10 Easy, Low-Cost Ways to Shake the Winter Blues and Get in the Mood for Spring

published Apr 5, 2021
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Humans don’t hibernate in the traditional sense, but after a long year spent primarily at home, many people are itching to stretch their legs and get back outside. As the temperature increases, you might begin to peek out your windows and doors, it can feel like a lot of effort to take a step outside. You may not be ready to resume an outdoor life just yet — and might even feel anxious about doing so! — and that’s okay.

Maybe it’ll take you some time to adjust to the great outdoors again, but you deserve to enjoy the beauty of the blossoming season. There’s no question that the season boasts a lot of benefits, too: You can exercise outside, soak up Vitamin D naturally, enjoy longer days and more sunlight, and access the vibrant produce that pops up each spring. According to a 2004 University of Michigan study, “lingering outside when spring arrives can be especially beneficial, with pleasant weather improving mood, memory and broadening cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts).” The study also found that this was particular to spring, not summer — so basically, the mental dethawing you do at the end of each winter isn’t just in your head. 

Besides the scientifically-proven benefits, spring evokes a desire for renewal and inspires rejuvenation — it even puts a spring in your step, so to speak. If you’re not comfortable going outside yet, the season’s arrival can still serve as an opportunity for you to shake the winter blues and start focusing on revitalizing yourself. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do, both inside and outside, to get in the mood for spring.

Credit: Anna Spaller

1. Take spring cleaning to a whole new (personal!) level.

People love to talk about cleaning everything during springtime — and that should include yourself! Carve out time to engage in plenty of self-care, whether that’s booking a springtime haircut, indulging in a face mask, or simply taking a long, soothing bath. Sip on a cup of tea for further relaxation. Trust me, you will feel more fresh, clean, and energized than you have in months.

2. Switch out your sheets for lighter ones (if you haven’t already).

Some days, I want to stay in bed all day. My flannel sheets have only reinforced that desire. Swapping out warmer, winter-ready sheets for satin, cotton, or linen ones can make a major difference in how you sleep and how you feel getting up in the morning. Truth be told, after I started using Ikea’s DVALA sheets, I woke up ready to jump out of bed. I stopped lounging and was less likely to snooze my alarm. Employing lighter sheets can help you move away from cozy days into lighter and brighter ones, too. 

3. Spend time rotating your closet so warmer-weather clothes are at the front.

Nothing can sky-rocket someone’s confidence like a good outfit. While I’m sad to leave the coat season behind, I’m so excited to dig out dresses from the depths of my closets and curate different looks. Get into the springtime mood by not only cleaning out your closet — and creating a donation or resale pile while you’re at it — it’s also worth “merchandising” your clothing so your favorite springtime looks are front and center. If you have the time, it’s fun to try on a few outfits and experiment with new combos… and then once the task is completed,  grab a coffee in your favorite outfit!

Credit: Nick Greenen
Bedroom view #2. The bike took all of the attention as soon as it went up on the wall; but, I decided it was the ONLY place I could store it.

4. Hop on a bicycle.

Whether you own a fancy 10-speed bike, hook up a tandem or accessible bike with a companion, or simply rent a bike from your local sharing program, there’s something about the crisp air and breeze in your hair that is reminiscent of the new season. Almost every person I asked for springtime recommendations suggested going for a bike ride — and Google Maps will even show you bike lanes and other features to help you stay safe and explore your neighborhood. And don’t forget your helmet! 

5. Go for a stroll.

I know, I know: But you took a “sanity walk” every other day of the past year! Perhaps it’s time to update that “silly little walk” to reflect the changing season.  Grab your phone or a pet and take them around your neighborhood or a nearby park. The best part about strolling is you can do whatever you want while you’re moseying around: You can listen to music, talk to a friend, take a work call, hang out with your pet, and so on.

The point of the walk isn’t to break a sweat — unless you want to. There are plenty of physical and mental health benefits for even a leisurely walk. If you’re itching for a “purpose” to your stroll, pick up lunch or dinner from a local restaurant.

6. Arrange a seasonal bouquet.

Tap into spring’s creative energy by arranging a gorgeous seasonal bouquet. I made a seasonal faux bouquet in February, and it got me so excited about the season ahead. Whether you’re picking flowers from the ground, at a florist, or in your local craft store, arranging a spring-inspired bouquet is a fantastic activity to do with just about anyone. If you decide to create a fake one, it can serve as an everlasting reminder of this blooming time for years to come. There are plenty of flowers that evoke springtime, too — keep an eye out for pansies, peonies, daffodils, or any other blooming plants as they pop up at your local florist.

7. Enjoy a picnic!

Picture it: You’re in a field lounging on a blanket, picking from a spread of grapes, cheese, and crackers, sipping on a glass of wine (or something else!) with a person (or people) you love. What else do you picture? Are you sharing a laugh? Are you basking in the sun and the slight breeze? How do you feel? Pretty great, huh? Go for a picnic; you won’t regret it. Just make sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines on hanging out with people IRL, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

8. Read one of Apartment Therapy’s recommended books outside on a sunny day.

If you enjoy romanticizing life, then you’d probably love to read a book outside, also in a field somewhere. For now, you may have to settle for your backyard, but reading outside where the birds are chirping is one of the most lovely springtime activities out there.

9. Create a playlist to put a pep in your step.

Music can get people through almost anything, including the winter blues. Before curating a springtime playlist, consider which songs and genres make you feel the most alive and ready to explore the world. The more you listen to your playlist, the more you will feel energized to step out the door and enjoy everything spring has to offer.

Lately I’ve been playing Spotify’s Feelin’ Good playlist on repeat, which includes timeless tracks like “The Oogum Boogum Song” by Brenton Wood and “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.  Other springtime classics like Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” and Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” are must-haves on your playlist, unless you prefer more contemporary music. If that’s the case, I suggest including songs like “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga, “Peaches” by Justin Bieber, “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers, and “Experience” by Victoria Monét.

10. Try out a new springtime-forward recipe.

Fruit and vegetables like strawberries, rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, artichokes, and more are in-season for spring, so why not get creative with all this fresh produce? Try your hand at a new recipe, in favor of light meals that taste as colorful as they look! Nothing will get you in the mood for spring-like baking a rhubarb pie or making your own strawberry shortcake. You can mix it up by indulging in brunch foods and refreshing cocktails, too!