Now that the holidays are over, it’s easy to get in a rut or feel overwhelmed by seasonal depression. Between not getting off work until after the sun has already gone down, and it being too cold to enjoy time outside, winter can take its toll on your physical and mental health.
If you live in the south, you know that summer lasts more than half the year, especially here in Texas, so when those of us who hate the heat get actual winter weather, we want to be able to enjoy them. So, whether you need to get out of your rut or you want to make the most of the cold while we have it, here are some ideas for you.
Visit coffee shops
I know that coffee isn’t for everyone, but there’s so much more than coffee at coffee shops. Almost every coffee shop I know has tea and hot chocolate, plus a pretty nice variety of pastries and other tasty treats. It’s also a nice, neutral place to meet up with friends. Almost any time I want to meet up with someone, we usually suggest a coffee shop to drop in to for a chat and a drink.
Do you know how many spas and salons are in my small city? Me either. But I know it’s a lot. Some with great reviews, and some with… not as great reviews. But there is no shortage of places to get a mani or pedi, a facial, or even a massage. Because pampering doesn’t just have to be about “beauty”. Letting someone else take care of you for a little while is so important because for that short amount of time, you don’t have to worry about anyone or anything else. And the end result is usually something really nice. And even if you don’t have money or time to go somewhere and let someone else pamper you, DIY it! There’s a whole sample section at Target of face masks and hair conditioners and luxury lotions. Hell, even the Dollar Tree is an option! Just gather up some products and a nice-smelling candle and let yourself relax.
Have sleepovers with friends
You all know how I feel about sleepovers. They are 1000% necessary, especially in the cold, bleak wintertime. Just thinking about sleeping over at my best friend’s house puts a smile on my face. Literally all of the things on this list can be done with a best friend and honestly, if you can, why would you not? Whatever stresses you have, sleepovers are essentially a cure-all.
There are few things as satisfying as making something with your hands and either displaying it or giving it away. Whether it’s a homemade birthday card, a hand-knit scarf, or a new weekly spread in your planner, being creative is a great way to get yourself to focus on outside stressors and to use your energy toward something constructive.
Try a new recipe
I mentioned in a favorites post this pumpkin chili that Kristin and I tried a few months ago. It was absolutely delicious, had been on both of our Pinterest boards for quite a while, and frankly just sounded delicious. If you’re anything like us, you have tons of recipes saved “for later” that you intended to make at one point or another, but just never got around to it. Winter is the perfect time for that, since it’s hard to want to cook or do anything with heat when it’s already so hot outside during the summer. Plus, forcing yourself to try new flavors using seasonal fruits and veggies is a fantastic way to incorporate locally-grown produce into your diet.
Try a new hobby
I have a friend who, for her new years resolution last year, decided she was going to try a new hobby every month. Some she absolutely loved. Some, not so much. But she really seemed to enjoy the discovery process along the way. Whatever it is you’re interested in, or interested in the idea of, give it a try. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up crochet. DO IT. Maybe you’re a fan of Hawkeye from the Avengers and want to try your hand at archery. There are places to take classes. Rock it. And if you can’t afford to take classes, find a friend who already knows how to do it and will give you some tips. Or, for something like crocheting – YOUTUBE! I taught myself very basic knitting stitches from watching YouTube videos and, with the exception of the materials needed, it was free! Plus, you can rewatch the videos over and over and pause and rewind when you need to.
Visit a museum/the library/local attractions
Even if you don’t live near a big city where there are big museums, finding a local attraction or visitor center is a fun way to learn more about your area. The library is also a great place to escape to. And if you’re going with someone else, you can each find/do your own thing together.
Treat yo’ self
Christmas is over, and maybe you didn’t exactly get everything on your list. It’s fine. Those are just for ideas for your family, and honestly, at this point, just being together is its own gift. But that means, you’ve still got a whole list of things you wanted (and still want)! Treat yo’ self! Get them for yourself and enjoy them. You can even wrap them up if you really want the whole “gift experience”. LOL! Also, if you got gift cards for Christmas, now’s the time to use them on stuff you love. Use it as a date day with your love or best friend and have a fun time out of the house!
Start a new book
When was the last time you sat down and read a book from start to finish? If you said it was pretty recently, good. That means you took time out of your stressful day to let yourself be taken away to another world. How fucking magical is that? If, on the other hand, it’s been awhile, now’s the time. There are so many small writers whose books are on Amazon just waiting to be read and reviewed. Shameless plug: my friend Kelsey’s book is on Amazon right now. If you like YA Fiction (i.e. The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Fault in Our Stars etc.), check out her book, You Will Never Be Him. I’ve become completely enthralled by it and only put it down because I had other obligations. And any book you love, please review it on Amazon. It’s so helpful for them to get their name out there.
Make handmade Valentine cards
Roll your eyes all you want, but I freaking love Valentine’s Day. I always have. We’ll get into that later, but for now, what better way to get excited about the holiday than to make your own cards a la elementary school? Even if you don’t have a S.O. to make one for (I love making sarcastic ones for Shane), make one for your parents, your best friend, or your pet! I’m totally making Pascal a Valentine’s card this year. Fight me. You can make it as personal or silly or messy as you want. There are no rules.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy the winter? Let me know in the comments, as I’d love to add to my list!