3 Most Effective Ways to Enjoy Winter

It’s easy to fall into the trap of hating winter, with its long, dark nights, and blustery, cold days (believe me, I live in Minnesota!) But feeling depressed, tired, and drained for one whole season out of the year doesn’t have to be normal! This winter, employ some of these practices in order to truly enjoy the season! Winter doesn’t seem to drag depressingly on when you see it in the right light!

1. Enjoy, Don’t Endure

One of the easiest ways to have a happy winter is to actively enjoy it. Think of all the things that are only possible to do in the wintertime—skiing, sledding, building snowmen—and do them! Instead of viewing the wintertime as a cold, dark, snowy time when all you want to do is huddle inside, take advantage of the time to do things you can’t the rest of the year. If you don’t particularly enjoy winter sports, try taking a brisk walk outside to energize yourself and attune yourself to the wonders that winter has to offer. Enjoy the colors, smells, and sounds of the season: winter sunrises and sunsets are often more intense in color than their summer partners, the metallic-icy smell of fresh snow can be rejuvenating, and the extreme, dense silence of snowfall can be perfect for reflection. Take time to appreciate the winter, and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying it rather than enduring it!

2. Get Cozy

Our compatriots in the northern countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have mastered how to enjoy winter: in Denmark it’s called ‘hyggelig’, in Sweden it’s ‘mysigt’, and in Norway it’s ‘koselig’. Though the words don’t have a direct English translation, they are often described as cozy, snug, warm, and together. As I have experienced hygge in Denmark, it means creating a sense of inner warmth through simplicity and comfort. A sense of hygge can apply to anything (and should!, especially in the wintertime) such as a dinner, a conversation, a house, or even a person. Hygge, as close as I can define it, is love, comfort, friendship, simplicity, happiness, and warmth, all wrapped up into a feeling. As the winter gets darker and colder, try snuggling up inside with a fire in the fireplace, lots of candles lit everywhere, a warm drink, maybe some cake, fuzzy blankets, and good company—and then just enjoy yourself. Create your own, warm, little haven, talk about only positive and relaxing things, and feel the hygge/mys/kos enter in to the room and the company.

3. Shift Your Mindset

Perhaps the best (and easiest!) thing to do in order to enjoy winter is to shift your mindset. Change the negative notions you have about long, dark nights, whistling winds, piles of snow, and cold temperatures. As Americans (particularly up here in Minnesota), we often bond by sharing grumblings about the sub-zero temperatures and literal feet of snow, and complaining about how terrible the weather is. This negative mindset makes it incredibly hard to enjoy the winter, so this year, refuse to participate in complaining, and refuse to acknowledge winter misery. When faced with negative remarks about the weather, try to respond positively with comments such as, “All this cold weather means I get to nurse a steaming mug of hot chocolate all day!” or “I can’t wait to get out skiing in this beautiful snowfall!” Take the negatives and make them positives. It doesn’t take all that much to change your mindset, and if you consciously try to have a positive winter mindset, you just may be able to self-induce it!