Hillam colsig

Winter is here! This time of year is hard for me, January specifically. I really love spring, summer and fall, but this is the one time of year that really gets me down. It’s cold, dark, and the days seem to drag on. Fortunately, a few years ago I finally decided, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” I started trying certain things to make the winter months FUN rather than just tolerable. I know I’m not the only one who struggles this time of year, so I’d like to share a handful of my ideas that may help my fellow summer-loving friends.

So, without further ado, here are the seven things I’ve found that have helped me shake off the winter blues:

Exercise: This one is non-negotiable for me. I am a much happier, patient and fun person to be around once I’ve gotten my exercise in for the day. This is actually true for me on any day of the year, but especially in the winter months when I’m trying to keep myself from packing my bags and heading south.

Get outside: On the days when I’m really wishing for summer, I force myself to throw on a coat and get outside. Even if I’m just going for a quick walk around the neighborhood, it changes my mood (and my kid’s moods) instantly.

Try something new: I typically pick something new and fun to try in January. I learn a new skill, try a new workout class, or go somewhere I’ve never been. This year, I’m going to attempt to go snow shoeing for the first time and I can’t wait!

See something pretty: When I get in a funk, I will usually tell my husband, “I need to see something pretty.” Whether it is making my way to one of the many national parks, or just a simple stroll around Mantua Reservoir, it always makes me breathe a little deeper and remember what’s important.

Make a winter bucket list: People always make summer bucket lists, so why not make a winter one!? There are plenty of fun things to do. We try to include things on our list like: see the Midway ice castles, go ice fishing (well, that’s only for my husband), build a snowman, bake cookies, go ice skating, go to a hockey game, make a snow angel, rent a snowmobile, etc. It makes the winter fun and forces me to get outside.

Book a vacation: Whether the vacation is six months from now or six weeks, it helps me to have something to look forward to on my calendar. I feel like it’s easy to fall into the routine of doing the same thing day in and day out, especially in the winter, so it’s a great way to break up the monotony.

Winter Cleaning: I set a goal this year to go through my entire house by the end of March and throw out anything I don’t need. If I’m going to be cooped up most of the winter, then I’m determined to be cooped up in a clean, organized house.

I don’t think I will ever be a person who says, “I love wintertime” (ahem, my sister), but I’ve decided to at least embrace and enjoy the season. Like I said, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!