31 Ways to Enjoy Winter (Now That the Holidays Are Done)

published Jan 24, 2022
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The holidays are done and over with and “real life” is back in full swing. Countless deadlines, ongoing work projects, annoying but necessary home maintenance tasks, social obligations, and that dreaded upcoming dentist appointment you’ve been avoiding — all set against a backdrop of cold, dreary weather.

If you love the glittery overtones of the holiday season, it’s so easy to get those “post-vacation blues” as you enter the new year. On the other hand, if you tend to struggle with the stress of the holidays, as many do, you may find yourself falling into a bit of a slump after Jan. 1, especially if this time of years triggers an annual existential crisis about the cruel passing of time.

Either way, both January and February tend to be difficult months for many people, especially if you live in a colder climate. But maybe these winter months don’t have to be so dreary. It might take some planning and a little extra effort, but there is still a lot of wonder to be enjoyed during this season. 

If you need some ideas for how to make the next few months more fun and fulfilling, take a look at these 31 ways to enjoy winter now that the holidays are over. 

Virtual and Outdoor Group Activities

  1. Host a virtual or outdoor game night. Bond with your friends over We’re Not Really Strangers, Cards Against Humanity, and this spicy game about how to respond best to late-night texts.
  2. Do a virtual wine or beer tasting. Rate or do a ranking of your faves, too. For sober folks, you could switch up the drinks to seltzers or warm and comforting teas instead. 
  3. Use the Netflix Watch Party extension. Watch movies together from the comfort of your own separate homes. Not sure what to watch? Here is a list of upcoming releases on Netflix for February 2022.
  4. Brisk walks. Coffee or a hot toddy optional but encouraged.

Self-Care, Self-Love, and Beyond

  1. Create a personalized skincare routine. Skincare is self-care, as the ancient proverb goes. Research the best products for your skin type and create the best regimen for you to be glowing by spring. If your answer to the question “what is your skin type?” is “what?” that’s okay. The internet is full of resources to help you learn, from the YouTube channel Beauty Within to Reddit’s SkincareAddiction forum.
  2. Rewatch your favorite TV show or movie. Rewatching TV shows and movies is comforting for a reason. It makes us feel safe and nostalgic, which is necessary for this time of year.
  3. Refresh your social media follow lists. Unfollow accounts that make you feel sad or crappy. Instead, seek out accounts that make you feel empowered, inspired, and comforted. Creating a healthy relationship with social media is beyond what you post; it’s about what you consume, too. 
  4. Listen to empowering, upbeat music. Hunt on Spotify for the best mood-boosting playlist such as this one I made called “self-love story.” Studies have shown music is a great way to lift your mood.
  5. Write. Your feelings matter. Your experiences matter. Write about them. If you want a bit of structure, a gratitude journal could be a nice place to start.

Body Movement 

  1. Go on a movement tour. In other words, find new ways to move your body that you actually like. If you don’t like running, don’t run. There are many other types of cardio such as dance, walking, the elliptical, or biking that are just as valuable. It’s about finding what you enjoy and can stick to long-term.
  2. Dance party in the living room. Dancing is a joyous activity, and science has shown dancing is a great mood booster. If you struggle to get loose, even if it’s just you solo in your living room, start with trying a few dance tutorials to get some basic moves down like these hip-hop moves for beginners. Think of dance as a celebration of movement and of what your body can do, even if you feel (and maybe look) a little silly doing so. 
  3. Stretch it out. It always feels great. Not flexible? No worries. This roughly 30-minute YouTube video by MadFit will help get you started. 
  4. Try an at-home yoga video. Yoga with Adriene never fails. If you’re new to yoga, try this 30-day series Adriene created just for beginners or anyone trying to start a regular yoga practice.

Personal Development 

  1. Learn about a new philosophy. There is always a new way to look at life, which, in turn, can change the way you live, too. If you’re interested in pursuing minimalism, for example, check out this documentary on Netflix. Does stoicism sound more like your thing? Great, Ryan Holiday has your back with “The Daily Stoic.”
  2. Read a self-help book. Start with the classics, such as “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck or “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. If you’re looking for a new release, Brianna Wiest just dropped “When You’re Ready, This Is How You Heal,” her follow-up collection to best-selling “101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think.”
  3. Find something bigger than yourself to focus on. Get involved with a cause you care deeply about that affects your city or local community. If you’re not sure where to start, research mutual aid groups in your area and go from there. 
  4. Learn one new word a day. Merriam-Webster actually offers a word of the day on their website. Bookmark it, return each morning, and expand that vocabulary! 
  5. Try bullet journaling. It can help you keep your professional and personal goals on track. Plus, it’s just a fun way to be creative. No one bullet journal is the same; each one can be totally personalized to what makes sense for you.
  6. Learn a new skill pertinent to your job. Get a Skillshare subscription and find a class relevant to your field. Or, if something else piques your interest, learn something new just for fun.
  7. Create vision boards. Use Canva, Photoshop, or another design tool of choice and stitch together vision boards. Vision boards are perfect for everything from manifesting how you want 2022 to unfold or to help you design a room upgrade. (Pro tip: Pinterest is great for finding images!)

Anxiety Relief/SAD Relief

  1. Write letters of gratitude. You can write them to anyone in your life, including yourself.
  2. ASMR. ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is definitely not for everyone. That said, if you want to try it, you really gotta lean into it. Whether you want to recreate the experience of getting your eyebrows or makeup done or really just need help drifting off to sleep, there is definitely no limit to what you can find in the ASMR world.
  3. Play YouTube cozy videos on TV. Like this video of a snowy evening or this fireplace crackling. Keep them on in the background.
  4. Listen to lo-fi playlists. Lo-fi is excellent for focus, stress relief, and relaxing. This YouTube channel called CHILLAF has tons of lo-fi playlists, including remixes from your faves such as Drake, SZA, Selena Gomez, and Doja Cat
  5. Practice radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is the art of not ascribing things as “good” or “bad” but accepting them as they are. Try saying these radical acceptance statements to get you started.
  6. Get a happy lamp. Like this one. Trust me, I live in Michigan where it snows until April. They help.

Boredom Relievers

  1. Rearrange your furniture. Give yourself a fresh perspective by moving around your furniture. This is especially helpful for those who work from home and need to shake things up.
  2. Watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch forever. Or that book. Or listen to that album you’ve been wanting to save for the perfect time. The perfect time is RIGHT NOW!
  3. Make Spotify playlists based on extremely specific feelings or situations. Not sure where to start? Spotify itself and users have tons of public playlists to inspire you. For example, perhaps you’re waiting for someone special to text you back or still experiencing teenage angst after age 30 or wanting to simply get turnt. If you’re experiencing any type of mood, there’s a playlist for that. If you can’t find a playlist that currently exists? Curate it yourself! 
  4. Clean and declutter your apartment. Marie Kondo was onto something. Even if it’s just one item daily, start trimming the excess. It will help you feel more calm and collected. 
  5. Get lost in a book. ANY book! Whether you’re into romance novels, memoirs, personal development, or YA fantasy, all that matters is that you read what you actually enjoy reading, not what you think you should be enjoying. If you’re not sure where to start, here are Amazon editors’ best books of 2021.