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How Will You Stay Cheerful This Winter?

7 ways to beat the winter blues

The other day, I was talking to my therapist about…

…the approaching winter. The days are already getting colder and shorter, and, as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I’m hoping to keep spirits up during these darker days. I’d LOVE to hear what works for you, and here are seven ideas from a few friends and me:

1. Gaze into a light therapy lamp. Have you ever tried one? Alex had one when we first moved in together, and at first I dismissed it as new-age-y and weird. But then I tried it (you just turn it on for about 15 minutes in the morning) and was shocked by how my mood lightened. You can actually feel yourself getting cheerier. I swear by it now, more than a decade later.

2. Take a steaming bath. “My winter survival move is filling my bathtub with extremely hot water and lavender Epsom salt,” says my friend Gisela. “During the colder months, I take a bath as soon as I walk in from the street just to warm my body — and then another one before bed.”

3. Get a stack of funny books and movies. Pick up essays by Jessi Klein or Samantha Irby, and watch Palm Springs or Plus One, if you haven’t already. (Any other suggestions?) You could also cuddle with loved ones: “My boys look forward to my reading aloud to them,” says Erin. “They change into pajamas, I make hot cocoa and we get under a fuzzy blanket.”

4. Light candles everywhere. Keep candles flickering in your bedroom, living room and dinner table, whether they’re scented numbers, classic tapers or these neon sculptures. Bonus: that amazing smell of a just-blown-out match.

5. Host a virtual soup group. A couple years ago, my friend Liz started a winter soup group, where we all switched off hosting friends over a pot of soup. (“Cauliflower is a favorite,” adds Gisela.) It was easy and bolstering, and this winter, I’d love to keep it up virtually. Just choose a soup and chat over Zoom while warming your belly.

6. Walk, walk, walk. “I always take a walk in the fresh air every day, no matter the weather. It’s the Danish way!” says my friend Lee, who grew up in Copenhagen. Cold air feels invigorating, especially if you’re bundled up. (“My hatred for East Coast winters dropped 50% upon buying a week’s supply of good wool socks,” says my friend Linsey.) You could even consider going on a legit winter hike. Says Linsey: “My husband forced us to go on a snow hike last year, and though I am passionately Team Summer forever, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. We hiked up a stream with the coolest frozen icicle sculptures along the way. Day trips to the woods have been a lifeline for my mental health throughout the pandemic, so we set a goal to keep hiking at least once a month throughout the cold months.”

7. Keep an open mind. An anxiety trick I learned this year from Brené Brown is to not “dress rehearse tragedy” and instead consider that everything may actually turn out… well. Because you never know, maybe this winter will be WONDERFUL. :)

What else do you do to keep your spirits up? What’s your winter vision? Please share any tips below! Good luck to us! I love you!

P.S. Another pick-me-up: vibrators. And how to stop worrying so damn much.

(Photo by Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy.)

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  1. Renee says...

    I live in San Francisco, so no snow here but lots of rain (if we’re lucky). One of the best winter investments I made years ago (after putting it off for years) was buying a pair of tall Hunter rain boots. Makes going out in the rain so much more enjoyable. Winter also means lots of big pots of homemade soup and steaming hot bubble baths with candles and a good book.

  2. Michelle says...

    For everyone busting out the candles: remember to check your smoke alarm batteries and buy yourself fire extinguishers for your home!

    Having a knee-length down coat changed my whole attitude on winter — if you live somewhere cold, get one if you can!

    • Sandra Langeneckert says...

      Once we had a kid we switched to mostly battery-powered candles. Some of them are really realistic, and worry-free around little ones or if you fall asleep!

  3. Lauren says...

    Our puppy made me winter proof!

    I used to dread winter and was depressed and cranky for many months each year. Two years ago my fiancée and I welcomed a Bernese Mountain dog into our home, and winters have been happier ever since.

    Our dog helps me do all the things I know I should do – take daily walks, chat with my neighbors, etc.- without having to find motivation to do it just for myself. She’s also SO happy when she sees snow, it’s impossible not to smile!

    I remember reading in a COJ house tour that mentioned how a dog can “bring people joy”. I think about that quote everyday now. There’s just so much joy.

    Also I’ve lived in Maine, now reside in Boston, and loves to ice climb and winter hike in New Hampshire, so I’m happy to give warm clothing advice to anyone who needs it! I’m pretty good at finding awesome deals too :)

    • Ari says...

      This is brilliant! I hate winter AND just got a dog, so this is excellent news. I live in Canada but somehow never got a handle on cold weather clothing, so your advice would be truly appreciated. Thanks Lauren!

    • El says...

      So true, dogs are amazing for reframing the narrative around snow! Is there anything sweeter than playing fetch with snowballs? :) And for indoor cozy vibes, a cat in the winter is the ultimate cuddle companion.

  4. Kelly P says...

    I’m living in Cornwall, England where the winters are relatively mild but very wet. I’m going to do my best to get outside every single day, even if I have to put on wellies and a raincoat (this is hard for me as a Weather Diva who moved here from Arizona). Also, I’ve always wanted to learn to paint. I actually was gifted all the supplies too so I have no idea what I’m waiting for (other than fear, of course). I’m also going to give myself permission to not be cheerful sometimes.

    • Emie says...

      Oh, please do get out the paints and just start slapping it on paper. There is a certain freedom in putting brush to paper! No rules, just play with color at first. So much fun.

    • Jules says...

      Kelly P- How did you make that move? My husband & I (+ our 4 kids) would love to move there or anywhere in the UK or Ireland. I always see people on House Hunters International & wonder how on earth they were able to make the move!

    • Amy says...

      Jules, I wonder the same thing!

  5. rachel says...

    before freezing my tush off on another chilly philly winter day at the playground i put some LEG WARMERS under my pants and they made all the difference! i wore them every day after that. also, bringing a chocolate bar for my fellow suffering mom friends at the playground made january much more bearable.

  6. Sarah says...

    Such a good post – I need to save all of these comments! I’m a Minnesotan with significant depression and it’s literally currently snowing – oof. My list includes:
    – daily walks in warm clothes (best investments I’ve ever made were Steger mukluks, soft wool long underwear, and a very substantial coat)
    – planning distanced hikes with friends and thermoses of hot tea!
    – cutting back on the alcohol
    – sauna sauna sauna at every possible opportunity
    – remembering that the weather is different every day! There will be some bitterly cold days, some dark and heavy days, but there are also many warm(ish) and gentle winter days when it is lovely to be outside.
    – (trying when possible) to focus on the beauty in winter
    – accepting that I will be tired sometimes and taking a nap! take the opportunity to slow down if that’s possible.
    – trying extra hard to keep up with my meds and therapy appointments
    – taking up a hobby that can only be done in winter. My sister-in-law taught me to weave willow baskets and now I look forward to working on that every winter.
    – xc ski, or at least make friends with xc skiiers because they love winter so dang much. I am the world’s worst skiier (seriously bad) but it does make me more cheerful about the season.

    • Katie says...

      As a fellow Minnesotan, I appreciate all of this. Thanks for the tips….I’m copying them right now.

    • Jane says...

      Sarah, do you mind sharing where do you get your willow supply? My daughter and I are interested in learning. Thank you!

    • S says...

      Another Minnesotan here (transplant)—when do you wear your Stegers? Do they get wet? And how do they do on ice? I’ve been thinking about taking the plunge bc I am tired of having cold feet. But I am a little confused about when to wear heavy boots with the rubber part around the feet (like Sorels) vs lighter fluffier boots like the Stegers! Is there such a thing as a single pair of boots that will work for the whole winter including the slushy days and also the super cold days?

      Thank you for all the wonderful tips! I’m struggling with feelings of depression and apprehension about this winter, and am encouraged by all of your comments!

  7. Nina says...

    I got my first set of thermals last month for sleeping in during a fall camping trip. I always figured I didn’t need thermals since we have pretty mild winters here (temperature only occasionally drops to freezing), but I was very very wrong. They are so cosy and warm for lounging around the house and make it so much easier to dress appropriately for the outside when we do have a chilly day.

  8. Daniela says...

    I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it is full-on springy weather here at the moment. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder so I feel you. My fall/winter season was pretty shitty, considering that covid complicated everything. I found it really really hard to feel better but when I was motivated, what helped me most was:
    – waking up early (it doesn’t come naturally to me, but when I made the effort it was so worth it) and made myself a delicious breakfast
    – reading for a while before going to work, (I work in the pharmaceutical industry so sheltering in place was not always an option; I go to work every other day).
    – When I work from home, applying a little make up made me feel SO much better
    – getting dressed for the day but making comfort a priority
    – Basically having a routine of some sort! And having something exciting to look forward to everyday.
    – also: GO ON A WALK! I cannot stress this enough. Of course, it won’t be a thing every day because of the weather but whenever possible, I would go out for a walk around my neighborhood and it did wonders for my mood.

    I know none of this tips are groundbreaking but they work for me.
    Sending you lots of love and warm hugs :)

  9. Mona Cardwell says...

    I live at the 45th parallel so here goes: white twinkle lights around the window frames from October through April, Glerups with rubber soles so I can run out and grab the newspaper in the morning, soothing background music, stacks of distracting British, Italian or Irish detective novels with female leads (Elly Griffith/Ruth Galloway, Tana French, Donna Leon/Brunetti, Ann Cleaves) and magazines that focus on gardening and minimalist décor; wearing thermal underwear for pjs topped with an old cashmere sweater and a big wool challis scarf, extra warm socks, endless cups of tea (I like to mix a little green tea with Earl Grey), mixing a half bag of hot chocolate mix into a half mug of black coffee, lots of baking and making soups/casseroles, having a special Sunday afternoon meal of a roast or Bolognese, candles, jigsaw puzzles on a dedicated table, lots of Scandi-noir TV shows, planning something special every few months or so to have something to look forward to, a small glass of Grand Marnier for a sore throat, heating up the bathroom with a space heater before showering, those weird contraptions you put on the outside of your boots in order to not slip on icy walks (they are at Costco right now); Costco also has some great Danskin leggings that are extra thick and nice quality, buy a few extra pairs of gloves (again, Costco) for yourself and the kiddos because it is such a drag to need these mid winter.

    • Chloe says...

      I want to come over! Sounds cozy :)

    • MCM says...

      Same parallel, and you may have just become my official winter-time mentor :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sounds so cozy!!

    • Lauren says...

      Please share your Scandi-noir TV shows!! This is a dream list :)

    • Marnie says...

      Thank YOU! Needed this

    • Christina says...

      Mona, you’re my spirit animal.

    • Amber J says...

      This is getting me SO EXCITED for winter!!!!

    • Maria says...

      Adding all those authors to my Amazon wishlist. Any particular book recommendations?

  10. cecília says...

    I’m lucky enough to enjoy the pleasures of all seasons! Right now I’m truly enjoying the light and crisp temperature of early autumn and looking forward for roasting chestnuts, baking biscuits, decorating the x-mas tree (tradicionally I make my own decorations). From January to March hot showers in the evenings, cups of tea, blankets and films keep me going. There is always something to enjoy, we just have to look for it. Sometimes it is a lovely inspiring post on Cup of Jo ;)!

  11. Sally says...

    I’m a winter walker as well.
    I live right in the midst of suburbia, on the edge of a large and busy town, yet walking round the streets is one of my favourites. Especially on a weekend afternoon.
    I sometimes take a travel mug of coffee with me, which is delightful. And I just enjoy looking at the houses, peeking in windows, looking at the other folk out and about.
    Plus there’s also a lovely garden centre very close by. One of my favourite winter activities is to go there, wander around all the over-price merch and then check out the plants. Plus they have a nice cafe!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I LOVE enjoy peeking in windows, too. I know every pendant light in Brooklyn, haha.

  12. Kelsey says...

    Hygge, a Danish word that translates to something like extreme coziness, is a lifesaver. In the winter I hygge like no one’s business. For me, that means a roaring fire, my boyfriend’s face lit by candle light, a steamy Hot Toddie, and ugly pink fuzzy socks that I can’t help but love.

  13. Natalie says...

    Any tips on where to get maternity winter gear? I’m due in February and am guaranteed not to fit in my winter coat this season!

    • Kimberley says...

      Natalie I feel you! Also due Feb and, with not wanting to spend lots investing in loads of new stuff that has a relatively short life-span, have been contemplating which of my husbands coats will look the least funky!
      Answer: None. I look like a box in them all.

    • Jill says...

      I got a maternity coat from H&M a few years back – due in January so couldn’t quite squeeze into my regular winter coat. I was surprised by how warm it was for the price!

    • Alex says...

      I had the Seraphime 3-1 parka. It’s not the thickest coat ever but it will take you through all of the trimesters, and then has the zip-in pouch for baby carrying. I ran warmer than normal when I was pregnant and then carrying a baby also keeps ya warm and snuggly. And it’s stylish enough that I wore it for 2 more winters as a regular coat. This was in NYC though, so we’re not talking crazy cold.

    • Jess says...

      You can buy an extender (like Make My Belly Fit) for your current winter jacket that allows you to still wear it. Bonus, once the babe arrives you can still use it with your baby in a baby carrier under your jacket so you can snuggle and stay warm together when you’re out for winter walks.

    • Ess says...

      I definitely just wore my husbands winter coat

    • Katie says...

      I just bought an XL target coat that was nearly floor length and cozy. Kept me warm all throughout our minnesota winter.

    • AnneH says...

      Winter coat extender for your regular winter coat! I got one from here for my second pregnancy : https://www.kokoala.ca/
      Bonus : up until the child is about 2 yo, you can also use it for babywearing. I loved having my little one with me under my coat! So cozy, and less winter gear on the baby (which is otherwise such a pain).

    • Mollie says...

      I was pregnant last winter and also didn’t want to buy a maternity coat, but was going to miss my down jacket so much – I love down jackets, they are so cozy and needed in upstate NY. Costco had $50 Eddie Bauer down jackets so I got one in XL and it was awesome. I was due in early March, and it fit me the whole time. Also, once you’re that pregnant, you won’t be quite as cold as you normally would be.

  14. Sasha L says...

    Lifelong Montanan here. Every winter I use a Happy Light and take vitamin D drops. I love good smells so baking bread is particularly wonderful in the winter- the oven heats up the house too. Also a heated blanket for the couch and lots of pets. Crocs with Darn Tough socks. Homemade beeswax candles. Meditation every morning by candlelight. I teach play school, and the little ones need outside time every day, whether I feel like going out or not, which is good for me. We play outside a ton. Same for dog walks, they want to go no matter the weather. On weekends my husband and I hike and I love it so much in the winter. It’s not so cold when you are climbing and most days there’s no one else there and I love solitude. Soup, bread, casseroles, all the yummy baked goods. Yoga. Cozy sweaters. The satisfaction of a beautifully snow blown drive way. Balaclavas! Just sitting in the sun and soaking it all in on a cold cold day (I’m lucky that the sun shines almost every day here, even though the days are ridiculously short).

    And on really lucky years, a vacation to Costa Rica in February. It’s amazing how much winter you can do when you know you are getting the beach and a Tico Mulatto drink and warm sun on your face.

    • Lauren says...

      “Crocs with Darn Tough socks”

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! It’s certainly not my most stylish, but I find this combo so cozy in the winter time :)

  15. Elizabeth says...

    Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. I’m normally not a supplement person, but I found it’s a real boost for my mood in winter. And if course, getting outside as much as possible!

    • Kate says...

      Yes – get the D3 (not D2) and have your blood levels checked. Huge huge difference.

  16. Emma says...

    I also find candles to be very helpful. I think it’s because they feel alive and kind of help in the way a pet is supposed to. In a small way. My sophomore roommate bought a beta fish and that really helped all four of us get through a Utah winter! I’m planning on buying a huge floodlight so I can still play outside with my boys after a work day.

  17. Helen says...

    LL – I will be making sure that I have rain proof clothes so I don’t use the rain as an excuse for not leaving the house. Seems obvious but I needed to read your comment to remember the importance of not letting excuses get in the way of taking walks!

  18. allison says...

    I’ve worked from home for 8 years – and for those newly in that situation – one of the greatest things about some winter days is not having to go outside if you don’t want to. -40C windchill? Snow/ice storm? That sucks, but at least I don’t have to commute (sympathies to those who do).

    While I have a moderate list of things that’ll make me happy: Hallmark Christmas movies, hot cappuccino (google microwave milk foam – it’ll change your life), new candles, cozy diffuser scents, warm soup for lunch with thick cut buttery bread, the really baggy/cozy sweaters I always buy on clearance at the end of the season to wash and save for the next winter, and winter sunsets; but sometimes I just hunker down and be sad for the day. It’s more helpful not to force myself to find happiness than to know it’ll come back around in a day/2 days/a week. It started snowing last season on November 11th and the last couple of cm came on May 12th (MAY! TWELFTH!) while the sun came out for 2.5 days in January (yes, i kept track). That sucks. Like, really sucks. So I embrace the good days and don’t worry about the bad ones.

    • Julee says...

      I like your attitude. I also had snow in May where I live. ON Mother’s Day. IT SUCKED. But you know what? the next day was fine.
      Some days are just bad days and that’s ok too.

    • Jessica says...

      I’m so ready to try to make my own foamed milk!! Thank you.

  19. AR says...

    Please can you do a post on good winter clothes? I’d love recommendations for good socks, slippers that I can walk up and down stairs in and won’t slip, robes, sweaters and thermals. It looks like this would be of interest to lots of the readers, based on some of the comments below. I think we could all treat ourselves to some little luxuries after the rollercoaster of 2020.

    Thank you!

    • Katherine says...

      Winter style that doesn’t involve booties and bare ankles.

    • AMC says...

      Omg agreed on the bare ankles!

    • Nora says...

      This!

      Plus coats and boots that are stylish and super-comfortable. I remember a gorgeous coat I had years ago that looked like it was made of alpaca or something else luxe but felt like a bathrobe – I can’t find anything like it now.

      Also rain gear that doesn’t crinkle or smell funny.

    • Katie says...

      Yes, winter models not wearing hats. SMH, it’s -20 windchill here….I need a hat!

    • Amy says...

      Another +1 for this request!! I always wonder what people do for their bare ankles in the winter. What do you wear when it’s freezing out but you want to wear a ballet flat?

  20. meredith says...

    SAM-e. S-adenosyl-methionine. A supplement (I like naturemade) that is actually a prescription antidepressant in Italy, Germany and Spain. I’ve been taking it for years for SAD and it helps a lot. I usually take 400mg starting in late October and sometime mid February when the day length reaches tolerable to me, I stop taking them. This year, I felt like I needed them much earlier and started in late September. They really work for me. Sometimes I’ll finish a packet and then forget to put a new one out, and not take for them for a few days and I feel sad quickly. Double dose for a day or two and good as new.

  21. Mims says...

    CofJ Team, you deserve a humanitarian award for all the good mental health work you do here every day!

    Reading some of these posts inspired me to get off my duff and go for a morning walk. I normally have no trouble doing that….but living in Seattle what used to be a 7 am daylight stroll becomes an excursion in the pitch black with side of rain. NO MORE! I commit to donning my rain coat and boots no matter the weather (unless gale force winds) and going forth.

    I also just went to the basement and brought our card table upstairs and set up in a well light corner of the living room and dumped out a 750 piece puzzle of City Doors….yes!
    I also set up my sewing machine in the guest bedroom where my vastly unfinished (8 years now) quilt is hanging, pinned to a old flannel sheet. I commit to sewing for at least 10 minutes a day (which hopefully will turn into more than that once I remember the joy I get from sewing).

    I realize, especially during the winter, I get sucked into scrolling through instagram and other places for eyecandy and inspiration. It becomes a pool of quicksand sucking me into a land of inertia and ennui. Must fight back, onwards towards the light!

    • Sasha L says...

      I agree Mims! This is such a good space for great ideas and lifting oneself up and getting one another with our struggles. Such a bright spot in my life for sure. Grateful for you CoJ team ♥️

  22. Kristen says...

    I have been thinking about this post for a few days and am inspired to invest in some cozy winter gear. What are your favorite warm robes and slippers for winter?

    • Hillary says...

      My favorite slippers are LL Bean’s Wicked Good slippers. The lining is so cozy but doesn’t make my feet sweat and they have rubber soles so I don’t slide around wood or tile floors.

    • S says...

      Glerups booties! Love how I don’t get cold ankles anymore.

  23. ami_in_germany says...

    Instead of 25 days of Christmas, it is 72 days of Christmas this year :D I started playing christmas music yesterday and made hot chocolate today. I say do what helps you get you through the day. Even our shops have already started selling christmas cookies and sweets. Now, all I need is snow. I absolutely love snow and cold, so I hope I see some white this year in Germany :)
    I have also started doing yoga in the mornings, which is a nice change.

  24. Olivia says...

    Oh no! My question seeking proper winter attire was one of the ones that got deleted in the COJ computer reboot. I know when I checked there were a lot of wonderful, helpful, and compassionate responses but I didn’t have time to copy them down before they were all deleted too :( If anyone reads this, please resend!

    I’m looking for specific brand recommendations for warm winter clothes. I struggle with SAD and I try to go out side everyday to embrace breathe some fresh air and maybe even catch a sunbeam.

    The thing is, layering makes me anxious. (I recall lots of amazing readers commiserated and had great suggestions for this – please help and repost!) Even a long sleeved shirt under a sweater makes me panic. It’s a sensory thing, it feels like I am being constricted.

    Thank you COJ readers <3

    • M says...

      Hi Olivia! A few years ago I got a big coat from Lands’ End because I was tired of always being slightly chilly while walking around—I can’t find it on the site anymore but I will link you to a similar one. It’s VERY warm (you can see the temperature rating on the site!), and with a very warm coat, you can get away with just wearing a light sweater underneath. :) Plus you can unzip as needed if you need some air. I hope this helps! Good luck to you, I experience SAD too and I’m really looking forward to getting outside as often as I can this winter!

      https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-squall-insulated-winter-parka/id_344991

    • Em says...

      Hi Olivia! I didn’t see your original post, but I have to share these leggings – they are my favorite winter clothing purchase! They’re warm enough for 80% of my outdoor activities (I’m in Minnesota), and they’re so much more comfortable than standard snowpants because they have stretch! If I’m doing something wet or if it’s really windy, I will add a pair of windproof, waterproof pants over the top, but that’s usually not necessary!

      https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/121636?page=primaloft-thermastretch-fleece-tights-misses&bc=&feat=fleece%20leggings-SR0&csp=a&searchTerm=fleece%20leggings&pos=4

    • Catie says...

      Oh no, my reply definitely also got deleted!

      I’m sorry for an abbreviated summary, but the tl;dr was basically:

      1. I sympathize! This happens to me with any constricting layers, at least, and so stretchy stuff or single, extra-warm layers are a MUST for me.

      2. For insulated outerwear and warm essentials, my go-tos are Patagonia and Smartwool. The other popular, great-qualitly brands I grew up with, though, are things like North Face, REI’s own line, Arc’teryx, LL Bean, etc.). You can get gently used Patagonia stuff on their Worn Wear site, which is also a super sustainable choice, if that’s important to you, and places like Sierra Trading Post or SteepandCheap often have their things on sale. I find good, insulated boots with a pair of wool socks keep my toes cozy (I’ve always had LL Bean with the thermal liner, but Sorel, Merrell, Keen, and The North Face are other great brands to check out, depending on the style that you like).

      3. Whatever coat you go with, I recommend one that covers your butt and thighs! This makes a huuuuge difference in my level of warmth. I have an insulated Patagonia jacket that ends just above my knees, and with a t-shirt and a wool sweater, it’s very toasty, even in the single digits. You can get a downy, insulated coat that’s either quite bulky or much lighter weight, depending on your preference, and they should have temperature ratings listed on the website. If they don’t, just drop a question into the chat and a salesperson should be able to help you with that (or snag someone in a store, if you have the option to visit one…they’re super knowledgable). If you want something more versatile, one of those winter jackets with a couple of layers that zip into each other would be a great idea. LL Bean, again, is a great option, and I know REI/Patagonia/The North Face have excellent versions of these, too. The outer layer will be windproof and water-resistant (for snowsports, etc.) so that helps a lot with retaining warmth, and because the layers zip in to one another and are designed to fit perfectly together, I find it feels less like I’m wearing multiple things/am a stuffed sausage.

      4. The importance of a seriously warm hat (that covers your ears! a bomber hat is a great option), set of mittens (keeps your fingers warmer than gloves), and scarf or other neck layer can’t be overstated. Do you have solid stuff in that department? If not, any of the brands above will carry great stuff that should last forever. They’re still layers on your body, but because they’re not adding more things to your legs and torso, hopefully they don’t add to the sensory anxiety…

      Good luck!

    • Simone says...

      As someone who lives in a place where snow is in the forecast for this weekend, and I can count on needing full winter gear well into March (quite possibly later)… investing in quality winter gear is essential. For socks, SmartWool is a great option. I’d say find 100% wool socks that aren’t too small and you find are comfortable. For indoor slippers, I like moccasin style, with leather.

      For boots – Sorel will keep you feet warm in -30. I also love my mukluks from Manitobah Mukluk, they’re definitely worth the investment, if you have dry, cold snow (manitobah.ca).

      For jackets – Canada Goose will keep you warm, if you can take the price tag. Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC.ca) is also a fantastic outdoor brand.

      Wear a hat, scarf, and mitts – always. It’s amazing what those can do. I have leather mitts, with fleece lining, that I wear all winter and they generally do the job (except when out in the snow with my kids, then you need warmer ones).

      In general, think about the first layer against your skin and try to have it either wool or something that’s moisture wicking.

    • Ada says...

      Ha, my reply got deleted too!

      I, too, get anxious if layered up, but realised soft, thin base layer makes this easier.
      – underwear : merino wool. Long sleeve t-shirt, longjohns or tights. (For brands: icebreaker, bergans, dale, janus an others). Or silk;
      – boots: pajar (never ever got cold feet since I got them), sorel, kamik, aku hiking boots;
      – socks: smartwool (if I wear hiking boots, i layer them too: thin ones and then big fluffy ones),
      – patagonia for outerwear;
      – befriend a knitter for a perfectly fitting warm wool hat and mittens. I got a pair of felted ones from a friend and even five years later they’re the only ones I wear all winter – wind and waterproof and sooo warm!

      The right clothes are usually quite expensive, especially if you need to but all at once, but I found many of them second hand.
      And I cannot recommend merino/wool enough: natural, antibacterial, great wicking capacity, warm even if wet and does not smell!

    • Erin says...

      Oh no! I think I replied w/ the kari traa brand – I love their half zip shirts. For some reason, a half-zip doesn’t feel as constraining. I do a wicking running tank, a half-zip in the kari traa brand and a coat. They also have cute matching pants!

  25. Allyson says...

    My surprising source of joy during *gestures broadly* this entire mess has been my four backyard chickens. My neighbor offered me four teeny fuzzy chicks in March and now Popcorn, Goldie, Vader and Chuck are my fascinating, flighty friends (who sometimes give me breakfast.) I’m excited to figure out how to keep them safe, comfortable and engaged during a Midwest winter. A project outside of my own worry and anxiety is critical to me staying afloat. I’ve also gotten more sunshine than I normally would because I enjoy sitting and watching them harass squirrels and peck curiously at me to decide if any part of me is a treat.

    • Aimee Whelan says...

      Chicken keeping is excellent therapy. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time over the past five years just sitting in the backyard watching their shenanigans. Pretty fat hens in the late-afternoon sunshine will boost anyone’s mood.

    • Lauren says...

      It absolutely is such a source of joy! We also got four chicks this Spring (one named Goldie!) who have brought a lot of entertainment and activity to our lives. My kids love them, and they are the friendliest little chickens due to all of the attention. We are anxiously awaiting their first eggs any day now!
      (Our others are named Baby, Panther and Taxi.)

  26. Sam says...

    Two things:

    1. Echoing some of the “don’t follow people who make you unhappy” vibes in some of these comments, one of the best things I did on FB was unfollow-but-remain-friends literally everyone but my sisters. I’m not in a position to quit FB entirely, but this approach (a) makes FB boring and (b) prevents me from being bombarded with other people’s good news/bad news/ridiculous arguments/rants/etc just in virtue of logging on, an experience I never learned to manage well.

    2. Pre-pandemic, in grad school, I’d have a “beat the winter blues” festival each winter, usually in February or so. We’d do all kinds of usual things (like getting cocktails at this bar we often went to anyway) and less usual things (like a “Cereal and Serial” party, sitting around a bluetooth speaker wondering about Adnan Sayed), all under the banner of “beating the winter blues” which made it somehow more excusable and in fact something we were simply *required* to do. Not sure yet how I’ll modify that for pandemic, but I’ve been brainstorming!

  27. Elizabeth says...

    I am dreading the time change.

  28. Caitlin says...

    I used to struggle a lot with winter. Five years ago I moved to a place that has very long, cold, and snowy winters. More intense than what I grew up with. Every winter felt so difficult to get through until my husband finally convinced me to try skiing with him. Once I got the hang of it, it ended up being really fun and now I can’t wait to go again! See if there are any “winter only” activities that catch your interest so that you can look forward to something special this time of year.

    Also, if you have the financial means, invest in some GOOD winter gear. That was another lesson I learned from skiing. The first time I went skiing, I only had my husbands old ski pants from when he was a teenager and no ski mask. I was cold, wet, and miserable. The second time, I treated myself to proper gear and it made a world of a difference! Whatever winter activity you choose to do, make sure you really dress for it so you can be comfortable.

    • Mike says...

      I agree 100%

      I’ve always been one to just tolerate winter, but last year I decided to amicably co-exist with winter. It didn’t hurt that my brother in law convinced me to get on skis again after a good 21 year hiatus, but it was like I had never taken that break. Now I’m looking forward to skiing this winter and sledding with my kids and snow shoeing and even just bundling up, throwing on my headphones and going for a walk around the neighborhood.

  29. Ti says...

    I’d love to see this as a series, maybe with interviews of people who live in cold places? “A Week of Outfits: Hygge edition” And I’d love to see

    • Ti says...

      Gah, hit enter before finishing that sentence!

      …to see more winter equipment/clothing recommendations from readers/cup of Jo team.

    • Sarah says...

      Love that idea! Would love to see how other people get cozy.

    • Lo says...

      Great idea, I second this! I am directionless when it comes to buying good winter supplies. Budget-friendly options would be very appreciated :)

  30. RBC says...

    Thanks for the recs. I’m at 51* N (#Canada) so I know short days and cold weather. I love candles, but with 4 small children, having more than 1 lit at a time freaks me out. Ikea paper stars to the rescue! I hang them in my house from Nov 17 (day after my son’s bday when it’s Christmas decorating time) and don’t take them down until at least the start of March. They sell light cords and small bulbs near them and I just love to turn them on at 4pm when it starts getting dark. Similar effect as the candles, but less fire hazard with little people around. Word to the wise: buy them AS SOON as you see them at ikea (which will probably be soon!) because they get scooped up and sold out quickly.

    • silly lily says...

      Oh I love the paper stars! I bought two last year (on the simple white lamp bases) and placed them on my mantel with pine for Christmas. They bathed my living room in a soft and peaceful glow, so lovely. I noticed them in the basement yesterday and started thinking, maybe they will come upstairs a little early this year. I’d like to leave them up all year but then I won’t experience the happiness of taking them out again, just when they are most needed — a real treat. I also recommend picking them up as soon as possible, especially since so much production has been interrupted this year.

    • Lori says...

      I adore those paper stars! I might have to get them out early this year. And your post made me remember to send some to my girls who are both in college. :)

  31. Monica says...

    I’m already missing the sauna this year. We’re talking about a backyard barrel sauna – it will pay itself eventually. In normal time, my winter ritual was sauna & sushi by myself. I will diffuse clary sage essential oil and maybe take bubble baths instead.

  32. Suzanne says...

    Hi! You read my mind, Joanna! Just bought my first ‘Happy Light’ and am going to take a lot of Vitamin D pills. My friends who take them in the winter call them their ‘happy pills.’ Thank you for all the recs. Could we make this a regular column through the winter? ;)

  33. Julee says...

    Living in New Hampshire, winters come early and stay late. This can be horrifying (I’m a west coast native) to the unprepared. Here’s what I do to survive winter:
    1. Take a walk every day right before sunset. It’s never as dark outside,
    You know?
    2. Ski and snowshoe
    3. Invest in proper, quality, snow gear; boots etc.
    4. Once inside, I light a candle for sundown. Every.single.day. Until spring comes.
    -it helps that I play many musical instruments and craft and sew. I enjoy the winter; it unleashes my creativity.

  34. bethany says...

    I had a really hard day today, and I needed the Brene quote as a reminder that most of the hardness is coming from me, dress-rehearsing tragedy and worst case scenarios in my head. Thanks for that, and for encouraging us to take care of ourselves. <3

    • Kia says...

      I hope today was better for you.

  35. Rhonda says...

    I really needed #7! About to have my first baby and I am “dress rehearsing” tragedy. Maybe I will start “dress rehearsing” a positive birth and post partum experience instead!

    • lf says...

      that’s awesome! sending great wishes! my sister gave birth 2 months ago! good vibes to you!

    • Julee says...

      Good luck and stay strong, Mama.
      Your baby in your arms is something to look forward to.
      Sending you light and love.
      Be brave for your baby.

    • Katherine says...

      Hypnobabies “Positive Birth Affirmations” are great for that. When you work on your subconscious mind and reshape your expectations it can make a big difference in what you experience.

  36. One wintery, snowy day 5 years ago, I was standing outside with an acquaintance (who I now call one of my best friends). We were volunteering at our sons’ preschool, during recess. I was complaining about how my husband begged me to move to a wintery, snowy place, and how I promised I would give it two years before we moved (we’ve now lived here for 10 years!) because I am ALWAYS cold. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to complain until I wore the right gear for the weather. She wouldn’t even allow me to comment further, until I purchased a long, puffy jacket and high, fleece snow boots. I bought both immediately and I annually purchase a few cold weather staples to keep me warm and cozy. It makes a HUGE difference!!!

    I also try to exercise everyday. Super important to boost my mood.

    And hang out with my best buds who encourage me to dress warmly!!!

    • Amy says...

      Do you also live in Chicago? :)

      What boots do you recommend?

    • Amy, I live in Chicago and spend lot of time outdoors. Here are my 3 favorite winter investments:

      – I got these shearling boot liners for my Sorel boots and they’re a GAME CHANGER. The tall liners fit perfectly in the taller boots and fold over at the top. They’re snug and incredibly warm- I’ve worn them outside all day and my feet never get cold. (https://eglifarm.com/collections/boots-and-liners/products/sheepskin-bootliners-adult-1?variant=30373536781)

      – Thin thermals to wear under your jeans. I got 3 pairs at REI (wool, silk, and synthetic) and they’re also a total game changer. I can wear them under skinny jeans and it doesn’t look or feel bulky. I also wear them to bed when it’s super cold out.

      – A Uniqlo puffer jacket. For like $60, it’s totally changed the way I winter. It’s incredibly warm, but super light weight– I wear it under denim jackets in the fall and under wool coats in the winter– it never looks bulky. It’s the perfect layer to insulate you and it can compact to the size of your fist if you need to toss it in your bag. I’m obsessed!!

  37. Katie says...

    Embracing no bad weather adage…any recs for toddler boots?!?

    • Lindsey says...

      Bogs are my favorite. They are pricey but easy for toddlers to pull on and hold up!

    • Liz says...

      My school age kids wore muck boots while toddlers – cheaper than bogs and kept their feet warm and dry. We lived in New England at the time, so legit winters.

    • Amanda says...

      Bogs! Not the rain kind, the winter kind. They can put them on themselves, too:)

    • Monica says...

      Bogs are great! We bundle them with wool socks or waterproof socks (amazon!). We also just plan to get wet and cold and have extra clothes and wool blankets in the car.

    • Audrey says...

      I live in Colorado and my 4 year old has only worn Sorel snow boots his whole life. Highly recommend! They’re great quality and he can easily get them on and fasten them himself which is a must.

    • Angela says...

      See Kai Run have been great for my son and daughter.

    • Kelly says...

      Here to reinforce the bogs recommendation. They last, they’re warm, and kids can take them on and off independently. I usually buy them second hand from poshmark. Since kids will outgrow them in one season, you can usually get them with minimal wear.

  38. Joanna Goddard says...

    A quick note to say sorry for all the missing comments! (There were more than 550 at one point.) We had to restore the site today and are trying to now restore comments. Apologies if yours is missing!

    • Jodi Eckhardt says...

      aw things happen! if can’t retrieve, could you repost explaining..then perhaps people could repost…it’s a great topic and given the winter that we might be headed into…i think it’s good to read what people are thinking!!

  39. Molly says...

    I totally feel you, Natalie! I’ve lived in LA for 6.5 years now and I always feel a particular form of rage when it is October and still way too hot + smoggy. I would love rain so much right now. It * should* fingers crossed come around November/December. Have actually been debating moving to the Pacific Northwest to experience actual weather! But totally- the grass is always greener!

    • Monica says...

      Come visit before you move! I’ve lived in the PNW for most of my life at this point but the winters still get to me. It doesn’t rain like it rains elsewhere, it’s just gray and drizzly for 9 months or so and eventually your bones get cold and damp. I love it though ❤️ with the proper clothing

    • Rachel Ennis says...

      I’m in Abu Dhabi!…. miss the seasons in Ireland.

  40. Jessica Stitts says...

    I think this winter my main forms of staying happy will also be to light candles everywhere, as well as dive into my spirituality and learning tarot. This is something that I’ve been interested in for awhile now and I think it may help ground me through the colder months.

  41. Leigh says...

    As a lifelong Mainer, my top 2 winter survival strategies are…1. Get the right gear! The right boots, the right jackets, etc. They don’t have to be cute, but they do have to be functional. 2. Get a winter hobby! I love to go snowshoeing, and when we get tons of snow, I remind myself that it allows me to do something fun!

  42. jane says...

    I love to watch extreme sports and mountaineering movies like Everest and one of my favorites, Meru. Anything Jimmy Chin actually. Extreme surf movies are also good for any depression but winter snow sports are so inspiring. The tenacity and grit of these people just puts your own challenges right into perspective and provides a genuine boost in my case. I have hardly any desire to do what they do but I LOVE watching them and being inspired to move through my own life.

    • jane says...

      PS: I also love morning candles at breakfast; super hygge, and always try to have a flower arrangement in a vase, which in winter is often branches I find outdoors and arrange myself. You’d be amazed how stylish bare branches from just about any outdoor plant will look with no effort, especially if they have dried berries or pinecones. They will often sprout leaves or at least buds and the tiny bit of fresh green really freshens up the stuffy feeling of winter indoors.

      I think the daily walk/run/hike is also going to be put into play.

    • Hilary says...

      Meru is soooooo good. Everyone loves Free Solo, but Meru is such a piece of art.

  43. Molly says...

    My best friend and I both struggle in the winter months, especially when it gets dark early so our mantra to try and keep seasonal depression/anxiety at bay is “keep moving!” We used to work together and reminding each other to do this right before quitting time made the temptation to go home, eat carbs and crawl right into bed easier to face head-on. Now we both have moved on to new careers, relationships, children, etc. and our lives have changed in every way but we still text “keep moving!” some evenings in the winter. It encourages me to take a walk or even just do something productive that keeps my body moving like fold a load of laundry (instead of collapsing on it for a “nap” ha)!

  44. Ange says...

    Don’t @ me, but consider a dip in a river, lake or ocean, if you’re near water. There is something about a brief cold plunge that instantly wakes you up and makes you feel reconnected in many ways. There’s definitely some healing power related to water and nature.

    • Tamara says...

      Yesss! Those cold water endorphins are so wonderful and after this year, even more needed!

  45. Alex says...

    I just moved back down to South Florida (where I grew up) from NYC. Problem solved!! It’s 84 degrees and sunny here right now. Though i am having some major FOMO swiping through friend’s photos of golden leaves and apple picking excursions…

  46. Jenny says...

    As someone who spent 11 winters in Seattle and recently moved to LA, I can tell you that the grass is always greener. I truly already miss my puffy coat and way-too-many-lattes-in-one-day habit (did you know they say coffee drinks are popular with Seattlites because of the combo of caffeine and vitamin d to offset the cold, dark, wet winters?) My tried and true advice- I agree with taking a walk no matter what. I think what gets people down is the lack of fresh air and the mentality of “well it’s raining/cold/dark, guess we can’t do anything”. You know what? It’s January. You live where you live. So, invest in proper attire (this honestly makes all the difference) and go outside. The upside? There are less people out. Also, embrace the pockets of good weather! I always hear from my friends and coworkers about how long it’s been since they’ve seen the sun, when in reality we had clear skies for half of the day yesterday. With so many of us working from home, it’s the perfect winter to take advantage of a sunny mid-morning. Also, winter sunsets are some of the most beautiful. So, you can get your walk in and get a good photo.

    • Em says...

      hahah “You know what? It’s January. You live where you live.” Is the exact tough love I give myself when I mope about the weather here in Seattle! It’s true and it helps. Put on one of your 10 raincoats and go outside, self! :)

  47. melz says...

    When I finally sized UP for winter jackets, boots & mittens, I was happier!

    • Alice says...

      THIS!! Sizes are just numbers, and having a coat you can wear a warm jumper under, and boots that fit thick woolly socks makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

  48. M says...

    The summer I turn 23, I made a solo move from my home state of Florida to Iowa for a job. I still remember my landlord showing me how high the snow would get as he pointed to the roof of the garage and my mouth dropping open. Everyone told me the standard cheerful advice: get outside, dress warm, embrace it! But by that February, my spirit was as small as the flame of the candle that they told me to put in my windows. A couple winters later, I went out to dinner with an Iowan friend and literally began crying over how I just wasn’t very good at wintering, that I couldn’t stay positive any longer. And he said, “Who the hell told you to embrace winter? I meet winter with the same negativity it meets me!” We spent the rest of the dinner cursing winter. “Those fucking jaded killer icicles!” “Black ice is black death!” etc. And now, I am a decade deep in Midwest winters and it is still the most helpful advice for surviving it. I fucking swear by it!

  49. Tamara says...

    I’m a high school English teacher too & was called back into the classroom in spite of soaring case numbers. Through the CARES act there is an extension of FMLA that is allowing me to take 12 weeks of leave with 60% pay because I have children at home who’s schools are closed & we have no other available care options. Health concerns & pre-existing conditions (pregnancy!) also make this kind of leave available. Ask your district leave specialist about it.

  50. Greta Mantooth says...

    I love Lee’s comment about walking no matter the weather! When I was starting out in my career, I had a long commute from my parents’ suburban home in NJ into NYC, including a trek and wait at an outdoor bus stop with no shelter to speak of. I dreaded frigid days until my mom presented me with one of those amazing sleeping-bag style puffy coats – a midi-length quilted parka with a big, fluffy hood. That coat plus beanie and Uggs kept me toasty warm every. darn. day. and I actually looked forward to venturing out like a bundled-up kiddo!

  51. Jamie says...

    Just yesterday I was lamenting the coming of winter. In my mind I kept hearing John Snow of GOF, “winters coming.’ It felt so heavy and dark. But, I love fall! The crisp air, it’s multitude of colorful trees changing everywhere, and pulling out the warmer clothes. I had to remind myself there would be no fall without winter, or spring for that matter! It changed my whole perspective. I lived in California most of my life and seasons didn’t exist. I do really love the differences and just decided to embrace the changes, winter and all.

  52. Emily says...

    Thank you, Jo, for this very important article! My work specializes in the intersection of public health/mental health (and I experience seasonal affective disorder) – let’s just say I think about this stuff A LOT.

    I cannot emphasize enough: GO OUTSIDE! Do it in the morning if you can, but anytime is better than no time. Daylight is critical for regulating our circadian rhythm, and our circadian rhythm impacts the timing and quality of our sleep, and our quality of sleep impacts our stress response and mental health…so important!

    Also: get a your daily endorphin kick through exercise.

    And last: our brains are hardwired to go negative. proactively fight against it – try adopting a gratitude practice to bring your focus into the positive, joyful, beautiful aspects of life (no matter how small) – even when the winter makes things feel hard.

    Hang in there. We’ll get through it!

  53. Rue says...

    Had a hard day today just because I was tired, and it reminded me that it really is okay to go slowly, on whatever, whether it’s a work task or washing the dishes or eating dinner or doing a workout, whatever. Maybe if you go a little slower it won’t feel as bad. At least, it usually helps me!

    Related to the steaming bath: my rental apartment has the saddest little hot water tank, so that isn’t an option, and I was so resentful last winter about it, until I bought a portable heater designed for a humid bathroom. Make sure you research it but my little space heater is magic. I turn it on before the shower to heat up my tiny bathroom and then I don’t need as much hot water for my shower. I also have it on when I brush my teeth and wash my face at night. Who knew part of my inability to wash my face had to do with being too cold?! That warm blast at my toes really makes all the difference when I don’t want to put water on my face.

    • Julia says...

      I also remind myself often to slow down, because I tend to do all the tasks in such a useless hurry, as if somebody was judging me – this someone is in fact only myself. My mantra is: The best days are those when all you have accomplished is that you have taken time. (I translated it from German to English)

    • Maria says...

      I have the same issue in my apartment so I’ve resorted to boiling pots of water so I can actually have a bath. It’s a bit of a production, but worth it!

  54. N says...

    I’ve been thinking about this!

    1. Make a HUGE library list
    2. Watch foreign tv shows that make me pay attention to subtitles/not look at my phone
    3. Early bedtimes and maybe try to finally become an early riser?
    4. Buy an electric kettle and drink lots of hot water with honey and lemon
    5. Buy tons of fresh flowers
    6. Send snail mail!!! Trader Joe’s has amazing cards for $1.
    7. Pray for great election results and then continue to engage, learn about my city, virtual volunteer when I can, and remember that people need help
    8. Stretch a ton
    9. Treat myself to new slippers
    10. Try a new project (house update, clean out a closet, throw away old make up – literally anything that’ll give me some satisfaction)

    Cheers!

    • Manda says...

      I am a lover of lists in general and I LOVE your list. Thank you for great concrete ideas

    • What a phenomenal list!!

      Also, I love that you actually wrote it in list form. So soothing.

  55. J. says...

    I stumbled upon this poem for the first time during April– sometime in the darkest days of quarantining when the days all ran together and I cried almost every single day (okay, to be honest, I still cry most days. But often happy tears!)

    Happiness by Jane Kenyon

    There’s just no accounting for happiness,
    or the way it turns up like a prodigal
    who comes back to the dust at your feet
    having squandered a fortune far away.

    And how can you not forgive?
    You make a feast in honor of what
    was lost, and take from its place the finest
    garment, which you saved for an occasion
    you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
    to know that you were not abandoned,
    that happiness saved its most extreme form
    for you alone.

    No, happiness is the uncle you never
    knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
    onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
    into town, and inquires at every door
    until he finds you asleep midafternoon
    as you so often are during the unmerciful
    hours of your despair.

    It comes to the monk in his cell.
    It comes to the woman sweeping the street
    with a birch broom, to the child
    whose mother has passed out from drink.
    It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
    a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
    and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
    in the night.
    It even comes to the boulder
    in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
    to rain falling on the open sea,
    to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

    I was moved to tremendous tears by this idea of happiness “inquiring at every door,” especially in a moment where I did feel– emotionally/mentally, if not physically– like I was asleep every afternoon.

    I pull this one out every time I am feeling so horribly blue and just remember: happiness will be back, and is looking for me, and tries so hard to be seen/found in the smallest moments. Hopefully it might help someone here to read this on a dark winter day, too. Sending big hugs to all xx

    • Julee says...

      Well this poem just makes me weep, every time I find it, about every three years or so…
      or just now. Thanks for sharing it!

  56. Amanda G says...

    “Cold air feels invigorating, especially if you’re bundled up.”
    THIS!!
    My friends and family think I am so strange because I really start to perk up when it hits the 40’s of fall weather and almost prance-y when it’s 30 lol! Give me a cloudy cool day and I’m practically doing cartwheels down the sidewalk in my down parka and wool cap and mittens. But I do find getting outside for walks, even short ones are good for my mental health. My best friend and I started a tradition of a peaceful Christmas eve morning walk as I haul my overly bundled son in the sled. Its a perfect way to set my mindset for the busy day(s) ahead.

  57. KT says...

    “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”
    -People who can afford proper winter clothing

    Does anyone have suggestions for good quality and inexpensive winter clothes?

    • N says...

      Costco has knock off Smartwool socks. Poshmark has TONS of awesome winter gear!!!!

    • Jamie says...

      I have found great warmth with Land’s End. 40% off coupons are really common with most catalogs or email. I moved from Cali to the PNW 14 years ago and the coats and boots have been life savers. And, yes to wool socks!!

    • Rebecca A. says...

      Sierra Trading Post has expensive brands for outdoor adventures at discount prices.

    • Joanna says...

      Buy used. I am in the “can afford” camp but I still usually check Poshmark and eBay before I buy a specific item. I’ve bought used Uggs and outerwear and sold my stuff (jackets, vests, boots) when I’m done with it. There are used outdoor gear sites and even REI is selling used stuff now. Also, I recently learned about Buy Nothing groups (check Facebook.) Mine is crummy because I live in a fairly small town, but I imagine it would be amazing in a city. Good luck :)

    • Rue says...

      Uniqlo! Their heat tech stuff is great and their jackets are excellent for the price. My trick for inexpensive warmth is that several light layers close to the body makes ALL the difference, even if it’s just your summer clothes. My winter uniform is one Uniqlo tank top plus one or even two Old Navy cami-style tanks, all on top of each other, with one sweater over all of that. It will seem ridiculous at first to be wearing three very light tank tops but I promise it works!! For the sweater, wool or fleece give me the most warmth, and I’ve had luck finding those on Poshmark, searching for brands like Pendleton or Patagonia that I know will be wool not acrylic (I find acrylic way less warm). Then a Uniqlo down jacket, plus hat/scarf/mittens, and you’re ready to go. I know it’s hard to get all of those things at once, but over the length of the winter you might be able to get each one.

    • Sam says...

      Came here to say Uniqlo as well! Heattech long sleeve shirts and leggings are thin enough to be layered under a normal clothes and it’s just the right amount of warmth without overheating all day – they often run sales for about $14 ea!

      Smartwool socks really are amazing as well – REI Outlet sometimes has sales for them?

    • Jenny says...

      I’m an avid hiker in the PNW, so need weatherproof gear – I second Poshmark. REI Outlet is also great. GearX, Backcountry, Patagonia Worn Wear too. There are also chains like Second Wind, Play it Again, Replay, Resport, etc that all sell secondhand. Most outdoor brands like REI and Patagonia have lifetime warranties, so I save up for sales if I know I need something. Then you only have to buy say boots and a coat once in your life!

    • Kate says...

      Seconding Rue’s suggestion to check out Uniqlo! I live in Maine and really feel the cold and have found their heat tech garnets to be so amazing—they hold up really well to multiple washings. I am wearing them now ! Their coats are well made and often on sale.

    • suki says...

      uniqlo

    • Kari says...

      Canadian girl on a budget here. I second all the Uniqlo HeatTech suggestions, and agree to look for used! Most of my winter gear is really affordable – Sorel boots I got used on Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) for $50, a big down parka from Uniqlo, and snow pants from Costco! And gimme allll the sweaters and wool socks. :)

    • UNIQLO! I live in their puffer jacket in the winter, it’s perfect to layer under any “cute” coat that might not be quite as warm. Or just wear it on its own. It’s one of the best $60 you can spend. (Also get some Tenatious tape for small puncture repairs)

      Also THRIFT IT! I thrifted a pair of Sorel Joan of Arc boots and ordered these shearling bootliners to replace the used felt ones. WHOA. They are hands-down the best investment I’ve made- they’re SO warm and luxurious. The top folds down and my feet stay super warm, even if I’m outside in the snow all day. https://eglifarm.com/collections/boots-and-liners/products/sheepskin-bootliners-adult-1?variant=30373536781

  58. Maribeth says...

    This year I’m trying to reframe my mindset by saying – I’m enjoying the winter, not enduring the winter.
    Looking forward to daily walks, nourishing meals, and making fires.

  59. Nikki says...

    Renting one of the beautiful properties for a cozy weekend getaway with @staysfound! I love these ideas, I keep asking my friends “what are you giving yourself to look forward to?”

  60. Jennifer B says...

    In the notes section on my instacart orders I started writing overly gracious thank-you’s to the shopper for checking for fresh lettuce. Now I write a mini love letter to ALDI employees or leave a punny joke, and they messaged me back saying they look forward to my orders every week! Doing this tiny thing to spread cheer has become the BEST way to start the week.

    • Nikki says...

      this is so precious! totally going to try this!

    • Sonja says...

      you are amazing <3

    • Lenca says...

      Oh, how great! I love this ” doing this tiny thing to spread cheer”! I’m gonna remember that and do this more often, too. Thank you for sharing!

  61. Marisa says...

    I’ve been doing lots of yoga videos and have seen such a difference in my body and what it’s able to do. I’ve been challenging myself to do the splits, in particular, and have seen real improvement, which motivates me to keep going. I plan to do a yoga workout every day during the winter- it’s free and always available! I recommend finding a fitness goal and working towards it! (I love Yoga with Kassandra)

    • Amy says...

      +1 for Yoga with Kassandra!
      Her 10 minute videos feel so much more approachable than say a 30 min one; and I occasionally do a second or third (usually the real problem is simply getting started, not an actual lack of time). Plus I’m often in my pyjamas at home anyway so I don’t bother changing into yoga pants.

    • Yes!! Yoga videos have been a game changer. Sometimes i do 20 minutes, sometimes an hour, but I always feel better after and it sets a calming tone for the day.

  62. Emkry says...

    As someone who just lived through lockdown in winter in Melbourne, Australia I can say these are all excellent ideas. During late winter we were limited to 1hr outside our homes per day for exercise, it became a daily ritual that I otherwise wouldn’t have gone through and I’m so glad we had that routine. Through that hour we saw clouds, rainstorms, buds emerging in early spring and the cold air blew through our minds and cleaned out the house bound cobwebs. We returned home with a different equilibrium, somewhat encouraged to face the rest of the day.

  63. Hilary says...

    I will confess to not totally getting this because I LOVE winter! Please say the below in your best Joey Tribbiani voice:

    Hot tea, cocoa and hot toddies? GOOOOOD
    Crunchy snow walks in badass looking Sorel boots? GOOOOOD
    An overabundance of pom pom hats? GOOOOOD
    Extra fluff-hiding winter jackets? GOOOOOD
    Candles and cosy movie nights? GOOOOOD
    Skiing or snowshoeing, working up a massive appetite and then hitting the showers before uncorking a bottle of wine and sharing a pot of chili with friends? GOOOOOD
    Sitting in a hot tub while it’s snowing?! GOOOOOD SO GOOOOOD!!

    What’s not to love?

    Meanwhile, Summer, with its sweating, jorts and sunburns…move along please.

    • Laura says...

      This made me really happy – both the Friends reference and all the things you listed.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha love this!

    • Rachel says...

      This made me laugh out loud :) I love the Joey Tribbiani enthusiasm and I agree with you! Winter has some definite benefits!

    • J. Smith says...

      I agree!

  64. Erica says...

    Visit the farmer’s market every week!

    I love seeing the produce change from one season to the next – little glimpses of how time keeps moving forward. The deeper hues and root-based textures are not only feasts for the eyes, but also beautiful foundations for a winter diet heavy on stews, soups, and braises. And the cherry on top – our local farmers are supported all year long :)

  65. Amy says...

    We said gummies, cozy drinks, lots of sex, and exercise. We will see how it turns out.

  66. Karin Kayfes says...

    We all take a day off of work and school and stay in a cabin in the mountains for a long weekend.

  67. Greta says...

    The easiest way to keep your spirits up is to go check in on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cams. Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub on August 21, and watching her lovingly raise her cub has been keeping me smiling for weeks now. Check it out at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/panda-cam

    • Dawn Rae Knoth says...

      OMG. Greta, I totally agree. My 10 year old son and I have spent an obscene amount of time watching the panda cams the last few weeks. It makes us so freaking happy.

  68. So I says...

    I live in Berlin, Germany, and unfortunately we haven’t had snow to speak of for the past two or three years, so my almost 4yo must have this weird concept of snow, taken from books… ;-)
    That being said, it does get friggin cold and dark, so hot baths, baking and candles are an absolute must. Plus, being granted the possibility to get warm, light candles and be happy.
    And, regardless of season, we‘ve introduced a little habit in our family (me, hubby, 9yo and 3yo boys) to put on one danceable song every night before going to bed and just goofy-dance to it. It can feel a bit super-imposed at times and might not always work out in the same way, but it kind of helps to forget about fights we might have had during the day. And the kids love it.

    • Julia says...

      Same here: As a parent, I tend to get so so serious about rules, education, school etc. with my boys (8 and 11), but this silly-dancing ritual with feel-good music ends all the worries and reminds us of being on earth to also JUST. HAVE. FUN. :-)

    • Amy says...

      Does the leather sole get that noisy sticky sound after a bit? I have hand-knit slippers that are great and have a suede piece stitched on the bottom for grip. They were awesome at first and while I’ve washed them, they still have a tacky sound that drives me nuts.

  69. Ali says...

    I live in Florida (Not by choice.) Hands down, the best part of living here is the weather—November through early April. That and citrus. Growing up in the northeast, my first winter here was incomprehensible. As for the rest of living in Florida? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    • Raquel says...

      HAHAHAAHHAHAHA I love this comment. Made me think of a meme I saw the other day – “If you could get rid of one American state which one would you choose and why Florida?”

  70. ERP says...

    I live in Maine near the ocean and have heard many different people (including my mom) commit to swimming in the ocean once a month this winter! I feel like that’s a bandwagon I should definitely join! Oh and Sweet & Spicy tea every day!

    • Alida says...

      Hmm, just moved to mid coast Maine and feeling a bit of winter dread. This freezing swim sounds perfect.

    • Amy says...

      Tell me about the sweet and spicy tea!

  71. m says...

    If you’re curious about whether a light therapy lamp might work for you, check with your local library–some public libraries check them out for people to try (mine does!).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Great tip!

    • Amy says...

      I got a Phillips light alarm a couple years back and I’m so much better with winter mornings now. I used to stay in bed as long as possible and then have an awful morning with the kids.

      I don’t usually wake up to the light (my iPhone’s musical slowly-increasing-volume alarm does that), but waking up to a soft glow that increases to a bright room makes it so much easier to get out of bed.

  72. Tricia says...

    I also have been discussing my anxiety about winter (with the potential of a second wave in the tri-state area) in my therapy sessions lately. I bought myself a new pair of slippers at the start of our stay at home order in March, and I’m so excited that it’s slipper weather again :) Also, keeping a string of twinkle lights up makes the early darkness a bit more tolerable.

    • Adrienne K says...

      Twinkle lights! I love this idea!

  73. K says...

    my favorite tips are to dress warmly and walk outside and the reminder that i AM in control of how i react to situations.

  74. Megan says...

    Trying my best to stay positive, but am definitely daunted by the prospect of multiple months cooped up in the house with an 9-month-old infant who is too young to appreciate holidays, coziness etc and possibly even too young to take outside in the cold (??? I honestly have no idea how cold is too cold to take a baby out in?).

    Super random purchase that I am already looking forward to: a Bonne Maman advent calendar. Little pots of fancy jam in exotic flavors, for a month straight FTW.

    • Jen M says...

      Ooooh thanks for the suggestion about the jam advent calendar. I just ordered one for my kids!

    • celeste says...

      Yes you can absolutely go outside with a baby. Get yourself a Bjorn cute baby hat and jacket, and make sure you go out at least 20 min. a day.

    • Em says...

      Hi Megan,

      My two cents; if your baby is bundled well, go for it! I would run at zero degrees with our oldest daughter all the time. She was in a BOB stroller with the rain shield over the top. Under that she was in a snowsuit and also a bundle-type bag. She was always toasty warm when we returned. Our second child spent many hours ‘helping’ me shovel snow while in a Ergo baby carrier. I just borrowed my husband’s (larger) jacket so that I could zip her entirely inside and out of the weather.
      As I type this, the girls, now 5 and 8, are singing and dancing madly around our house. No damage done as far as I can tell ;)
      Best of luck to you. The infant/early toddler years, although wonderful, can be a bit mind-numbing and lonely. Whatever you can do to take care of yourself, please give yourself the grace and the permission to do so.

    • Margaret says...

      Talk to your pediatrician, but ours told us that the baby could go out in any weather that was safe for us! We bought a bunting suit from Columbia, warm hats, and I usually carried him in an Ergo. It was great. We are in New England. Walking outside all winter really helps me keep my spirits up and the baby never seemed to mind.

    • Dana says...

      Megan! You can *totally* take little nug out in the cold! Get some great bunting, and a warm hat and snuggle up for a stroll. Also, hot tip: if you like baby wearing, Seraphine Maternity makes an incredible baby wearing coat. It has an extra cozy faux-fur lined panel to zip in. It was my most loved clothing item for the two winters I wore my daughter. Good for everyone involved. You’ve got this!

    • Laura says...

      Oh my goodness, I’m very excited to order that advent calendar for myself!

    • Tricia says...

      As a Michigan Mom, our kids went out every day. We did the stroller thing with our infants. Our toddlers/nursery schoolers were outdoors ALL THE TIME, in snowsuits, in the snow. Every day! In Kindy and lower elementary, it was required that the little students could put on their snowsuits, snow boots, and mittens by themselves (or at least with little attendance): they had both morning and afternoon recess, unless the windchill or regular temperature was really low. As parents, we threw our kids out in the snow and checked for frostbite every 10 minutes or so. Seriously: the kids adored being outdoors, and it was our responsibility to say: Enough is enough: come indoors!

    • sandra says...

      It’s good you’re asking: it is shocking how many times I see parents out with their baby and they are totally bundled in hats gloves and boots but their BABY is without a hat and BAREFOOT??? I know daily fresh air of any temperature is vital for good health but no hat or shoes/socks for babies is just wrong.

      Similarly I just saw a woman at the grocery in the required face mask but not her two children?? Both were old enough to understand the importance of wearing a mask while in a store. Do they think children are immune to illness?? I don’t get it.

    • Sarah says...

      Whoa. Totally just ordered that advent calendar! Thanks for the tip!

  75. Amy says...

    I can’t stress this enough: get outside everyday. I grew up in cloudy northern Ohio, went to college in dreary Massachusetts, and have lived in blustery Vermont for the past 15 years. All of these years in the cold climates are much happier to me than the one living in New Orleans, four in Memphis, and three in Virginia. Get long johns and a headlamp on, grab a face mask, and go outside. The fresh air is life! The daily struggles around schlepping the kids’ boots and skis and vaseline and whiney voices to the woods or Nordic center or just the neighborhood sidewalk, even after long days of work and school, are forgotten when you come back inside and feel positively reset. Everyone sleeps better, and you’ll live to fight another day. Enjoy!

  76. Jem says...

    Being outside in the winter is one of my favourite things, as my dad says, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!” Which is so true (I’ve heard this is a common phrase in nordic countries too, though my dad likely picked it up as a boy scout). I cross country ski and I am looking forward to it more than ever this year, feel pretty lucky to have a hobby that will get me outside this winter given that it’s likely going to be an isolating one in other ways. Would recommend people who live in very snowy climates to check out skiing or snowshoeing if you haven’t before (used sporting equipment stores can help fit you for xc-ski boots, skis, and poles… if you want to save money and try it out).

    I feel most connected to nature when I’m the only one on a trail and there is blue skies and crisp winter air. That being said, I do worry that everyone’s going to take up cross-country skiing this year in the attempts to stave off winter blues and they won’t know the etiquette of how to use professionally groomed trails (so please look up the rules before hitting the trails)! The wonderful part about being outside in the winter, is how much you appreciate the warmth when you come back inside… all ready to snuggle up in cozy layers and with a cup of tea and a book.

  77. Emily R says...

    I don’t know! I do have a growing list of home projects I’m going to try and tackle this winter, but I’m afraid I won’t get out much.

    I really dislike winter clothes, and they are SO EXPENSIVE. I’m almost never dressed appropriately, or I am, and I feel like a hot mess with dry skin and staticky hair.

    Summer forever!

    • GOLDEN MOON says...

      AMEN!

  78. Paige says...

    I grew up in sunny California, and Midwest winters were a huge adjustment for me as an adult. I struggled for many winters, but I learned a trick that made a huge difference: turn on your lights before it starts to get dark. Instead of feeling depressed every day when it would get dark so early, I turn my lights on around 4 and I don’t notice the early moon as much. It really helps!

  79. Stephanie says...

    I have started jogging again, which is a nice counter to eating my feelings, and we have many mild days here in TN to sustain this outdoor hobby through the winter. Maybe I can convince my teenage daughter to join me? She is truly struggling with this harsh, politically charged, distanced-friendship world, but mostly my efforts to keep her safe.

  80. Marta says...

    I live in Canada and I actually love winter. I think the key is to (if possible) be in nature – winter is much more beautiful in the country – and to take up a winter outdoor activity. Also dress yourself the way you would dress a kid – snowpants, good boots, warm wool. And find some hand work that you enjoy to keep your mind and hands busy when it’s really too miserable to go out.

    • Steph says...

      Snowpants! Yes! I didn’t have them as a kid even though I grew up in a snowy place, so now I get to exude a whole different level of adult happiness at the experience of being warm and carefree in the cold and/or snow. It’s doubly good: in this moment + making up for childhood.

  81. AJ says...

    I’ve been working on my staying-sane-this-winter mission plan. It’s a lot of little things (lighting more candles, reading again) and some big things – like swimming outdoors whenever I can. So far I’ve been to two lidos, one pond and had two dips in the sea (with a woolly hat on last week). I’m a water baby anyway but, really, I want the cold shock to zap me to life. Plus these micro adventures give me a thrill – and those are short supply these days. I am so lucky I can do this. X

  82. Michelle Wales says...

    I’m looking forward to seasonal reads (I tend to save thrillers for winter months… as well as super cheesey Christmas/holiday themed novels), my cozy “wicked good” LL Bean slippers, seasonal pies (cranberry and sage please), and how intense the starlight is on clear winter nights (bonus if there is crunchy snow reflecting back the moonlight)

  83. Catherine says...

    As someone who comes from a colder climate (Calgary, AB) I feel exceedingly qualified to offer two tips (plus, I’m 50, so I’ve had A LOT of practice with winter). Winter can be amazing, in fact, it’s my favourite season. Yes, it gets long, and yes, I look forward to summer, but still, enjoying Winter is possible. First: buy the right clothes. From footwear (boots) to jackets (plug for Canada Goose), there is merit to the adage of being dressed for the weather. If you make the investment in the right Winter wear, and take the time to dress appropriately, you’re golden. Second: embrace the spirit of Winter. Winter is (can be) amazing. If you are dressed for it and have the right attitude – regardless of if you are a skier/ snowshoer/ etc. – it can be magical. The experience of warming-up after being cold, wearing layers, drinking warm bevies, fires…there’s nothing like it. Every year as Winter approaches, I think about cozy-ness: what shows will I watch, what food will I make (soups, usually), what lighting do I need to add to my house to make it *just so*. It is the most magical season, clean, refreshing season – it’s just a matter of repositioning it.

    • Kari says...

      A fellow Albertan! Hi from Edmonton!

    • S says...

      Would love to hear boot recs if you’d be up for commenting!

  84. Eleanor Frances says...

    I can’t help but think the political situation in our country will have a great affect on our moods and mental health. If Trump is declared the “winner” and we have 4 more years of his rein to look towards, then we are all in deep trouble.

    • M says...

      So true.

    • Ann says...

      Does everything have to be political? GAH.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Ann,

      Yup. Everything is political. If it weren’t, we’d all be looking forward to getting through this winter safely, with a societal goal to beat the pandemic . Instead… we’re reading this post.
      Vote him and his enablers OUT.

    • AEa says...

      Actually, Ann, yes. People’s lives are at stake. Amazing for you that you get to be apolitical….but there are many of us for whom this directly and immediately impacts.

    • allison says...

      Ann – everything *is* political, some people just have the privilege to turn an eye when they want to. I would encourage you to think about how many people’s lives, livelihoods, and feelings of security and possibility will be obliterated if Trump stays in office. It will certainly affect how many people plan for and actually experience winter.

  85. em says...

    In southern Chile we have just ended a long winter. I had to put my phd on the back burner while staying home with my 2 year old and 3 year old because all schools and daycare centers have been closed. I have never played so many memory games, traced so many squiggly lines, or taken so many walks in the cold wet rain. What got me through it: cardboard boxes that can be imagined into anything, Porto, and the entire book series of Outlander (aka an ode to embracing horrible weather!).

  86. Hilary says...

    Love this post! I used to be so cranky about winter, but I’ve really come around the last year or two. A few things I love:

    – Finally buying a legit winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, etc. It may be freezing, but you’ll see us bundled up on a morning walk!
    – Getting outside as much as possible
    – Leaning into the coziness: candles, fire, blankets, soup, hot tea, etc.
    – This year especially: stretching out the holiday season as much as possible. My toddler doesn’t even know what Halloween is, but we’re doing pumpkins, Halloween crafts, pancakes in fun shapes, etc. Christmas? That will be an entire month (if anyone has any fun toddler Thanksgiving or Christmas things- let me know!). Really trying to find joy in this family time.
    – Not a winter thing, but a goal during the pandemic has been to call a friend every week. Texting is fine and all, but it’s been so nice to hear my friends’ voices or see their faces! I may need to try out that soup club this year!

    Stay safe everyone!

    • Jessica S says...

      My absolute favourite is the ‘turkey using the outline of your child’s hand’ craft. I pull my daughter’s out each fall and we marvel at how small her hand used to be!

    • Em says...

      A fun thing we have been doing for the last few years is a Christmas advent book opening. I wrap up 24 books, we now have enough that they are all winter/holiday/Christmas related, and we open one every night and read it together. I just use newspaper, Kraft paper, etc and write the numbers in order right on the package. I save The Night Before Christmas as number 24. My kids love it and it gives them a good visual clue of how much longer they need to wait for Santa. Some of the books belonged to me and my husband when we were kids and it’s such a treat to rediscover them with my own girls. We also have an Elf on the Shelf; a complete pain in the ass to remember to move every night, but totally worth the joy, and good behavior, she brings.
      Also, if you can let go the idea of a beautifully decorated and tastefully curated home, let your kid make a million paper pumpkins/hand turkeys/scribble drawings as possible. And display them proudly. In our home, a Christmas tree isn’t fully decorated until it’s been festooned with at least one painted toilet paper tube. And most of the ornaments are on the bottom two feet of the tree.

  87. C says...

    Heading outside is the best thing to help stop the winter blues! Even bringing kids along, doing a winter scavenger hunt or doing cool winter science experiments — WORTH IT! As a professional outdoorswoman, I spend much of my work (and play!) time outside, and I cannot recommend it enough! With the bike craze of 2020 & new enthusiasts, I recommend trying fat biking this winter! If you love biking in the summer, give winter biking a try! The whole family can also go snowshoeing, and there is NOTHING BETTER than trekking into the forest to cut down a tree (if you celebrate that!) or heading into the forest in the winter and making a warm cup of cocoa on a small stove. In the end, it’s looking for the little joys (think child-like wonder!) that will help get us through!

  88. no, really says...

    After wearing exclusively black for five years I’m thinking about buying a top or two in another color. I’m leaning toward purple.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this!

  89. Erin says...

    Invest in a very warm jacket, and warm socks, mittens, and hat. And I agree with the walking…just try and do it mid-day. I try to find outdoor winter activities that I look forward to.

  90. Tyler says...

    Saw the headline and thought hell if I know lol.

    • Emily R says...

      ha ha ha ha. This was a laugh I needed!

  91. Sadie says...

    Oh, and I don’t know who needs to hear this but BUY SNOW BOOTS! If you live in a place that freezes and you don’t have proper footwear going outside will never not suck.

  92. Elsie says...

    We are heading into a hot dry summer here in QLD Australia. I can barely go outside during the day the sun is scorching and my pale skin burns so easily. Enjoy your winter! My favourite thing about winter is playing soccer every week.

  93. E says...

    I’m one of the lucky few whose depression actually gets better in the winter. My seasonal depression starts around April and hits its peak in July/August. No idea why. It’s like the days just drag on and it makes me so lethargic and blue. But the minute the sun starts setting earlier and there’s a chill in the air, things start looking up. I lived in Boston for three years and those three winters (like deep February) were the happiest months of my life. I live in a slightly warmer place now, though not nearly as hot as my home state (Texas) and I deeply miss walking for hours and hours out in snowy Massachusetts. We all have a season that gets to us. I’m happy to be coming out of mine but I’m sorry that means we’re headed into yours. Soon enough, it’ll be hot again. I’ll be sad and the rest of the world will be thrilled! I use the walk, walk, walk advice to get through summer. It helps!

    • Jess says...

      Yup yup, I am the same! I read somewhere (maybe here on CoJ??) that there is such a thing as reverse SAD (seasonal affective disorder), so that the summer makes you feel lethargic and bummed, and winter cold perks you up. That’s me exactly – and sounds like you as well! Here’s to the chilly months ahead :)

    • Rachael says...

      This is me!!! I was just thinking today while I was out for an evening walk how much I hate summer and how happy I am that it’s becoming “my” season. ??

    • Larissa says...

      Yes, I’m the same! While everyone is complaining about winter I’m loving it, but come summer my anxiety and depression are at peak!

  94. becky says...

    I will be going to therapy but also reading more, going back to school(!!!), working on puzzles and starting my Christmas tunes early. I also plan to buy myself legit winter jammies. I love rewatching old favorites like While You were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, and Hook on cold winter nights.

  95. Meghan says...

    A game-changing tip learned from living in Manitoba, Canada. There is no bad weather, only bad gear (and attitudes). One Christmas I remember my city being the coldest place on EARTH and colder than the face of Mars… TBH, that might be the tipping point of “bad weather” for me.

    • Carlin says...

      Anyone who can find joy in a Manitoba winter is a super hero to me in Windsor, Ontario! ;)

      I am a big wimp starting in early November.

    • Megan says...

      Another Megan from Manitoba chiming in! Looking forward to winter settling in. Amen to investing in quality winter gear! For me, a down coat with fur trimmed hood, merino base layers, sheepskin/ leather “garbage mitts” (made in Winnipeg :), plus good boots (by Cougar) are my go-to’s. My no. 1 winter game changer is wearing a Smart Wool merino neck gaitor (and on the straight-to-the-forehead-blazing-cold minus 40 days, a merino balaclava under my toque and neck warmer). Worth every penny!!
      I also keep my spirits up through the long-dark season by reading good books by beeswax candlelight in long, luxurious Epsom salt baths. Making and eating soups and stews, making stovetop kettle corn, sending and receiving hand written letters, sitting around an outdoor fire with red wine in hand plus mending, endless mending help keep me grounded and sane.
      I too had a winter baby and would wear him in a Solly wrap, zipped cozily into my coat. As he grew, I invested in a second hand MEC Toaster suit, warm boots and mitts and away we would go. As a stay at home parent, I need to be outside multiple times per day! Thankfully, all-weather outside play is the norm for my active toddler. I tend not to buy toys; rather investing in high quality second-hand gear such as a three (large) wheeled pram (Thule’s Urban Glide or a Chariot) and outdoor clothes that last more than one winter. Buy big! Without fresh air and nature play, my kid and I are completely hooped!
      Echoing the sentiments above, there is no bad weather, just bad gear! A good attitude and an eye for beauty go a long, long way!! Happy trails, wintergoers!

  96. Evelyn says...

    When the lockdown started, I bought a bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil for $6 at whole foods and I had a few drops to my steamy shower when I need it and it has been amazing. It transports me to my childhood on the west coast and it made my breathing clear and easy (since, you know, you always think you have covid coming on these days even when you haven’t left the house). Best little relaxation investment I’ve made this year. Besides the gummies, haha.

    • Katy says...

      Wowww going to buy Eucalyptus oil this week!

  97. Sadie says...

    In the ski community we make a big deal of winter solstice! It is a make-it-what-you-want holiday and feels slightly pagan-y because I grew up super Christian :)

  98. Julia says...

    I’m a Floridian who has lived in NYC for 15 years. A few winters ago I committed to watching all of a single director’s films over the course of the winter and it has made winter so much more enjoyable for me. I savor about one movie per week and watch a director really grow over time (I generally watch them in order but am not a stickler for it). I’m not much of a film buff really, but I watch so many movies I wouldn’t have ever watched and find that it really deepens my perspective and empathy to push myself to stick with a particular director. I’m a white woman who started this tradition watching all of Spike Lee’s films and I highly recommend it.

    • Erin says...

      So interesting!!!!

    • Elspeth says...

      I love this idea, Julia!

    • Michelle says...

      This seems really delightful and focused! Im afraid that recently Spike’s work has regressed. I couldn’t make it through Chi -Raq or Da Sweet blood of Jesus. I may try this with Christopher Nolan or Martin Scorcesse this winter!

    • Krista says...

      I love this idea!

    • Calla says...

      What a good idea! This also solves the problem of being unable to decide what to watch and endless scrolling through netflix

    • Katie says...

      This is a really cool idea!

  99. Margie says...

    Embrace winter. As the saying goes…there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothes. Get out doors, walk, take up skiing, curling, take pictures, anything to get out of the house. So many beautiful sights outside in the winter.

  100. Jen says...

    I recently signed up for Laurie Santos’ now-famous “Happiness” class from Yale (The Science of Well-being). It’s currently free on Coursera. I find that having the weekly pacing and implementation techniques help me actually practice the good habits that I know I should do but often don’t. Maybe others would enjoy the class as well.

    • Elle says...

      Thank you, Jen! I just signed up for the course. Perfectly timed!

  101. Jacqueline says...

    I am sending out invitations this week to my family for a winter of Forced Family Fun. Once a month we’re going to have a Zoom call to play a game. This is my favorite part of family dinners and I think we can re-create it virtually. I have Pictionary, Balderdash, and charades lined up. One month we’re going to do a talent show. I am sending each house an envelope with Pictionary cards and charade ideas so everyone still has to draw a card and think on their toes (this took me way too long to figure out how to do digitally). I’m excited! I miss this. We live away from each other now so pandemic or no, it would be a long time before we could play games together.

    • Stephanie says...

      To help with another possibility for you… At the beginning of all this mess, my family played a game called Double Ditto with my sister once a week over facetime. It worked great, no mailing back and forth required. We loved connecting this way!

  102. This will be the first time I’ll go through the cooler months and the holidays – a time that I generally enjoy immensely- without the person who made it the best time of the year for me. I just lost my mother, and imagining the holidays without her is just as painful as the loss itself. I’m planning to ‘tread water’, as it were, this season by giving others the same holiday warmth she exuded to honor her memory- donating (food, clothing, time, and where possible, money) to those in need and the causes I believe in is the best way I know how to make the holidays come alive for everyone – myself included.

    • Courtney says...

      Hi Jesse, sending lots of love this holiday season. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. Hope you find ways to do something nice for yourself, too.
      Xo,
      C

    • Sarah says...

      Hi Jesse,

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. I had to comment because I’m entering the first winter without my dad. The past couple of years, we have gotten even closer and started taking winter hikes together. One morning the winter before last, we went up into the mountains right after a dusting of snow, and the morning sun was reflecting all the snow crystals everywhere like little diamonds. We always shared an appreciation and awe for things like that. I’m not planning on enjoying much of anything for a while, just trying to survive. It’s going to be unbearably hard, but I like your idea of giving some of what those who are lost would’ve given.

    • Kate says...

      Oh Jesse, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your idea of honoring her through giving is lovely. She must be so proud of you. Lots of love to you and your family. xx

    • Courtney, Sarah, and Kate – thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.
      This is the first time I’ve commented on one of Jo’s posts, so the feedback was a true treat for me.

      Sarah – I’m so sorry for your loss as well. I know that every day, every month, and every season must have their own unique challenges (as I’m learning day-by-day), but I do hope you hold onto those memories for fuel to keep moving forward. I send my absolute best regards and well wishes for the best season you could possibly have.

  103. Becca says...

    My plan is to adopt some new hobbies that allow me to learn and be super cozy: (1) how to make amazing restaurant-level ramen, (2) how to knit sweaters for my dog, and (3) put together a film studies curriculum for myself, so I can wrap up in a blanket and expand my knowledge of foreign film and classic movies.

    Suggestions for how to approach any of these activities are welcome!

  104. Kristin says...

    Such a good question. Nice walls in Manhattan, lots of candles, my hot water bottle, good books, entertaining TV and movies, and extra cuddling with my husband.

  105. Abbe says...

    I am SO excited for winter! I am a big fan of being cozy and you just can’t be cozy when you’re sweating your butt off. :) Things that help achieve “peak coze” as I like to call it:

    -string lights. So many string lights!! I just put up a bunch in my office and they make such a difference on this cold rainy day. They will be staying up until the summer at least
    -if you are like me and not lucky enough to have a fireplace, I highly recommend Woodwick candles. Like the name suggests, they have a wooden wick that crackles just like a wood fire as it burns. They don’t have the warmth giving properties of a real wood fire but if you wrap up in warm blanket you can close your eyes and pretend. :)
    -I’ve made a goal to run outside as much as possible this winter. You can become acclimatized to heat, but you become habituated to cold. This basically means your body can’t adapt much to the cold, but your mind can! Getting outside regularly means eventually you won’t mind the cold…as much, anyway. And then you appreciate the warmth and coziness of your home so much more!
    -Create a cozy corner. We have a dedicated reading nook in our house and it’s where I keep my Woodwick candle, Kindle/book du jour, and when it’s cold enough my electric blanket. It’s the perfect place to retreat to on a dark evening.

    I’d like to make a BIG caveat to these tips which is that I’m an introvert without children to take care of at home, which makes all of these things so much easier. I feel for everyone who is stuck dealing with homeschooling/job loss anxiety/isolation/etc. etc. etc. Times are ROUGH right now and I hope some of these things can bring you the tiniest life raft of joy.

    • Nicole says...

      YES to these! I love winter (well, snow really) because I love to get cold, then come inside to get cozy- under a blanket with candles/Xmas lights, reading a book, drinking tea with my hot water bottle at my feet.

      And, winter running is my absolute favorite. As a former wimp about cold weather, winter running has made me tougher and helped me embrace the season. It’s so peaceful to run in the snow (beautiful, strangely quiet), yet also super invigorating.

      Adding to this- we take family walks every morning with our kids bundled up in the stroller, then come home for warm drinks and hot breakfast (oatmeal, waffles, etc). A totally different vibe than our sweltering summer humidity walks followed by popsicles, but I love it:)

    • Kathy says...

      I have a child, and I still agree with you 100%.

      Winter running is pretty freeing. I don’t worry about how fast I’m going since I’m winning just by getting out there and staying upright. Also, is there anything better than a Christmas light run?

      Also- the cozy stuff is key. I have my extra fluffy blanket, my perfect tea mug, and my rituals for setting up for a good snuggle read. Agreed on the cozy corner.

  106. We take kitchen dance breaks when the weather is cold and gloomy and it’s darker outside. Nothing raises our spirits like a fun song that has us all moving and laughing!

  107. Olivia says...

    Lol team summer forever. Yes.

    This is my first winter with my baby actually being able to “do stuff” – she’s 16 mos. I can’t wait to share it all with her.

  108. Tara says...

    My BFF group chat just discussed winter pandemic summer HYGGE NEXT LEVEL survival. Thank you for this. I can’t wait for my little winter light:-)

  109. Ari says...

    I am already full of anxiety and back in therapy, so I think I will rely on DANCING (love Ryan Heffington on IG) and SINGING (my 2yo son has started writing songs; his first one, “green pickle, green pickle,” is a banger).

  110. Robin says...

    I light beeswax tea lights every evening when the sun goes down. I buy them in bulk from a maker on Etsy. It’s a winter ritual and the smell is so so good.

    • Kate says...

      Can you share the name of the shop?

  111. Jeri says...

    Find an activity you can ONLY do in winter!

    I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and hated winter every single year on this earth. Until I turned 35 and took up skiing. Now I count down the days until the first snowfall because of how much fun it is to ski. It gets you outside, it’s exercise, and it’s a fun way to spend time with friends. (Will be interesting to see what happens this year though.)

    • Sadie says...

      Send it

    • Brooke says...

      YES! Getting outside to ski makes the biggest difference in winter — the blue skies! the fresh, crisp air!

      Fingers crossed we’ll still have this outlet this winter, even if it looks a little different this year :)

  112. Susanne says...

    I keep up standup paddeling even in cold autumn days at least once a week. Scalf, warm jacket and trousers, gloves, wollsocks and rubberboots, and off I paddle. Even only for some minutes, just for the feeling of gliding through the water (Danube) and joy of doing something wonderfully weird.

  113. Liz says...

    I live in Brooklyn and just panic-purchased a snow suit (overall style) and handwarmers… I’m determined to keep enjoying outdoor dining occasionally and park hangs! I recommend Poshmark, the consignment app/website, for more affordable panic purchases :)

  114. Crystal says...

    I really don’t know how I’m going to make it through winter. As a person isolating alone, all these self-care tips are great ideas but just can’t replace human company (neither can Zoom). A hug once in a while would go a long way to making it through the cold, dark winter.

    In the meantime, uh… tea and blankets? Netflix, I guess?

    • Calla says...

      I feel you! I’ve been worrying about this too. My only way to see people has been on my patio or in parks and already is getting dark early enough that it’s tough to squeeze in on weekdays.

      Hair salons recently opened in my city. I went for an appointment today and while I was getting my hair washed I realized it was the first time I’ve been touched by another human in many months. You’re totally right, nothing really replaces human company.

      I do echo many other commenters though that getting outside can often work wonders. It’s not a substitute for company, but often a short walk around the neighborhood can lift my funk a little. I can get so lethargic and resistant to the idea when I’m in a lonely mood, but I’m always happy when I do it. I think even just seeing other people (or animals, any sign of life) makes me feel more connected even if I’m not talking to anyone.

    • Crystal says...

      Thanks, Calla. It helps to know that others are experiencing the same situation (Isolating alone… together? LOL)

      I do get outside now, but in Canada it’ll be way too cold in the winter. Long walks are what have gotten me through the summer!

    • AJ says...

      Cosmic (sounds more exciting than virtual?!) hugs to you both xx
      That was me for four months and it was so hard. That first hug was literally a full-scale reboot. I hope it’s not too long for you guys, in the meantime hang in there, it’s really tough but you’ll find the ways to ride it out and the hug and touch-filled days will come again xx

    • Julie says...

      I wish Fauci or someone could just give us some guidance on hugging! I feel like even a nice long squeeze of a hug while wearing a mask can’t be worse than sitting inside a restaurant fo an hour! But I don’t know! People need hugs! Sending you many (unsatisfying) virtual hugs.

  115. Jenny says...

    I grew up in Northern Montana, where winters are long and often gray. Delighting in coziness is our specialty! I highly recommend cross country skiing! It is much less expensive, scary, and crowded than downhill, and you can glide along in serene, sunny nature, pink cheeked and fresh AF.

    • L says...

      Yes, I loooove cross country skiing! I was so, so happy my OB cleared my pregnant self to do it this winter, because it’s pretty much the only thing I look forward to in winter here in Minnesota (besides maybe hot chocolate). Gliding along through quiet, freshly snow-covered forests is truly magical, and with all the restrictions I have right now (from pregnancy + COVID) I am keeping a death grip on x-country skiing to get me through.

    • OO says...

      Great tip! My parents took us out cross country skiing a few times as kids. It takes only a few minutes to master and it’s incredibly calming.

    • Stella says...

      Yess! I’m from Utah and we love our x-country skiing too! Especially when the resorts are busy. It’s pretty inexpensive and beginner-friendly, I bought my skis, poles, and boots used at a ski swap or something for like $200 total, and there are many free tracks to ski on in my area (other tracks ask for a small fee around $5-10). And it’s so fun to do with friends! I’m excited for goofy times and red cheeks!

  116. 1. I got a pair of roller skates for my birthday and intend to turn my living room into a extra mini roller rink. I don’t give a f*&^ anymore.

    2. Long drives in the country

    3. Starting a YouTube channel as I have no other excuses

    4. More baths and nightly meditation

    5. We re-booked a trip to Costa Rica for February so all fingers, toes and eyes crossed that will happen. We had to cancel in March of this year so….

    Sending good cheer to you all.

    • Jordan G says...

      I have to say that after reading your post, I am sure we would be great friends. Thanks for making me laugh this afternoon.

  117. Olivia Jane says...

    As a native New Englander from Swedish stock, I am so excited for winter! Fires, candles, mulled cider, cozy slippers, extra excuses to get snuggly, deep breaths of air so crisp it makes you laugh, all the sweaters, earlier sunsets to enjoy with the kiddos and still get them to bed on time. You can always add another layer in winter, but you can only take off so much clothing in summer — and then the mosquitoes have even more surface area to work with. Come on over to #teamwinter, friends. You might really like it.

    • Maryn says...

      So with you on this! I’ve never been able to be fully onboard with loving summer ?

    • Jill says...

      LOVE THIS!! You nailed it! Thanks Olivia!
      I’ve been team winter for YEARS.
      Born and raised Minnesota with Swedish stock……

    • Larissa says...

      Yes! Totally on #teamwinter with you!

    • Jess says...

      #truth

  118. Jessica says...

    Two winters ago, my then 7 year old son and I learned to ski together. I was homeschooling him and my youngest was in daycare, so we had quiet (and less expensive) weekdays to go. We had so much fun together. It was the first winter that I didn’t long for to be over.

  119. Christina says...

    My biggest recommendation for winter: smart / timer plugs for your lamps! There are about a zillion options out there – I have ones called VeSync that are WiFi enabled and controlled through an app on my phone.

    I have the living room lamps scheduled to turn on 30 minutes before my morning alarm and turn off around 8 am; and then they turn on again in the evening around 4:30 pm and turn off while we’re reading in bed.

    This little $15 investment has helped SO MUCH with me waking up in the morning, getting up and moving, and then makes my home feel cheery and warm in the evenings.

    • Anna says...

      Yes to accent lighting on timers! I use them year round (I like the inexpensive analog ones), but they are especially good for winter. They eliminate the “it’s not worth it to turn on the lights”/”it will be too much trouble to turn them off” problem. If you put up a Christmas tree, be sure to put it on a timer!

  120. LJ says...

    Yes to outside time! I actually love winter running the best – I’m never too hot, and it makes me appreciate my limited daylight hours in northern Minnesota!

    • Diana says...

      I love winter running! Granted, I live in the south so my definition of winter is much warmer than yours, but there is nothing like the endorphin rush from a few chilly miles.

  121. Lucy says...

    I love Nr. 7 idea :)
    Walking always helps and makes your thighs slimmer. And although I am the worst singer in the world, I do sing when everything seems to be just too much.

  122. maywyn says...

    Your list is fantastic! Thank you
    Hygge. I read about it here, I think last year. I made a list of ways to create hygge. Soaking and lotioning up my feet weekly/foot spa moment is a favorite. Taking control over how to not cave into the winter blues, is a lesson in how to get through life.

  123. MyHanh says...

    My little sister, who lives on the the opposite coast is visiting and my spirit has been lifted so much by her presence and the change in routine. It’s made the transition to fall easier. I’m already dreading the social withdrawal that will inevitably come when she leaves on Saturday. So, I’ve planned some dates with girlfriends and maybe something at the end of next week with my husband.
    Similar to when you used to go to the movies on Sunday nights pre-COVID, I need to be intentional about having things to look forward to in the next few weeks and with the approach of winter and dark, cold days.

  124. Adi says...

    Of the winter. Gives me something to look forward to and dream about, and those two days of sunshine in the middle of the snow are just heaven. Two days because it’s one day off of work for me, and realistic to organize childcare, and affordable. Highly recommended!

  125. Brielle says...

    “Not dress-rehearsing tragedy” — I finally realized this as a 34-year-old mother of two! I am so guilty of assuming the worst and planning ahead frantically to avoid it (major type-A here). Then I had the forehead-smacking realization that things were probably just as likely to turn out “meh” or “great!” and not necessarily doomed to be bad!!

    I try to remind myself of this as much as I can. “What if instead of things turning out worse, they turn out BETTER? What if they turn out to be best-case-scenario-awesome?” I mean, really, ask yourself – why not??

  126. Andrea says...

    My husband and I farm and I really miss the growing season and fresh food during the winter. One of the things that completely lifts my spirits is having a few 6”x12” containers on south-facing windowsills and growing salad mix greens in them. Nothing fancy – just some seed starting soil, throw some seeds on top, cover with another 1/2” of dirt, water and light. Start one container now and then another in couple of weeks and so on and you’ve got lettuce mix all winter. Now if I could just grow tomatoes in my living room window too.

    • Caitlin says...

      Andrea,
      My husband and I are in a similar boat. We get SO bummed in the winter months. Last year we threw caution to the wind and bought a grow room and grow lights and had a mini garden growing all year. It was glorious and lush. Ridiculous to look at but we didn’t care. We grew things that normally we wouldn’t be able to- tamarillo trees and fig trees. By summer they were strong and healthy and went out on the deck. I can’t wait to research what we’ll grow this winter!

  127. Adi says...

    The last few years, in the beginning of the winter. I scheduled a mid- February 2 day girls trip to Florida. All winter I anticipate my two day summer in the middle

  128. Rebecca says...

    It is funny because I have the reverse seasonal problem! During the summer, the relentless heat and glaring sun make me feel disgruntled and depressed. I loathe sweating, being eaten alive by bugs, and sand getting stuck to my body. The winter is perfect to me. The warm lights inside windows, people bundled up in coats and scarves, a steaming cup of peppermint tea, cozying up under a wool blanket with a book, buying festive stamps from the post office. This summer, with the backdrop of covid, I felt compelled to keep a running list of things I was thankful for. Seeing it hanging on my front door reminded me to focus on the good things in each day.

    • Maire says...

      I feel the very same way. Cold weather beings unite! <3

    • Jean says...

      I’m this way too! I find the heat oppressive. Fall drops in temp get me excited.

    • Abbie says...

      Team winter here too!!!

    • soph says...

      I’m an Arizona native who’s lived here my entire life and I hate the relentless heat and sun so much. I’ve never experienced a freezing cold winter (winter here is like spring everywhere else) and so wish I could. It sounds amazing. I love the desert though so I’ll probably never leave.

  129. Kayla says...

    I love winter! I always feel the most like myself in jeans and a sweater, candles lit, fire burning. The transition into the season is always the same for us- keep moving (winter walks, ski, workouts, living room dance parties), plan out tons of delicious, warm meals, make a movie/reading list. The secret- enjoy it, embrace it for what it is- it’s simply a season and it will soon be behind us.

    • Suzanne says...

      Hi Lori! I’m also from MN and loved reading those articles – thank you for sharing!

      I definitely need to up my “cold weather” gear so that I can *comfortably* spend more time outdoors this winter… I also think I should get some more cozy things: tea, candles, fuzzy blankets and really good books.

    • Kimmie says...

      He was the first thing I thought of when I read this post. So glad you shared the links.

      Each year, I feel terribly moody towards the upcoming winter months. I have been thinking a lot about the part where it says to view winter as something to be enjoyed, not endured. And I just bought my first pair of warm everyday boots too.

      I wish us summer people all the best. See ya on the other side!

  130. Manda says...

    Skiing!!!

  131. Lauren says...

    What my friends call my ridiculous cozy blanket and throw pillow hoard is fact my well-researched and meticulously-developed nap menu: I have different options for drifting off while watching snow fall on the river outside, catching a few Z’s after a long run and a shower, reading a dense novel with a nap partner (the cat), and so on.

    • soph says...

      That sounds like heaven.

  132. Jen Pinkston says...

    I used to run every morning, but ended up with an IT band injury a few weeks ago and reluctantly switched my morning runs to morning walks. That, coupled with school starting and needing to start my day earlier, has serendipitously lead to my mornings starting with a sunrise walk around the neighborhood. It turns out, sunrise walks are the most magical way to start the day. It’s as if the universe is reminding me that no matter what the previous day held, today is a beautiful, fresh start. I’m not sure I can ever go back to my hard, sweaty runs now that I’ve discovered magical sunrise walks.

  133. Jen says...

    We keep our holiday twinkle lights up well into March, until the days start to lengthen. The little ritual of turning them on for breakfast and dinner has become a joy on the list of winter joys.

    • I says...

      Love this idea, might do that as well! Thanks!

  134. Kelly says...

    I love these suggestions, but I’m pretty down, thinking about this winter. Ugh. February and March, in particular. My husband and I are homeschooling our young son while we both work full time from home with no help. Sometimes I think that I’m reaching a breaking point, but then I take a deep breath and keep going. Sunshine and beautiful fall weather help a lot, so I don’t feel great about the impending doom of winter. There’s just so little time for self care with this absurd set-up. We need President Biden, a safe vaccine, and hope.

    • With you, Kelly. I was thinking the other day that hope is the possibility of a positive outcome and that’s what I’m hoping and praying for come election day.

      I live in Portland, Oregon and the rainy weather is terrible. I am trying real real hard to find (new) ways to cope. Sending you well wishes.

  135. Tracy says...

    My wonderful neighbors and I are doing soup group this fall and winter thanks to your older post about it! We take turns weekly making soup for the other families and delivering it up and down the block (there are four families). It’s the best treat to receive a homemade meal once a week and also feels great to make one for others, too.

  136. Paige says...

    Trying to wake up with the sun :) I find when I get to experience more sunlight, I don’t have as much seasonal depression. plus having cozy sweats!

  137. Tanika says...

    Can I encourage people to start (SAFELY) getting back together? Time to spend less time on screens, and if we are able to, get together in person! Love that soup group idea, but virtually?! Come on, people! If we are being safe and feeling well lets get together!

    • Abesha1 says...

      No, Tanika. You really can’t encourage people to start getting back together. Sorry.

      Maybe if everyone agreed to wear masks, we could. Sadly, I don’t see that in our future either.

    • Louisa says...

      Alas, COVID rates where I live are the highest they have been since the pandemic started. Literally record highs here in Idaho. So picture the worst week of the pandemic where you live… that’s us now! Stay safe, red zones.

    • Jill says...

      No Tanika. There actually is no SAFELY at this time. You can feel safe and feel well……..then BAM. It’s called asymptomatic. You pass it to others.

    • J says...

      I appreciate cupofjo recommending distanced activities because Americans have absolutely no qualms about socializing right now. I wish it weren’t up to individuals to make decisions about socializing, but right now, without a national response to the pandemic, it is up to us to minimize gathers, especially ones without masks (as eating dinner implies). I know people miss connection, and I do believe it is possible to socialize safely in small groups, outdoors, and in masks, but I really think that as we approach winter and increased time indoors, we are facing a severe increase in cases.

  138. Jen says...

    Vitamin B12 and D! Makes all the difference.

  139. Cynthia says...

    Getting outside in the fresh air is a real mood booster for me. Since my husband and I have a house dog, I have a good reason to go out. I take him for his last potty break, and I love looking at the stars, and the airplanes going across the sky. We have a gas parlor stove, so watching the flickering flames while staying warm makes me feel so cozy, and nothing is better on a cold day than a pot of navy beans and homemade biscuits. I feed the birds and I always watch for the first snow birds (dark-eyed juncos). We have cardinals the year round. Snuggling under the covers with a good book at night. Opening the shades during the day so the sun brightens the house. Wearing my cozy sweatpants and penguin socks. Drinking hot herbal tea or coffee left from breakfast. Taking soup to our elderly neighbors. Being grateful for all that I have.

  140. christine says...

    two words: Friluftsliv and Koselig:
    Friluftsliv is the exhilaration you get when you spend time outdoors. Koselig is like hygge. It means coziness.
    Get outside every day. Find something to enjoy doing outside in the winter, whether it is an evening walk, a ski (if you are lucky enough to have snow), a hike, or sitting on a bench enjoying the chill. And make your home koselig/hygge. So that inside you are warm, drinking hot cocoa, snuggling with your kids, and surrounded by candles after an exhilarating walk outside.

    • SLP says...

      Jo, thank you for this post. I feel blue in all these Seattle rain. I needed to know that other people feel this way too.

  141. shannon says...

    Ugh. I don’t know. I’m dreading it.

  142. Jessica says...

    I have been keeping a joy journal for years. (Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg for the idea in her book, Option B.) It’s a spin on the gratitude journal. Each night, write down at least three things that brought you joy during the day. You will be amazed by how quickly: 1) your daily list is longer than three things; 2) you start looking for joy in your day instead of only reacting to it when you find it; 3) you appreciate the little things so much more; and 4) your mood lifts instantly and forever. Periodically I look back at older journals and laugh at some of the things I have noted as joyful, from Amazon delivering a day earlier than expected to getting stupidly excited when a sweater I loved was available in my size to finding a Lara bar in my bag when I was really hungry. I promise: This daily habit will change your life.

    • Lisa says...

      Completely agree with this! I haven’t managed to do it consistently, but periodically I remember to note down at least one good thing that happened on a particular day. A couple of weeks ago I was reading the “good things” that happened when I was extremely pregnant with my son, and one of them was that someone picked up a pen i had dropped (a small thing, but when you’re 39 weeks pregnant it means the world). It helps focus on what you have, and what really brings you joy, rather than the things that are bringing you down.

      I’m personally not a big winter person, but I’m looking forward to cuddles with my children, warm socks and the sense of accomplishment when I manage to wear an appropriately warm outfit (I grew up in South Africa, but live in London and it’s taken me yeeeeears to learn how to dress for cold weather + overcrowded tube and over heated stores)

    • Ellen says...

      Nice!

    • Laura says...

      If anyone is looking for a feel-good book to read, Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights” is a collection of short vignettes about a year (I think) that he spent doing this same thing, writing down what brought him joy each day. Of course because he’s a poet, it’s a really, really, lovely read, and it has the same effect of helping you notice the little beautiful things in each day. Also since each chapter is a different joy, it’s easy to pick up and put down, if you have a short attention span like me :) Highly recommend!!!

    • Calla says...

      @Laura I loved that book too! Really reminded me to look for little moments of delight. As does anything by David Sedaris, I’m always so inspired by people who have that combination of being incredibly observant and very good at living in the moment.

  143. Couldn’t agree with getting outside if you can. Even if the weather sucks and you only walk to your local neighbourhood bar or cafe, do it! In Europe cafe culture doesn’t stop in the winter and I have come to love wrapping up in my most fancy coat and scarf, heading out alone and treating myself to a big ole cup of steaming coffee, or a rich glass of red wine in the local cafe. My tip is to find a new “favourite” place just a few minutes further away, people watch in a new neighbourhood and extend your outside time just that little bit more. Such a treat even if the weather is dark and gloomy.

  144. Kiana says...

    This is true for any time of the year, not just winter, put down your phone. Check the news in the morning, not at night. Delete your Facebook account, follow fewer people on Twitter, and if anyone on Instagram makes you feel ugly/fat/unfashionable/like a bad mom, unfollow them.
    Most importantly, volunteer. Take soup to a food bank, read stories to children, bake cookies for people waiting in line to vote. This, more than anything else, will cure any malaise. Try it, you will see!

    • Abbie says...

      Huzzah to this! The change I feel on media breaks is measurable in all the ways.

    • soph says...

      I quit social a month ago and have instead focused my energy on reading the actual news, engaging more with my immediate community, and volunteering with several voting/campaign initiatives. It has been an absolute game-changer in the best way.

  145. Doing something creative is so energizing. Sing to a favorite song, get up and dance to a favorite video, doodle… All of these activities may be a little difficult to begin but I have experienced how immensely mood-altering they are. I learned during the lockdown that creating is ALWAYS more energizing than consuming.

  146. Chiara says...

    Ditto on the baths. When it’s cold out, there’s nothing like a warm bath to warm me right up. I put a tablespoon of coconut oil under the warm running water and when I get out I’m warm and my skin turns so smooth.

    I also think read alouds don’t need to be kept for the kids. My husband just finished reading “Moby Dick” to me before bed; we started last winter. It was a really nice way to snuggle up and work through a classic I’d never have picked up on my own. And it was a really great book. I’m trying to decide what we’re going to read this winter.

    • Jill says...

      What a great idea Chiapas!

    • Jill says...

      I’m so sorry Chiara. Auto correct wants to correct in all the wrong places it seems.

    • Kelly P says...

      This is a great idea! I used to read to my husband all the time. We got through several novels before he chose a 1,000 page dry ass history of the lead up to WWII that I got half way through before I just quit. I think perhaps we’ll pick it back up this winter with a book of my choice :-)