The winter months often feel like they’ll never end. Those grey skies, rain, and gloom can make us feel miserable and unhealthy, but there are ways to brighten the boredom and keep you feeling good.
Make an effort to ditch your cozy PJs and central heating for some self-care and frugal joys that’ll see you and the family through to spring.
Winter makes you feel like hibernating, especially with all the colds and flu that affect our energy levels.
Incorporating some yoga stretches into your daily routine can make a big difference to your mental and physical health. For example, stretching can banish a backache and tech neck from too much screen time.
Here are some simple stretching activities your family can all take part in.
- Stand up straight and hold your hands behind your back
- Take a deep breath
- Roll forward as you exhale
- Let your clasped hands fall over the top of your head
- Look right, then left
- Gently roll back up and take another deep breath
If you have mobility difficulties, try this simpler version.
- Stand against a wall
- Put your arms above your head
- Flatten your neck and spine against the wall
- Pull your shoulders down and reach up at the same time to lengthen your neck
Yoga strengthens muscles in a gentle way and calms anxiety as well as banishing that winter stiffness we develop by sitting indoors instead of enjoying the sunshine.
A few yoga stretches may even get you in the mood for a nature walk.
Rain and snow are not reasons to stay indoors.
Wrap up warmly and enjoy the fresh air. Take snacks, a thermos of your favorite hot drink, and get muddy. Playing in the soil is a great way for kids to develop their immune systems.
Make it fun for the family by turning your stroll into a nature walk. Talk about the seasons and look for the signs of spring. You might even spot faces in the clouds and jump in some puddles.
Walking in the woods to soak up the atmosphere is a proven way to boost your health; plus, the trees shelter you from the snow and rain. Forest bathing is popular in Asia, where it’s known as Shinrin-yoku, and it’s great for the entire family.
Upon returning home, ask children to write down things they’ve spotted, or make a bird feeder by melting down lard and throwing in a handful of seeds. Once it’s set, hang it outside and keep watch through binoculars.
If the weather is really too terrible to venture outside, find a nearby nature center or reserve that offers facilities to warm up in.
Everyone loves the snow—especially children.
If you are lucky enough to get snow, head outside for the simple frugal joys of snowball fights, snowman-building, or sledding. You can take the summer bubble blower outside and watch the bubbles freeze over, too.
With or without snowfall, you can help your kids learn about the science of snow. Did you know every snowflake has six sides? It’s because the molecules join in a hexagonal structure.
If there’s no snow to be seen, you could make snowflakes from white paper and hang them up for your own indoor snowstorm.
Baking is a winter joy, and the whole family can get involved.
It doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Look for recipes with reduced sugar and try out a butter alternative.
Flapjacks are a simple way to start out baking with the family, and they’re a great source of fiber. Teach kids the frugal joy of baking their own homemade cake and let them decorate it with winter-themed icing for snow and marzipan snowmen.
Then eat it—that’s the best part.
Don’t groan; libraries are so underutilized they’re closing down, but they exist for your entertainment.
Libraries don’t only contain books, they also offer audiobooks, board games, and DVDs for a few cents’ rental fee. They put on programs for children and adults such as crafting, knitting, and special winter projects like migration studies.
Check out your library—it’s a frugal and family-friendly activity perfectly suited to the winter months.
From simple stick men and coloring to watercolor masterpieces, art is a medically proven form of self-care for both adults and children.
Grab an adult coloring book or download a picture from the internet. Use felt-tip markers, colored pencils, chalks, crayons, and paint to create something fun. Let the family go crazy with their own designs or set a goal like learning to draw an animal well.
Art stimulates the brain, and it’s a good way to keep everyone off the blue light screens that create insomnia before bedtime.
Don’t forget to hang up those masterpieces, as it encourages the family to make more homemade art.
Power walking is a non-impact exercise that most people can enjoy, even those with mobility difficulties. Power walking is suited to the winter, as it’s less dangerous than running on the snow and ice.
Begin with a slow walk to the local shops and back. The aim is to eventually walk as quickly as possible with a straight posture and deep, healthy breathing.
Power walking is an excellent exercise that prevents the knee and ligament damage running creates—plus, the family can enjoy racing each other.
RELATED: Jogging vs Walking
There’s nothing better than the frugal joy of meeting up with friends.
Leave Facebook alone and meet a friend in real life for coffee and a playdate. If you don’t know anyone locally, join a parent forum or search out the nearby baby or toddler groups to find new friends.
Chatting with others is good for mental health. Children love the company, too—especially if you’ve been stuck indoors driving each other insane all winter.
Beat Winter Boredom
Winter doesn’t have to be a miserable time.
If you can make the effort to start one of the above winter activities, you’ll find your spirits lifting and the day passing quickly.
Exercising, homemade frugal joys and a bit of self-care beat expensive days visiting theme parks and restaurants any day.