Bad news: the holidays are over. Which means the festive, cosy mood of the season has dissipated, leaving behind dry air, dark mornings, and frozen feet. According to most people, we’re staring down the barrel of a couple of winter’s toughest months. January and February are notoriously dark and cold, and the result is often two months of Netflix bingeing and hiding inside.
But don’t lose hope! There are plenty of ways to live a happy, healthy, and even exciting life during winter’s coldest months. It takes just a little effort to avoid turning into a version of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining. Luckily, we’ve collected some tips to help you stay physically and mentally healthy during the long, cold, dark winter.
Go for walks
You may want to stay inside for the foreseeable future, but one of the best ways to have a pleasant winter is to go out into it. So bundle up, grab a friend (and maybe a travel mug of tea), and step back out into the world. Getting your body moving and taking in some natural sights will do more for your wellbeing than you might expect.
Take vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, and is also potentially linked to our immune system health, blood supply, and cell turnover. Unfortunately, our best source for vitamin D—the sun—is often a little scarce these days. Luckily, vitamin D is one of the most affordable and most readily available supplements, so it’s easy and affordable to make up for the missing rays.
If you have to spend a lot of time indoors, try to get away from your screens and do something that grounds you in the real world. Cooking can be a soothing activity, and eating healthy is essential for feeling good. So try out a new recipe, and make a big batch of something warm for a cold winter night.
Need to exorcize your winter demons? Journaling will give you a chance to get it all out. It’s also another screen-free activity that will help you focus. If you’re feeling locked in, you can always escape into an empty page.
Spend time with a dog
Dogs are winter role models. They love going outdoors, even if there are mountains of snow around. So if you have a dog, this is the perfect to take them for a lot of walks. And if you don’t, you probably have friends and neighbours who could use a petsitter or occasional dogwalker. They’ll love you for it, and more importantly, so will their dog.
Move your furniture around
If spending time in the same old rooms is driving you up the wall, why not change the rooms? Try rearranging your furniture, or switch up the art on your walls. It can be easy to feel closed in during winter, so try to open up your rooms by moving things around and de-cluttering.
Start a project
Been meaning to get started on your next big woodworking project? Paint your kitchen? Break out the pottery wheel? Now’s the time. If you’ve got a project space or garage, make it your retreat. Make it a goal to come out of this winter with an accomplishment you’re proud of.
Here’s another outdoor activity that will help you rekindle your love for winter. Zooming down a hill under an open sky is the ultimate cure for claustrophobia.
Try a light box
Lack of light during the winter is difficult for all of us to deal with, and for some, it can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, there are not lots of products available that mimic outdoor light and can help with the “down” feelings that some of us get during the winter.
One of the reasons people feel on edge during the winter is because they become very inwardly-focused. We tend to stay indoors, in between covers, and inside our own heads. So reverse that impulse and do some volunteer work for an organization you believe in. It will benefit you and the world you live in.