Help for the “winter blues”

I’ve mentioned and I’ve seen others mention having trouble with the “winter blues.” The excitement of Christmas is over and the landscape is drab and dreary for the next several weeks. What can we do to lessen “the blues” this time of year? Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a project — building, sewing, some type of craft.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Curl up with a good book and a cup of your favorite hot drink.
  • Plan what you’ll plant in the spring.
  • Write — a letter, a blog post, an article. Or start that novel you’ve been dreaming about.
  • Look up your family history.
  • Do something with all those old photos you took before you got your digital camera.
  • Volunteer — check with hospitals, nursing homes, crisis pregnancy centers, etc.
  • Meet a friend for lunch or invite them over.
  • Experiment with a new recipe.
  • Work through a DVD series of a favorite program or one you missed.
  • Do a Bible study on “cold” or “snow” or “winter” or some topic you’ve wanted to study out.
  • Write a letter to one of those people you only hear from at Christmas.
  • Go through that stack of old recipes.
  • Start organizing….whatever it is you need to get organized. Just choose one area lest you get overwhelmed.
  • Color in a coloring book. Incredibly relaxing.
  • Take an online course.
  • Play uplifting music.
  • Start a fitness program.
  • Buy fresh or artificial colorful flowers.
  • Hang a birdfeeder and watch its visitors.
  • Count your blessings. Literally.
  • Choose a composer or artist and look up their work as well as information about them.
  • Sing
  • Look for the beauty in winter. Janet shared once a poem from John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar whose lines have come back to me often this winter. This particular poem is “November,” yet everything except the “oldness of the year” applies to January:

The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The loss of her
Departed leaves.

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.

And yet the world,
Displays a certain
Loveliness –

The beauty of the bone.

Remember the benefits of winter:

  • relief from the extreme heat and humidity of summer
  • rest from working outside (for most)
  • fewer bugs
  • fires in the fireplace
  • oven meals
  • winter sports
  • snow
  • some plants need the cold weather to develop in their life cycle
  • anticipation and greater appreciation of spring

Here are some quotes about winter:

The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer.  I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood. ~John Burroughs

Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

One kind word can warm three winter months. ~Japanese Proverb

Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17.

Any other ideas for combatting winter “blues”? Any other benefits of winter you can think of?

This post will be linked to “Works For Me Wednesday,” where you can find a plethora of helpful hints each week at We Are THAT family on Wednesdays.

19 thoughts on “Help for the “winter blues”

  1. These are so good Barbara. My f-i-l just called and said he’s about ready to get out of the snow now; not me! I love being ‘trapped’ in, at least for another day. But after awhile, I will definitely be ready for spring too. In the meantime, we can look at your list and enjoy the beauty where we are.

  2. THANK YOU. I needed this post today!

    So many good ideas here, and the last photo is great. I can never get a photo with that lighting to turn out.

    I’m inclined to bake cookies in winter, but my husband has begged me to stop. So I’m very glad for these other suggestions! 🙂

  3. Great ideas and lots of them to help get through the winter. I personally love winter. It doesn’t bother me a bit. But I’m glad when spring comes around too.

  4. How about signing up for a water aerobics class at the gym? That’s what I did! Plus, well be headed for Hawaii at the end of this month and I will have a brief infusion of sun!

  5. Yesterday I was feeling the winter blues a bit. Got out in the evening for some time alone and am feeling better about today. Ready to tackle some projects and even curl up and watch a video with the boys. Just….keep moving!

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  8. I break out my Zumba DVDs when I start getting the “winter blues.” I also enjoy planning out my meals for the week: warm cup of coffee in hand, all my favorite cookbooks & food magazines around me. Listening to “Jesus Loves Me Radio” on Pandora radio with my 14-month-old is the best cure by far! Barbara, where do you live with all that snow you’re getting? We are in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and we were stuck inside all of last week!

  9. Great ideas, Barbara! I’m actually already doing quite a few of those you mentioned and loving it! Winter or not. (It’s never going to be winter in my part of the world…)

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  11. I’m reading this on a VERY cold day in Boston…. thanks for sharing! I used to suffer from major depression and less importantly – seasonal depression as well. I will never forget the way spring always made me feel like I was finally living again. These are all great suggestions. Thanks for reminding us of the benefits of winter too. I think we sometimes forget that.

    To help combat depression in general I have become somewhat of a fitness nut. Proper nutrition and regular exercise goes a lot further than you think.

  12. Wow, Barbara — what an incredibly thorough and helpful post! I’m going to bookmark it to look at throughout the coming winter. You have so many great ideas. I had to chuckle at coloring in a coloring book. You’re right; that’s so incredibly relaxing. In college, we used to do that during breaks in finals week 🙂 Here’s wishing us all a cheerier winter than we may be expecting. And you’re so right also about God having His purposes even in winter. It’s all circle-of-life, for sure. Thanks for the very welcome perspective!

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