Beating the Winter Blues

Photo by my farmerman, RMC.

When I moved to Vermont, I was forced to adapt to long, dark, cold winters. If you are easily bored and occasionally inclined to get the blues like me, winter can be daunting. But surprisingly, I've grown to love winter in Vermont (seriously!). It took me a little bit of time and effort to figure out how to enjoy the winter, and in the process, I came up with a few tips. They've been helpful to me, so I thought I'd share them. 

What do you do to cope with the winter blues?

Ten Tips for Beating the Winter Blues 

1) Make a list of indoor projects to tackle by the first day of spring. That's right, start your spring cleaning now! Re-paint a room, organize your closets, bag up old clothes and take them to Good Will.While everyone else is busy with spring cleaning in March and April, you can be outside enjoying the weather and the sense of pride you've gained from crossing those projects off your list.

2) Start a supper club. Find a few like-minded friends or couples and take turns hosting. (In Vermont, Potlucks are very popular. Consider asking everyone to bring a dish to share to cut down on work and and expense for the host). The weeks will fly by as your look forward to socializing with friends and trying new recipes.

3) Try a winter sport. Even if the idea of riding a ski lift gives you nightmares, there's plenty of winter sports you might enjoy. Snow-shoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating (outdoors on a pond or indoors at a rink) are all fun and easy to learn. There's nothing like exercise to make you look and feel great, and winter sports are a great opportunity to have fun while burning calories.

4) Plan a getaway. Check travel sites for inexpensive fares to the beach, or simply book a night at a local hotel for the weekend. A change of scenery, however brief, can do wonders to improve your mood.

5) Set goals. Commit to reading the entire opus of your favorite author or testing every recipe in your favorite cookbook. Having goals, lofty or small, will help you feel productive and mark the passage of time.

6) Research and plan for your favorite warm weather activities. I am a huge gardening fan, so when the seed catalogs arrive in January, I get right to work planning my garden. Even if you can't actually do what you love to do outside at the moment, you can enjoy learning more about it. Passionate about hosting barbecues? Start developing your ideal menu for Memorial Day. Love cycling? Start researching new trails in your area to conquer after the thaw. 

7) Relax! Winter is a great excuse to stay indoors and curl up under a blanket. Take it easy! Enjoy the opportunity to sloth around a bit.

8) Splurge on little domestic luxuries. You're going to be inside a lot, so treat yourself to some new throw pillows or scented candles. A few small, inexpensive additions can transform the way you feel about a room.

9) Unplug from social media. It seems counter-intuitive to unplug when you are cooped up inside, but surfing Facebook or Tweeting the day away can drag down your mood. Real, human connection is so important right now. Make an effort to call friends on the phone, rather than messaging them on Facebook. Make a lunch date, rather than tweeting them back. Take the time to connect in person and build relationships

10) Enjoy all that is quintessentially winter. (Also known as "stop and smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire.") Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. Buy yourself a cute new pair of mittens. Build a snowman. These are things you only get to enjoy this time of year. Celebrate and enjoy them!

Courtney (January 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM)  

I love this list. Thank you! As someone who oftentimes struggles to see the beauty in winter, it is always nice to have some extra ideas of ways to embrace the cold season.

Alison (January 5, 2011 at 4:59 PM)  

Thanks, Courtney. Hope it's helpful. One winter I gained 8 lbs and became "THAT chubby grumpy girl." Bleh! Horrible! From now on I'm determined to make winter fun.

Tasha Lehman (January 6, 2011 at 10:51 AM)  

This is great! I just moved to Vermont and this will be my first winter here. I've lived in NY and WI before but I know it will take some time to get used to. Luckily I do love the snow. I'm gonna go follow you on Twitter now. :)

Alison (January 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM)  

Thanks, Champe! Tasha, welcome to VT!

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