11 Tips to Get Through the Mid-Winter Blues

mid-winter blues"
mid-winter blues
Source: @courtneynicoleramsey via #sharetheeverymom
Source: @courtneynicoleramsey via #sharetheeverymom

Winter has never been my favorite season—but every year, once it starts to get snowy and cold, I’m convinced it’s great. I get falsely tricked into this because the beginning of winter coincides with the beginning of the holiday season, so there are tons of festive things to do to stay occupied. Then Christmas comes and goes and I remember that I don’t like this season at all. It’s freezing, depressing, and the sun goes down so early—it’s hard to work up the energy to even go outside. The worst part is when you get a glimpse of spring, only to have it just be temporary, and be plunged into another long month of winter. Cue the mid-winter blues.

This year, I’m determined to keep the joy going as much as I can throughout winter and all the way until spring truly sticks. With a few intentional changes to my routine, I’ll stay busy and push through the season until the days are long, warm, and sunny. If your family also lives somewhere plagued with an endless winter, here are a few ideas to incorporate into the season to make it bearable—and maybe even enjoyable.

How to Get Through the Mid-Winter Blues

1. Find a regular class or activity

I’ve realized that it’s not enough to find a one-time activity to attend when the mid-winter blues start taking over. To really beat my lack of energy and tendency to lay around on the couch, I need to find a recurring activity that keeps me out of the house regularly. Otherwise, I’m likely to attend a one-time event and then fall back into my pattern of drifting off to sleep at 7:30 p.m. on the couch.

Ideas include a regular volunteer commitment, exercise class, or book club. It even counts to regularly be the one to get out of the house and drive the kids to their after-school activities if that’s all your schedule allows—use the driving and waiting time to catch up on a podcast or audiobook.

2. Create new traditions

We focus a lot on family traditions in December. But what about the other 11 months? If you tore through your holiday bucket list, keep in mind that family fun doesn’t need to stop during January, February, and March as we head toward spring. Brainstorm new traditions you can celebrate each month, put it on the calendar, and get your family excited for the activities. Think a day of volunteering, a Valentine’s baking party, a winter family adventure, and so on. 

mid-winter blues
Source: @breannapw via #sharetheeverymom

3. Spend time outside every day

It’s cold, but getting a daily dose of fresh air (and sunshine if you’re lucky!) will help improve your mood. If you’re home during the day, bundle up and circle around the block with the kids or the dog. If you work outside the home, try to get outside at least once during the day, even if all you do is take a quick walk back and forth across the parking lot. On the weekends, round the family up for a brunch date, sledding trip, or afternoon at the movies instead of lounging around the house from morning until night.

4. Fake warmer temperatures

Go to an indoor water park, plan a tropical tiki party, make popsicles, or maybe treat yourself to a frozen rosé or a shandy. You can also try to find a workaround to incorporate some of your favorite summer traditions into the winter—brush the snow off the grill and make burgers for dinner, use sidewalk chalk on construction paper, or use sand toys and snow to create an indoor sensory bin. Something as simple as lighting a summery candle can even help put you in a better mood.

5. Plan your next trip

The start of winter tends to be full of festive get-togethers and fun getaways. It can be a bummer to look at an empty calendar for the new year with not much to look forward to. So, change this. Take this time to plan another trip. Whether it’s a road trip, flying to a new destination, or just seeing some friends a couple of hours away, start the planning process now. Even if it’s not for a few months, half the fun is prepping and getting excited about future travel.

mid-winter blues
Source: ColorJoy Stock

6. Master a complicated recipe

Being stuck inside is also the perfect opportunity to tackle a complicated and time-consuming recipe. It gets dark so early—use your extra house-bound hours to work your way through a complex cookbook, use your nice tableware, and set out a gourmet meal that can be enjoyed over lingering conversation.

7. Check in on your resolutions

Remember that list you wrote up in early January? Take a look. If you’re like us, your resolutions may have included some items like “live in the present,” “let go of perfect,” and “give yourself grace.” Remember to be thankful for what you have, where you are, and what’s to come.

8. Take on a new book or streaming series

Sit by the fire with a mug of hot tea or a glass of red wine and work on a longer book or watch a streaming series that you’ve been meaning to forever. A great way to feel accomplished is to finally have read that classic novel or understand what all the social media memes are about.

9. Use the time for indoor productivity

Being stuck inside is the perfect opportunity to finally tackle a house project. Paint the kitchen cabinets, swap out knobs in the kitchen or bathroom, hang new curtains, or declutter and organize the basement with new storage tools. The rush of accomplishment and productivity will certainly help beat the mid-winter blues and the house will be ready for summer entertaining.

mid-winter blues
Source: @luckyandi

10. Stay connected

The start of winter comes with the holiday season when many of us are lucky enough to spend time with extended family and friends. But, once that time is over, it can be a challenge to regularly see some loved ones during the rest of the year. Focus on how you can stay connected, even from afar. Don’t let a lot of time pass before checking in. Even if there isn’t a specific holiday or occasion to touch base, plan FaceTime dates and send a quick “thinking of you” text or email. Come up with creative ways to stay close with those that you don’t get to see on a regular basis.

11. Appreciate this slowed-down time

As with various seasons of life, it’s OK to feel what you’re feeling—whatever that is. If the past couple of months have felt especially boring or unproductive or have, overall, fallen short of your expectations in any way, that’s totally valid. This time of year can be hard when it comes to the comparison game. Taking a break from social media can help temper this feeling. When thoughts of you not doing enough—in any regard—start to creep in, try reframing your mindset to instead appreciate this slowed-down season and the relaxation it can bring. The quiet and calm (and hibernating) of winter is important. When your social calendar is chock full of to-dos and fun activities again, you’ll look back at this time fondly.