Beat the Winter Blues for a Happier, Healthier January


Christmas and New Year’s are over. Now it’s time for the winter blues to set in.

Every year, the winter blues hit me hard in January and February. All the decorations are packed away. The parties are over. It’s dark all the time and either too cold or muddy. Winter is a tough season in Vermont, especially for parents. By the time January arrives, I’m already sick and tired of snow pants, boots, and all the other cold-weather gear that piles up by my door. This year, I vow to take care of myself better in my two least favorite months, January and February. Here are my suggestions for how to beat the winter blues.

Make Plans

Make plans so that you have something enjoyable to anticipate. December is a whirlwind of activity, with holiday parties, special school recitals, and visits with family. Then there is absolutely nothing in January after New Year’s Day. It’s really tempting to stay under a blanket for the entire month if you have no plans. When I’m in the grips of the post-holiday blues, I have to commit to an activity in order to make myself actually leave the house. I’m always reluctant to depart in the cold, dark weather, but I always feel better once I get to my destination. Here are some of my favorite activities to beat the winter blues:

  • Date Night

I am horrible at planning date nights. I know I need to do a better job of spending some one-on-one time with my husband. In an effort to improve this situation, I bought tickets for us to attend a show at the Vermont Comedy Club. Laughing all evening is a great way to banish those post-holiday winter blues! Luckily, Vermont has a wide variety of theaters so everyone can choose shows they will enjoy. Or check out a concert by your favorite band.  The important part is to buy a ticket so that you won’t back out on plans when it’s cold and dark outside.

paint, brushes, colored pencils

  • Craft Time

Gather some friends or family and make some crafts! If you don’t feel like leaving home, gather up some craft supplies and invite people over to get creative. This is also a great option if you’re on a budget. If crafts aren’t your forte, there are plenty of options that will provide all the materials and instructions for you! For example, there are several options for painting pictures, some that include drinks to help you relax. If painting isn’t your thing, check out Drafts N Crafts in Winooski for other crafting activities, such as string art. Also, check out your local library’s offerings. They often offer craft activities for both children and adults.

  • Sign Up for a Class

Signing up for a class is a great way to get out of the house and get engaged with other people. I take a weekly tap dance class that keeps me energized throughout the winter. There are so many options for classes in Vermont. You could learn a foreign language. Learn how to cook that dish that has always seemed way too complicated. Pick an instrument and learn how to play it. The possibilities are endless! The winter blues will recede when you have a goal to work toward.

person walking through snowy woods

Get Outside

Getting outside in winter is tough for me because I hate being cold. Once I bundle up and force myself outside, I always feel better afterward, though. It’s important to get some winter sun. The simplest way to get outside is to go for a walk. Vermont towns do a great job of clearing sidewalks, which makes things easier. On weekends, take your kids to a sledding hill. If you’re more adventurous, try skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or ice skating. Vermont is beautiful in the winter, so take advantage of the scenery by getting outside! It will help banish the winter blues.

Eat Healthy Meals

I always feel unhealthy after the holidays, when I invariably eat way too many sweets. January offers the chance to start fresh with healthy eating. When I eat better, I feel better. In winter, I love to make soups. They help warm me up and they are a great way to use winter vegetables that I get in my farm share. When you have a busy schedule, make soup in a slow cooker. There is nothing better than coming home cold and hungry to a hot meal ready to go. 

pot of soup to beat the winter blues

Ask for Help

If the winter blues just won’t go away, you could have Seasonal Affective Disorder or some other form of depression. See your doctor. There are ways to treat these conditions, such as light therapy, medication, or psychotherapy. You don’t have to be miserable in winter.  And just remember: spring will be here before you know it!



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