Things To Do In The Winter: How To Thrive, Not Just Survive

“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extra-ordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through.” 

Katherine May

It’s winter time, and for many of us, especially those of us who live in more northern climates, it’s a time we dread. While the first few snowfalls feel like magic, and the holiday season brings lots of joy to many, the season is long, cold, and sometimes downright gloomy. It can feel like a drag.

But in my opinion, winter isn’t bad, we just don’t know how to experience it. All around us, we see natural cycles in motion every winter. Life goes into hibernation. The trees go into dormancy, animals hibernate after filling their bellies with nutrient rich foods all fall, and deer grow their winter coats to keep them warm during the harsher months ahead. In order to emulate nature’s way of bursting forth with life in the spring, we must take time in stillness and intentionality, so that we may do the same. After all, we are a part of nature. We must grow our winter coats.

With this in mind, here are a few suggestions to help you find joy in this season.

a man holding a Christmas tree outside

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Because of the harsh nature of winter, your home can become your safe space. Winterizing your home can help you enjoy the season just a bit more. Adding color and texture to your space can help combat the winter blues when all of the trees outside are bare. 

  • Deep Clean 

While many people spring clean, the beginning of winter is actually the perfect time to give your home a freshening up. Because winter can feel very stagnant, you don’t want your home to feel that way too. Fill one or two garbage bags with old clothes and a box with nick nacks/junk drawer items and donate it all. This will help create more mental and physical space. 

  • Forage for Winter Decorations

Decorate your home with greenery and berries! This will help make your home feel joyful and cozy throughout the season. I highly recommend sprucing up your space with a garland or two, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. Learn how to make this homemade wreath to hang on your door! It will add a little joy to your everyday life. 

  • Fill Your Home with Blankets

Blankets, blankets, and more blankets! One of my favorite parts of the season is being able to pull out all of my quilts and wool blankets to cozy up in. This ensures that I always have one on hand for me or my guests, so that no one is ever cold. Plus, beautiful blankets add so much charm to your home. Keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores for blankets you love. I have found so many cheap ones this way!

  • Buy a Humidifier, or Make a Simmer Pot

Winters tend to be dry and this can lead to dry skin and a sore throat. Buying a humidifier or keeping a simmer pot on the stove can help add humidity to the air. This will combat the dryness that is produced by radiators and the like and will make your feel better. Add some essential oils to your humidifiers diffuser, or add orange slices and cloves to your simmer pot! Your house will smell amazing. 

rows of pine trees

Go Outside! 

One of the hardest things to do in the winter, is taking the time to get outside. It can be hard when it is so cold outside and so warm in your home. But getting exercise and spending time outdoors is incredibly important for your mental health. And because most people’s mental health suffers during the winter, creating an intentional outdoor routine is key! As the Norwegians say “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær” which means “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!” With this in mind, take a look at the list below, choose an activity that resonates with you, bundle up, and get outside!

  • Daily Post Dinner Walk

Great for your digestion and a good night’s sleep. Taking an after dinner walk outside every night is a great routine, because overtime it will naturally become a cue for your body that rest is coming. By creating a nighttime routine, your body will rest better, which can lead to better physical and mental health. 

  • Play in the Snow 

When I was young, I LOVED winter. But somewhere in my teens I lost that love. I chalk it up to me having stopped playing outside. Building forts, making snowmen, and having snowball fights were all activities I couldn’t wait to do once winter rolled around. This winter, I’m determined to play. Try building a snowman and decorating it with foraged goods. It’s good for the soul. 

  • Go on a Winter Hike

In the winter, many of us become sluggish. Especially those of us working from home. It can be easy to spend days inside without any intentional time in nature. This winter, download the app All Trails and find a hike near you! It’s a great way to get to know your area, while giving your body and mind some good exercise. 

  • Learn How to Cross Country Ski

This may not be available to everyone, but if you have trails near you, cross country skiing is a super fun snow sport that is far more cost effective than regular skiing. Plus, it doesn’t require having mountains in your area or the purchase of a lift ticket. Find a pair of cross country skis on facebook marketplace and get out there!

  • Go Winter Foraging

For those who miss foraging in the more abundant seasons, try foraging in the winter. There may not be as many plants to forage, but there are some super special ones. Keep your eye out for chaga, juniper berries, rosehips and more when you’re out on your winter hike!

Bottles of hard cider in the snow

Create Intentional Routines

One of the best ways to thrive during the winter is by having a daily routine. I don’t mean one that involves cleaning and work, but one that works around those things and adds back some slow intentionality to your life. It can keep you out of a slump and help you feel mentally fresh. 

  • Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill during the winter season can be a great way to express your creativity. You can try making hard cider, sewing, rug hooking, painting, basket making, broom making, candle making… the list goes on. Taking an hour a day to be creative can be a game changer. Plus, homemade items make for the best Christmas gifts.

  • Start a Candlelight Evening Routine

This has been an absolute game changer for me. With the sun going down so early this time of year, we rely on a lot of artificial light in the evenings. Most of the light we use emits blue light, which can really mess with your circadian rhythm. That’s why I have implemented a natural light routine. Here’s how I do it. After I’ve made dinner and wrapped up work for the day, I transition into using only candles as my source of light until bedtime. I usually light my candles around 7 or 8 pm. I use this time to put on an audiobook or read, so that I’m not looking at screens before I go to bed. When I am faithful with this routine, I notice a big difference in my sleep, energy, and mental health. Plus it is super cozy.

  • Listen to Audiobooks and Podcasts

Sometimes when we’re so go go go with work, we forget to take time to just be still. Many of us rely on tv to relax in the evenings, but after staring at a screen all day, it can be nice to take a break. Make yourself a cup of tea or cocoa, throw on an audiobook, and relax. 


Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply