10 Healthier Ways to Beat Winter Boredom and the Winter Blues
The long, cold days of winter can lead to boredom and the winter blues for many people. Shorter daylight hours limit time spent outdoors, and frigid temperatures make it less appealing to participate in cold weather activities. The monotony of being stuck inside can cause restlessness, lack of motivation, irritability, and sadness.
Instead of turning to unhealthy habits like overeating, drinking alcohol, or binge-watching TV, there are many healthier and more active ways to cope with winter boredom. Here are 10 ideas to beat the winter blues and make the most of the colder months:
1. Embrace Hygge: The Danish Secret to Winter Contentment
Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish philosophy of coziness and comfort that helps Danes embrace and find joy in the long winters. Adopting hygge practices can add warmth, meaning, and community to the winter months.
Some ideas to create hygge in your home include:
- Lighting candles and sitting near a fireplace
- Drinking warm drinks like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate
- Wrapping up in warm blankets and slippers
- Spending quality time with loved ones or friends
- Enjoying simple but nourishing foods like stews, baked goods, or porridge
- Reading books, doing puzzles, or playing board games
- Decorating your home with fairy lights, pinecones, garlands, etc.
- Listening to soothing music like jazz or classical
Hygge is about slowing down, disconnecting from technology, and appreciating the simple pleasures of home. This Danish secret to enjoying winter can help beat boredom and negativity.
2. Take Up Indoor Physical Activities
Exercising and staying active is vital for both physical and mental health, especially during the winter when it’s tougher to get outside. Take up an indoor physical activity to stimulate your body and mind.
Great options include:
- Joining a gym for access to equipment, classes, pools, etc.
- Trying workout videos or apps like Peloton, Daily Burn, Nike Training Club
- Practicing yoga, either in classes or at home with YouTube tutorials
- Dancing to fun music playlists in your living room
- Buying an under-desk bike pedaler or treadmill for passive exercise
- Jumping on a rebounder trampoline for easy cardio
- Lifting weights or resistance bands
- Roller skating or indoor skateboarding
- Punching bags for boxing workouts at home
Even short bursts of exercise can boost your mood, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and prevent weight gain during the winter.
3. Learn or Practice a New Skill
The long winter months present the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill or reignite a long-lost hobby. Challenging your brain with new activities promotes neuroplasticity, fights depression, and boosts confidence.
- Learning a new language through apps, audio programs, or local classes
- Trying your hand at arts like painting, drawing, pottery, or knitting
- Picking up an instrument like guitar, piano, drums, etc.
- Joining a community class on cooking, baking, mixology, or food preservation
- Learning graphic design, photography, or video editing via online tutorials
- Starting a DIY project around the house like woodworking, tiling, auto repair
- Coding through interactive websites like CodeAcademy or Khan Academy
- Reading a personal development or skill-building book each month
Identify a skill you’ve always wanted to develop, and set aside time each week to practice and improve. These meaningful activities can give a sense of purpose during the winter.
4. Do Some Indoor Volunteering or Give Back to Your Community
Volunteering provides a sense of meaning and connection to others, which is beneficial for mental health. In the winter, look for opportunities to give back right from your home.
Some indoor volunteer ideas include:
- Tutoring or mentoring students online
- Transcribing or reading books to help digitize content
- Writing letters or making cards for hospital patients or elderly neighbors
- Teaching a virtual class on a skill or hobby you’re passionate about
- Helping charities with administrative tasks, email marketing, graphic design
- Assisting nonprofits with telephone or online outreach
- Pet fostering for animal rescue groups
- Donating extra blankets, clothes, or canned goods to a local shelter
Even small acts of kindness can lift your spirits, help beat boredom, and strengthen your community during the cold months.
5. Reconnect with Friends You’ve Lost Touch With
Winter can feel socially isolating, especially if you’re used to more outdoor summertime gatherings and activities with friends. Combat the winter blues by reconnecting with friends you’ve lost touch with.
Make a list of friends you miss and reach out to them via:
- Personalized texts or emails to catch up
- Video calls over FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.
- Handwritten letters or care packages
- Virtual game nights or movie watching via apps
- Planning future in-person meetups like hikes or concert dates
Rekindling old friendships and sharing laughter and memories together is a great boredom buster during long winter days and nights.
6. Immerse Yourself in Culture From Home
One perk of winter is getting to partake in cultural experiences right from your home through technology. Combat boredom by immersing yourself in art, music, literature, and more without leaving the house.
Ideas for virtual culture include:
- Touring museums around the world through virtual exhibits
- Watching opera, theater, and ballet performances online
- Attending virtual film festivals or foreign cinema screenings
- Listening to new genres of music through apps like Spotify
- Reading eBooks from the library on your tablet
- Exploring street views of famous locations with Google Earth
- Experiencing new cuisine through online cooking tutorials
- Participating in a virtual book club
- Streaming documentary films and educational lectures
The internet provides endless ways to discover new cultures and experiences without suffering from winter boredom.
7. Make Plans for an Upcoming Trip
Short, gloomy winter days are the perfect time to chase the winter blues away by planning an exciting trip for spring or summer. Research destinations, make itineraries, book accommodations, and dream about your upcoming travels.
Some trip planning tips:
- Choose a location that fits your budget and vacation days
- Prioritize one or two main locations instead of jam-packing the itinerary
- Read travel blogs, watch YouTube clips, browse Pinterest for destination ideas
- Make lists of sights you want to see, restaurants to try, activities to do
- Book accommodations and transportation in advance for cheaper rates
- purchase gear like luggage, cameras, hiking shoes
Having an adventure on the calendar makes winter more tolerable and gives you something to look forward to.
8. Do Small Acts of Self-Care Each Day
During gloomy winters, focusing on small daily acts of self-care can boost your mood and remind you to practice mindfulness. Little pick-me-ups like these help beat the doldrums.
Some quick self-care ideas:
- Taking 10 minutes to meditate or breathe deeply
- Curling up under a blanket with hot tea and a good book
- Burning your favorite scented candle while listening to soothing music
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Preparing a nourishing, home-cooked meal for yourself
- Scheduling a weekly PE Ö bubble bath or face mask pampering session
- Stretching your body with some gentle yoga poses
- Sipping warm lemon water to boost immunity
Focus on one small act of self-love each day. These moments of hygge and wellbeing make winter’s darkness more bearable.
9. Grow Plants or Garden Indoors
Caring for indoor plants and gardens can help you reconnect with nature during the winter and provides a healthy hobby to fill your time.
Some ideas for indoor gardening and plant care:
- Start herbs, fruits, or vegetables from seeds under grow lights
- Care for low-maintenance houseplants like pothos or philodendrons
- Plant a windowsill herb garden with basil, thyme, parsley, etc.
- Create a cactus or succulent arrangement in your living space
- Grow microgreens in trays for fresh salad toppings
- Display cut flowers from grocery store bouquets in vases
- Pot up kitchen vegetable scraps to regrow green onions, garlic, etc.
Watching your plants grow daily provides a small sense of joy and accomplishment during dreary winter days.
10. Join a Winter Sports League or Club
Embrace the colder weather by joining a winter sports league or club. Connecting with a like-minded group for cold weather activities makes the season more fun.
Browse local options like:
- A bowling, curling, or bocce league
- An ice skating club
- Indoor rock climbing gyms
- A snowshoeing or cross country ski club
- Local hockey or ice skating pickup games
- Badminton, racquetball, or squash clubs
- An indoor soccer, basketball, or volleyball recreational league
Participating weekly provides motivation to leave the house for social interaction and physical activity. It also introduces you to new winter hobbies to enjoy each year.
Keep a Positive Mindset When Coping with Winter Boredom
The key to healthier coping when winter boredom strikes is keeping a positive mindset. Avoid phrases like “I have nothing to do” and replace them with “I get to choose how to spend my time.” Reframing your thinking helps you view extra indoor time as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Focus on adding meaning, creativity, learning, and social connections to your days. Bond with your loved ones, discover new passions, give back to others, and take care of your mental health.
Before long, the winter days will start getting longer and warmer. But in the meantime, try embracing the cold weather months through hygge living, finding laughter and joy in the simple things each day.