25 Tips to Help You Stay Cheerful During the Winter Months

In August or September, when you ask certain people if they are excited about the fall season, some of them will say “No, because of what comes next — winter.” There are parts of winter that are exciting, such as the holidays, but there can also be gloomy elements to the season, especially if you live where the winter months are cold. The holidays can also bring stress. You may find yourself stressed about the demands of family gatherings or spending money on holiday gifts. And for many people, the holidays can be a sad time when they are missing loved ones or feel they are alone. With any of these situations, seasonal depression can set in and it’s difficult to see the sunny side of life. Below are 25 tips that can help you stay cheerful during the winter months. 

  1. Take advantage of outdoor winter activities. Go ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling, or just play in the snow and build a snowman.
  2. Think of activities you can do indoors. Work on puzzles or play games with loved ones.
  3. Join a local indoor sports league. Several indoor sports host leagues during the winter including basketball, bowling, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and more. Contact your local rec center to find out what they offer.
  4. Volunteer for a non-profit organization. Get involved in your community with an organization such as United Way, a local animal shelter, the Salvation Army, Relay For Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or Special Olympics. If you are new to your community, ask a coworker or join a Facebook group related to your favorite hobby to find a way to get involved.
  5. Enjoy your favorite seasonal movies. Watch holiday movies during the last months of the year, or romantic comedies around Valentine’s Day. You can find many of your familiar favorites along with brand-new options on the variety of streaming services that are now available.
  6. Meditate or spend time alone in silence. This can be in the car, in your bedroom when you first wake up, or outside during your lunch break.
  7. Take a walk. Bundle up and get some fresh air, enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise in, and help with your heart rate and blood flow. Take your pet with you to give them the same benefits. If you don’t have your own pet, offer to take a friend or neighbor’s with you.
  8. Go on a hike. Find a local trail to enjoy or travel to your favorite hiking spot.
  9. Do yoga or barre by yourself at home or take classes. Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility; helps with back pain relief; can ease arthritis symptoms; benefits heart health; relaxes you and can help you sleep better. All of these improvements can mean more energy and brighter moods. Barre is a combination of yoga, Pilates, and ballet. This style of exercise can help improve your balance, build strength, make you more flexible, burn calories, and improve stability through a stronger core. Joining a class in either yoga or barre can also connect you with a supportive community.
  10. Exercise with a friend, by yourself, or find a fitness group to join. You can join a gym or find workout videos on YouTube and workout at home.
  11. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Not only will you feel less alone, but you might also make their day by showing that you were thinking of them.
  12. Write in a journal. You can write a letter that you never plan to send. You can write a summary of your day or even your year. You can document the funny things your child has done recently. Writing your thoughts down can calm the mind by getting everything out and then letting it all go.
  13. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for. Focusing on your blessings and practicing gratitude can help relieve anxiety.
  14. Embrace positivity. Stay in control of your mind and try to consciously look at the positive side of everything. Ways to stay accountable can be surrounding yourself with people who are positive, having a conversation with a person in your life who does a good job at staying positive, keeping positive affirmation cards by your side, or following a social media page that provides positive thoughts every day.
  15. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Also, focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Looking at the positives will help you stay content with your life.
  16. Join a book club. Start a book club with a friend or group of coworkers or join an established club. Reading an intriguing story and discussing it with others can help you get out of your own head and focus on other things.
  17. Listen to your favorite music. Make a playlist of all your favorite songs from your lifetime or make a mood boosting playlist with songs you know will bring you joy. Doing this can help bring a smile to your face and bring back your confidence.
  18. Have as much natural light around you as possible. Natural lighting helps people be more productive, happier, healthier, and calmer. Open your blinds at home during the day. At work, find an office or cubicle with windows.
  19. Get in the kitchen and cook. Food can be good for the soul. Try a new recipe you found or ask a loved one for your favorite comfort food recipe. Certain foods can be nostalgic and simply make you feel better, physically and mentally. It’s especially important to make sure you are incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  20. Adjust your hair and skincare routine. Winter months can zap all the moisture out of your hair and skin. This is due to dry air from warming our homes with furnaces and fireplaces. Everyone should apply lotion on a daily basis to their body, hands, and face. Use moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Consider adding a humidifier to your home to help add moisture back into the air.
  21. Get more sleep and drink more water. More sleep has many benefits, such as being able to focus better at work and having a strong immune system. Drinking water is one of the top tips doctors will give you for various reasons. More water helps with hydration, energy levels, and brain function.
  22. Align your schedule with the changing daylight. If you’re a late sleeper, try waking up earlier than you normally would so you can be awake for more daylight hours. When the sun is out, take advantage of the sunshine by going outside for at least a few minutes each day, which can help provide you with vitamin D and boost your mood.
  23. Take vitamins that help with mood. These vitamins can include Vitamin B, C, D, E, Omega-3, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium Glycinate, and more. You can take vitamins directly or eat foods that are good sources of these vitamins. Side note: the oils and minerals in fish are great for your hair and skin.
  24. Cozy up in front of a warm fire. Staying in and relaxing by the fireplace alone or with loved ones can be one of the best parts about the winter months. Use real logs from a local supplier or purchase artificial logs that make it easy to start a fire. Having a fire going provides a warm and cozy atmosphere.
  25. Set a goal and work hard to achieve it. Examples of goals can be starting an exercise program or saving money for a specific purpose (i.e. smartwatch, vacation, etc.).