20 Low-Cost Ways to Brighten Your Mood During Winter

by Tracy · 9 comments

stay happy in winter

Winter can be a long season for many of us—especially as the snow and ice takes its toll on our outlook. Most of us don’t have the time or money to jet off down south to soak up some sunshine and restore our happy moods, so instead we’ll have to get creative and work with what we have.

Some of these ideas might seem like they are geared towards kids, but they will work for anyone. The hardest part of beating the blues is breaking out of the “feel lazy and unmotivated/do nothing/feel even lazier and less motivated” cycle. Sometimes doing something unexpected and completely out of character is the best way to break state and get into a better groove.

Here are 20 ways to keep the energy and positivity going during the winter months:

low-cost winter activities1. Turn up the music and get silly. Sing along, dance and put your heart and soul into it. Don’t worry if you aren’t any good at it, most people aren’t!

2. All of those chores you’ve been putting off? Now is the time to do them. It might seem crazy to cheer yourself up by doing work, but staying busy can make you happier. Plus, you’ll love looking at your de-cluttered closet or sparkling fridge.

3. Get out scissors, glue, construction paper and old magazines and make a collage. Millions of preteen girls can’t be wrong – there is something soothing and exhilarating about the art of collage. Try adding silly word bubbles and creating zany headlines with cut out words and phrases. Any creative activity will work; I suggest collage because it’s something anyone can do and almost everyone will have the supplies at hand.

4. Turn off the computer and television for awhile. Too much screen time is not good for our minds and bodies.

5. Pick up a book or magazine with lots of pictures and immerse yourself in another world.

6. Look into Vitamin D supplementation. The dark days of winter leave many of us deficient in this vital nutrient which can exacerbate the winter blues.

7. Pull out the board games and cards. You’ll ask yourself why you don’t do this more often!

8. Take a chance and invite a neighbor over for tea and coffee. Social isolation is not good for anyone. You might make a new friend!

9. If you have elderly or shut in neighbors check on them and see if you can assist them in any way. Helping others is one of the best ways to break out of a funk.

10. Bundle up and go for a walk around the block. The cold air can be bracing and energizing. Don’t do this if conditions are unsafe or you are frail or in bad health, but most of us can be outdoors for 15-20 minutes even when the temperature hovers around the freezing mark.

11. Give yourself a manicure, pedicure and/or facial even if you’re a guy. Everyone can do with a bit of primping and pampering.

12. Start pulling out things for your garage sale once the weather gets warm.

13. Write thank you letters to those who have had a positive effect on your life. If you can, mail them and spread the joy.

14. Make a list of all you have in life to be grateful for. Be sure to include all of your personal strengths and achievements. It’s okay to celebrate yourself!

15. Find a box or other container and make a time capsule that you (or your kids!) can open up some time in the future. You can include newspaper or magazine clippings, printouts from online websites, food packages, catalogs, sales fliers and pretty much anything else that shows what life was like in 2011.

16. Go ahead and open those mystery boxes in the attic or basement. You might find some buried treasure or you might decide it’s time to get rid of this clutter once and for all.

17. Homemade bread is easy to make and all the kneading and shaping is very satisfying. Don’t trust your ability to cook (or have small kids)? Try making some homemade play dough. There are thousands of recipes for both online.

18. Listen to your body and go to bed early if you’re tired. Getting enough rest goes a long way towards a positive mood. Get out of bed as soon as you wake up; getting too much sleep can be just as draining as getting too little.

19. While there is nothing wrong with a hot toddy on a cold night, keep your alcohol consumption in check. Drinking more than one or two drinks a night for an extended period of time can put your health at risk and affect your mood. Don’t depend on alcohol to beat your boredom.

20. You can find home workouts online or through your cable or satellite TV provider. Try out a few and find a way to get moving that makes you feel better on the inside and outside.

How do you beat the winter blues without spending a lot of money?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • FinanceFTW says:

    Great tips. Ever since moving to the northeast, I realized how important it is to get more exposure to sunlight. Even if it’s cold outside, I try to get some sun during my lunch breaks, or at least sit closer to a window when I can.

  • Donna says:

    Increasing my vit D did brighten my mood. I also get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat sensibly.

  • Michael Real says:

    Yeah, I agree with Nate. One way to fight off that winter blues is to workout. It warms up your body and it kills your boredom. But really great tips there.

  • Nate says:

    Don’t forget about exercise. Swimsuit weather is only months away.

  • Squirrelers says:

    The point on sleep is so true. I’ve seen the difference between getting a full night’s sleep and staying up later to blog or really whatever else – and noticing the difference the next day. Sleep helps immensely and is a need.

    One additional way to beat the Winter Blues, but maybe not as low cost compared to the others, is to take a staycation. By this, I don’t mean be at home but a local “vacation”. Get a really good deal for a night or two at a local hotel with a nice indoor pool, health club, and other amenities. If you can get a room with a kitchenette, even better to save money. This has provided a GREAT change of scenery, especially with kids. Financially, it beats flying somewhere.

  • Jenna says:

    Puzzles. And getting a head start of home made gifts for presents.

    • KM says:

      Puzzles are awesome. I had this itch to do puzzles last summer when I was pregnant and didn’t feel like doing anything else. I finished a 500-piece puzzle in an evening once or twice a week, so it was the perfect combination of not too easy and not too long.

  • vered says:

    “Listen to your body and go to bed early if you’re tired. ” Good advice. Been trying to do that.

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