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For many of us in the Northern Country, winter means cold temperatures, dangerous travel, and dark days.  Not only is it cloudy a lot of the time, but the farther north you travel the less daylight hours there are during the winter months.  Yet, the winter and the snow and the cold bring opportunities for beauty and enjoyment that Southern Folks don’t get to experience.  How do you beat the Winter Blues?

Play Outdoors

dogs in the snow

We all need some outside exercise…even in temperatures below zero Fahrenheit

Even in subzero temperatures, we try to have some fun outside.   Every day there are chores outside that must be done, including snow removal.  That daily exercise really improves our attitude.  It is just as important to play out there as well.  We can always find some dogs who are ready for a quick game of fetch.  Be careful though, a frozen fetch toy is really heavy.

It’s also really important to dress for the weather.  At below zero temperatures, exposed skin can freeze quickly.  Sometimes, it takes us longer to get all our outer clothes on than it takes to do our outside stuff, but it is worth it.  We also make sure we are drinking lots of water.  During the winter, we don’t feel as thirsty but our bodies still need the water.

Another way to beat the winter blues is to share time with people.  During warmer seasons, we have very long days.  The sun shines for more hours and there is an overabundance of work to be done.  Winter weather gives us a great chance to get together with friends as long as it is safe for travel between our homes.

woman with lantern

Our attempt to send off a couple of paper lanterns was a success

We found some paper lanterns that we had never used while we were cleaning.  When some friends came over for dinner, we bundled up and sent them off.  The fire danger is much lower during the winter because of the cold and snow.  We had a great time watching them sail off into the darkness.



Beat Winter Blues by Organizing

emptied kitchen drawer

This is not really my idea of organizing…but its a start I guess

January seems to be a fresh start for a lot of folks.  For me, it is the pause between busyness, so it makes sense to use the time wisely.  We use this time to pull down window treatments and put them back up clean.  The walls and ceilings and floors get a good cleaning as well.

It is a good time for me to go through files and sort out last year’s papers to be stored for the required 7 years.  The papers in the 7 years ago box can then be shredded.  The shredded paper gets recycled as nesting material in the chicken coop.

Some folks call it spring cleaning but spring is pretty busy so for us it happens in January, except for the windows.  They have to wait until temperatures are a little warmer.


refinished boat trim

Didn’t the finish on these boat trim parts turn out lovely?

Cameron has been busy out in his shop while it has been so cold and dark outside.  He is almost done with the garage remodel that has made his shop such a beautiful addition to our lives.  Here is some boat trim he refinished! I just love the shiny finish!  In order to varnish, Cameron set up a humidifier in his shop.  It is nice and cozy in there.

Next up in the shop are 2 kitchen cabinets (one for me, yay!) and 1 bathroom cabinet.


Beat the Winter Blues by Learning

With less daylight hours and less outside chores, this time of year has become our time to learn a new skill.  Some years that has been a new crafting skill, a new baking skill, a new woodworking skill, or a new gardening skill.

This year, we have learned several new things per day.  I have been learning things so fast, I struggle to remember how I did that task.  Right now, I am trying to learn how to shoot and edit video, edit pictures, draw on a computer screen, and play the organ.

We also spent some time ordering chicks!  They will arrive in June and we are so excited!!  We ordered 10 Americanas, 10 Cuckoo Marans, and 10 Red Stars.  I love the exotic chickens.  Cameron likes the standard breeds because he knows that they will lay eggs consistently.  So this year was a compromise.  We also ordered our chicks with a friend.  It was a lot of fun discussing the pros and cons of breeds that we knew.  I learned some stuff.

We also ordered our garden seeds in January and they are here!  Our process for ordering can be found here.  Soon we will be setting up our indoor greenhouse and starting those seeds.

Inside Play

Entertaining the grandbabies and the dogs inside when it is too cold to go out has been fun as well.  Some of our thoughts on animal entertainment can be found here.

window art

The windows make a great canvas for artists old and young.

I think I’m probably the only person on the planet that didn’t know, but, Crayola makes these neat markers called Crystal Effects Window Markers.  We all had a lot of fun writing on all the windows.  They cleaned up very easily with window cleaner even though I left them on the window for a week to enjoy the art.  We got some on our clothes too but we followed the cleanup directions on the box and they washed right out.  It was a great day.  A very clever Mom found out that dry erase markers work the same way.  That same very clever Mom also discovered that 3-year-olds LOVE to clean windows.  Hmmm, good to know, it’s still too cold to wash those windows but come spring…

bathtub art

The soaking tub also makes a fantastic canvas

So it seems we are onto something here.  We had our share of viruses this winter.  One bad day a sick little person needed a bath. We looked no further than the “magic” bath drawer to find an incentive to take a bath in the middle of the day.  These bath crayons sure helped someone feel better about being sick.  Since they are made of soap, they wiped right off as well.  I have heard that they don’t come off so easily on grout though, so do keep that in mind.

valentine treats

Some chocolate valentine treats made for a great celebration

Another thing that keeps the days from all running together is the opportunity to celebrate!  Birthdays, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, St. Patrick’s Day are all great things to celebrate.

Finding creative ways to celebrate helps us to discuss something besides the weather.  It also helps us stay connected with those around us and make their week more joyful as well.


Some of us, myself included, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  There is more information about this disorder here.  My case is mild.  For some of my friends it is much worse.  I have found that vitamin supplements and plenty of exercise help but the biggest help is a sunlamp.  A sunlamp comes in many forms but I simply have a bulb in the floor lamp next to my computer desk that mimics the sun.  I love it!!

We are hoping these ideas help you enjoy what’s left of your winter.  It’s snowing again today so around here at least, that will be awhile.  Leave comments and let us know what you do to beat the winter blues.





Rhonda Brown lives in rural eastern Montana, surrounded by her family, chickens, gardens and dog. When she isn't writing or weeding, she loves spending time with her family, baking, and all things CHOCOLATE.


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