There is a moment post-holiday season where the reality of January sets in: the air is extra chilly, our Christmas cookies are eaten, and we are searching for things to do to beat the winter blues. With outdoor activities no longer an option, it can feel confining—and trying—to find ways to keep busy in the winter.
If this sounds like you, look no further: we rounded up 20 great ways to make the wintertime worthwhile, from spending time resting to trying out new recipes.
Create a Serene Sleep Space
Take some time to make your bedroom as soothing as possible. After all, a good night’s sleep can work wonders. Spend an hour or so decluttering your nightstand drawers and dresser top, then tackle your bedding.
Feeling lackluster about your duvet? I’ve waxed poetic about my love of comforters before, and this (aptly named) style from Parachute truly feels like sleeping on a cloud. It’s the perfect "treat yourself" item that you’ll actually use every day.
Download New Reads on the Cheap
While I generally prefer to flip through physical books, a recent closet cleanout (similar to the one described above) reacquainted me with my Kindle. Along with the discovery of BookBub, it’s been a game changer, especially as someone who loves taking advantage of deals.
BookBub is an app that highlights e-books on sale by genre, with most titles ringing up at $2.99 or less. New arrivals are added every day, so it’s perfect if you’re a speed reader like me.
Host a Virtual Wine Tasting With Friends
Set aside an evening to virtually sip wine with your girlfriends and select your top picks from a selection of Trader Joe’s blends. For just $30, you’ll be able to try five or so types of vino—and settle on a new go-to once IRL hangouts resume.
Up Your Food Delivery Game
The chilly months make it even more tempting to treat yourself to takeout, but if you’re looking for something beyond your go-to places, Goldbelly is for you.
Featuring items from restaurants all across the country, you can easily get your favorite NYC bagels sent to your doorstep, even across the country. Just because you may be unable to travel doesn’t mean your food can’t.
Propagate a Plant
It’s the easiest way to add new life to your space on the cheap, and watching your green friends grow and thrive will make you feel like a proud plant parent. Come spring, you’ll be able to appreciate how much your plant baby has grown in such a short period of time.
Learn to Needlepoint
Needlepoint is majorly on trend these days and is a great way to be productive while kicking back and marathoning Grey’s Anatomy for the fifth time. Go ahead and embrace the grandmillennial lifestyle.
Sweat a Little
A bit of exercise can go a long way in improving your mood. Find an at-home workout that will help you stay fit from the comfort of your living room, no matter if you prefer spinning or yoga.
Donate clothing to a local women’s shelter, volunteer to tutor students online, send care packages to the troops, or shovel the driveway for your elderly neighbor. It may sound cliche, but making a positive difference in someone else's life is bound to lift your spirits, too.
Add Spark to Your Relationship
Unable to travel to see your boo? Make your time apart feel a bit less lonely with one of these long-distance relationship activities.
Master the At-Home Mani
Cue up an episode of your favorite podcast and take some time to give yourself a salon-worthy mani in the comfort of your apartment. This Olive & June kit packed with the essentials will make the experience feel extra glam. We’re a fan of the special polish bottle handle that makes the DIY process a bit easier.
Have a Movie Marathon With a Twist
Enjoy an at-home movie night with a theme. For example, only watch films where Reese Witherspoon plays the lead. Legally Blonde is a must, of course, but trust us, the lesser known Home Again features some seriously good décor inspo.
Master a New Recipe
Seek out a new recipe to add to your repertoire, be it a healthy dish or a sweet treat. My favorite dinner to whip up as of late is any type of delicious chicken soup, which is the perfect meal to enjoy on a cozy winter evening—and can be packed with plenty of nutritional benefits, too.
Start That Blog or Instagram
You know that account you’ve been wanting to launch for years? Now may be the time to bring it to life. Whether you’re passionate about clothing, travel, interiors, or food, don’t be afraid to kick that Instagram page or website into gear once and for all. You’ll thank us later when you find yourself connecting virtually with fellow creatives across the globe.
Actually Read Your Coffee Table Books
You know all of those gorgeous books you own that you hoped to flip through “one day?” Well, that day is here.
Pick up a compelling title or two, grab a mug of tea, and spend an afternoon leisurely gathering inspo—you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t make time to do so earlier.
Ignite Your TikTok Obsession
Seriously, we won’t judge. Here are seven of the best home décor videos to get you started.
Send a Note or Two
Bust out your favorite stationery and let your nearest and dearest know you’re thinking of them with a bit of good old-fashioned snail mail. An unexpected letter will always bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces.
Paint an Accent Wall
As long as you have permission from your landlord, you’re good to go. Whether you opt for an arch, some stripes, or just a bold backdrop, some added color may perk you up in no time. Not sure where to begin? Check out our favorite accent walls to get those creative juices flowing.
Get a Luxe Massage At Home
Treat yourself to a spa-like massage without having to leave your bed thanks to this top-rated device that I’ve owned and loved for years. The fact that it’s also heated makes it all the more wonderful.
Look Into a Side Hustle
Maybe it’s finally opening up that Etsy shop, turning your photography hobby into a mini biz, or launching a career coaching service. Keeping busy will help time fly, and the extra cash won’t hurt, either!
Whip Up a Prosecco Cocktail
Why tuck away the bubbly until your next “special occasion” when there are plenty of delicious cocktails you can make right now? These easy recipes are bound to delight every palette.
Lai W, Yang Z, Mao Y, Zhang Q, Chen H, Ma J. When Do Good Deeds Lead to Good Feelings? Eudaimonic Orientation Moderates the Happiness Benefits of Prosocial Behavior. IJERPH. 2020;17(11):4053. doi:10.3390/ijerph17114053