go with the next idea. ↓
2 – Indoor Fun During Winter
There are many things you can do to enjoy time indoors. Keep yourself busy with things you might not take time to do during the summer months. For example:
- Snuggle up with a warm blanket and take time to relax. Enjoy some hot cocoa or tea while you’re all cozy.
- Get a roaring fire going in the fireplace.
- Bake cookies with the kids or grandchildren.
- Get that craft supplies out.
- Quilt, sew, knit, crochet… if you don’t know how watch some youtube videos to learn how.
- Buy an adult coloring book and immerse yourself – it’s actually very therapeutic!
- Binge on a Netflix series (decide on time limitations before you start!)
- Try a new restaurant.
- Go to the movies – complete with popcorn.
- De-clutter your closets (yes, this IS fun).
- Move furniture around to give your room a free makeover.
- Teach your dog some tricks.
- Paint a room and decorate with and updated look.
- Try painting, even if you have no artistic talent. Supplies are very affordable. Read how to get started with free online painting tutorials.
- Start a hobby blog (writing is very therapeutic).
No, these activities won’t fill 3 months worth of your time, but they will add a little interest to the winter months. It’s still best to get some outside air when the weather allows.
3 – Fill Your Calendar
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to. Fill your calendar with special events that you can anticipate with excitement. It might be some big vacation or it might be smaller evening outings with friends.
Other ideas include:
- If you have friends who live a different city, plan a weekend reunion. Stay at a hotel or invite them to stay at your house. (I love to do ladies weekends.)
- Plan a dinner party. Invite your friends over and get everyone out of their house for a while.
- Take a mini road trip with friends to a nearby town. Today we’re going with another couple on a winter drive to a specialty store about an hour away, and we’ll stop for lunch somewhere on our joy ride. It gets us out of the house and we get to catch up with friends.
It’s easy to feel isolated during the winter months when road conditions aren’t optimal and everyone is cooped up in their houses. These reasons to gather with friends and be a little social will help make winter fun.
4 – Brighten Up Everything!
Bright colors can give a little endorphin boost, so pull out your bright-colored clothes, lipstick, and even home décor. It might seem insignificant, but color can help lift your mood until spring arrives.
In your home, room color affects your mood. For example:
- Red can stimulate conversation
- Yellow can uplift and energize
- Blue is calming
- Green is a restful color for the eye and promotes unwinding and comfort.
Pick a color and hue that is right for your specific room.
More Cute Stuff – In Bright Colors!
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5 – Move it! Move it! Move it!
Get the ol’ blood flowing with some fun exercise. Exercise is known to help reduce stress, and Mayo Clinic reports that exercise helps ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Here are some other fun ways to exercise:
- Learn yoga using free videos
- Dance! That’s right, dance like nobody’s watching in the comfort of your own home. It’ll get your heart rate going quickly and it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when dancing.
- Join a gym or an exercise class. Being in a class with other people will help you be social and stay fit!
- Shovel. Okay, most people don’t find shoveling fun. But think about it this way – you get your driveway cleared and exercise done all in one sweep!
You Can Do It – Beat the Winter Doldrums!
With these tips, may you bring more joy to winter. Don’t let the dark and cold wear you down.
If you can’t get yourself out of a winter funk, you may want to take the following recommendation by Mayo Clinic:
It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.
Remember to check in with elderly neighbors, friends, and family to see if they need any extra help during winter months. It is more difficult to get out and about, and they might appreciate you running an errand, shoveling, or just visiting with them.
Daylight savings will begin before we know it, and that little bit of added day light will tide us over til spring arrives. There are fun things to do in winter, so go out and get started! Drop me a comment with your winter struggles or joys – I’m always looking for new ways to make winter fun.
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