7 Ways To Enjoy Winter

"Once we stop wishing it were summer, winter can be a glorious season in which the world takes on a sparse beauty and even the pavements sparkle. It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order."

-Wintering by Katherine May

I struggle with seasonal depression and when I tell people that, many seem to think that means I hate winter. Well, that's not at all true.

The thing that's hard about winter for me is the way my body responds to the long nights. I think a lot of us feel tired earlier with the sun setting in the late afternoon.

And it's hard for me to get out and enjoy the season when my limbs are so heavy and it's physically hard to move. This is one of the telltale signs of true SAD.

(I am not a medical practioner. Talk to your doctor and avoid a self-diagnosis based on anything I say in this post.)

Despite, the extra effort it takes to function, I think winter is a beautiful season! Yes, even after Christmas.

Here are some reasons why:

• I don't have to be awake at an unreasonable hour to enjoy a breathtaking sunrise or sunset.
• I don't have to keep my kids up late to stargaze with them.
• I like hiking to gorgeous, frozen waterfalls.
• The food: I love oranges which are in season! I love hearty soups, hot drinks, and warm desserts.
• The cold is good for the skin. (assuming I moisturize regularly)
• When there is snow I like to sled and play outside as much as possible.

I get that not everyone likes winter, and the point of this article is not to convince you that winter is great and you have to enjoy it.

I read a book recently by Kendra Adachi called The Lazy Genius Way. In my favorite chapter, she emphasizes the importance of living in our season of life whether that be newborn stage, a career shift, the end of a relationship, summer, or winter.

Whatever your current season may be, you'll feel more like yourself if you lean into it rather than try to ignore this phase you're in until it passes. You might try to make winter feel more like summer, but life is better lived in authenticity.

So, maybe you'll be pining for summer all through January and February, but I have some ideas that might help you get a little more comfortable with winter.

These aren't fitness or diet goals, but simply things I do to help myself feel good physically and emotionally this time of year.

And this is not an all or nothing to do list. Perhaps you'll choose just one of these ideas and I hope you will let me know in the comments which suggestion you try and how it goes!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links at no extra cost to you. All opinions expressed in this article are my own. 


In the winter, we like to make shapes in the snow with birdseed and get some bird watching time.

• For at least six months of the year, from September through March, I take certain vitamins to give my body a little boost, namely Vitamin D3 and Omega 3. Both of these are shown to help with sunlight deficiency and depression. (Consult your doctor about this)

If you choose to try these, remember that vitamins can only help you in addition to a wholesome diet. They are called supplements for a reason.

• I take warm, not hot showers and moisturize.

The hot water may be comforting in the moment, but it leaves skin dry and even more uncomfortable in the cold.

Also, I moisturize while still in the shower. After turning the water off, I pat dry with a towel and smooth a quality, inexpensive body cream over my whole body. This keeps my skin soft and hydrated and helps me stay comfortable all day and night.

• I use a rice bag.
Actually, it's a large sock stuffed with rice and tied on the end, but it does the job. I microwave it for a couple minutes at night and tuck it under my blankets to warm my bed while I stretch on the floor. It's wonderful and my muscles seem to melt when I get under the covers. It's also nice to sort of drape it around my shoulders for a while and feel the tension fade.

Plus it's cheaper and easier to store than a heating pad or blanket. Hot water bottles are nice too but the rice sock feels more versatile.

• I find other ways to get extra comfortable like:
Turning on a cozy fire on YouTube and reading a book, making a slowcooker recipe like crockpot Kung Pao Chicken, or wearing cozy wool socks (these are my favorite).

I also reserve a special blanket for just this time of year to make it a special occasion/season.

At home, we turn the thermostat down to about 66° or 65° and bundle up. It's more comfortable this way, trust me. This is true especially for sleeping.


Because it's beautiful out there. Yep, even when it's cold. 

You may not like the sound of it at first, but research shows that spending time outside year round has several health benefits, even when it's cold and gray and sometimes even when it's dark.

People who go outside for a healthy dose of cold temperatures are less likely to get depressed and they get sick less often. And moving outside even on a cloudy day can help you sleep better at night.

I enjoy going on walks in the cold because it is refreshing, it gives me an endorphin boost, and it makes warm soup and hot Crio Bru more delightful. (The Venezuela medium roast is my new favorite.)

I love donning my favorite dark green wool coat and comfortable boots and going out to see the stars, the glitter of the snow in sunlight, the white sky on a cloudy day, and the little clouds from my breath.

I like to notice birds nests that are hidden by foliage in the summer and seeing brightly colored rosehips and snow-covered pine trees. I like the lacy look of ice along the edges of the sidewalk and the sound it makes when I step on it.

More than just walking outside, I like to play. I look forward to winter activities as much as I do swimming or paint fights in the summer months which brings me to #3.


It's easy to feel like all the fun is over once Christmas season has ended, but that doesn't have to be the case. (See my Christmas bucket list.)

If you're bored in January and find you have energy but don't know where to channel it, try some fun seasonal activities that are specific to winter but don't have to be limited to Christmas time:

• Ice Skating
Ice Castles in Midway, UT (the birthplace of ice castles)
• Dinner at the Viking Yurt (one of my favorite dining experiences in all my life)
Winter Lights Zipline
• Sledding
Tubing at Solider Hollow (for ages 3+)
Try Snowshoeing
• Make ice ornaments or ice luminaries
• Feed the ducks
• Spell your name with birdseed or make a heart shape and watch the birds come eat it.
• Make snowflakes or stars on the ground with sticks or pine needles.
• Build a snowman or snow fort
• Make and eat maple syrup snow or sweetened-condensed milk snow with sprinkles.
• Color the snow with Jello or kool-aid powder. It's easier than making snow paint.
• Go on a lantern walk in the dark with your kids. Let each kid carry their own jar lantern.
• Snowmobiling
• Snowboarding or Skiing
• Trampoline park (Yes, you can do this any time of the year, but it feels special if you only go a certain time of year.)

(See my winter bucket list for more ideas.)


It's important to fuel our bodies with foods that help us feel good. I'm not talking about body image. I mean, how your body feels. If you want to feel less sluggish this winter, eat foods that help your body be strong and less tired. That includes foods that warm your heart.

Practice finding harmony between giving your body what it needs and what it wants. There is no right or wrong, just practice.

Every week in the winter I make the following dinners: soup with lots of protein and vegetables such as kale or cabbage, a hearty winter salad, something roasted (usually chicken) with lots of in-season vegetables like parsnips, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.  

And I bake a treat like peanut butter cookies with Nutella, hazelnut brownies, or Clementine Cake (more on that in a minute).


Winter is the season of oranges! They taste best this time of year and smelling them apparently lowers cortisol levels. The smell of citrus both relaxes and energizes and so it's perfect for the post holiday lull.

I associate Christmas time with the smells of peppermint, pine, and chocolate, but I get bored of them after December.

January feels special when I reserve my orange essential oil or orange desserts for this one month of winter.

I like orange scent in my body wash or bath salts and sometimes I put a little orange essential oil on my wrists so I can smell it throughout the day.

And I make a Clementine Cake every January 13th which I will explain next.


It's okay if you're not into skiing or hiking in the snow. Some people just love the magic of festive holidays and maybe you miss that when the new year comes.

Well, my husband and I have made up a holiday of our own: Walter Mitty Day.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013) technically takes place in the spring, but Januray 13th was the first time we watched it together.

We love it so much that we watch it every year while eating homemade clementine cake.

It's perfect because clementines are in season and I don't believe in resolutions to cut out sugar all together.

Clementine cake is a perfect comfort food for this time of year. It's not heavy like some Christmas desserts and the flavor is bright.

I crafted this recipe over three years of experimentation, and it is delightful if i may say so myself. The best part is, you can make it a little at a time over three days so it's not a huge all-at-once chore.

Scroll to find my Clementine Cake recipe at the end of this post! 

Now, onto February! For me this is a month dedicated to all the people I love and all things red and pink: fruits, desserts, and cozy sweaters! 

I like to make a Galentine's Day snack board with white cheeses, pistachios in their white shells, red berries, and pink and red candies. 

And to make this month special for my kids: I make red, pink, and white paper hearts, one for everyday leading up to Valentine's Day. I write something I love about each of my children and tape one to their door every night. I write out all the messages at once to make it easier for me. 

My son has loved seeing his hearts and hearing me read what I love about him. This practice also brings me joy and I save them in my kids' baby boxes so they can have them years from now. This is my favorite part of February!

Choose a theme to liven up January and February or make up your own a holiday for each month and see how festive late winter can be. I'd love to hear about your traditions for this time of year in the comments! 


Listen to music, read books, and watch movies that are about or take place during winter.

That's what makes Christmas so fun, right? For one month (or two if you can handle that much) Christmas is integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives. We eat Christmas, listen to it, read it, watch it, decorate for it.

What if, instead of avoiding winter, we embrace it and make it special like we would a big holiday?

I don't limit my media consumption to all things winter and that's not what I'm suggesting you do. But if you find that winter feels bleh, maybe listen to one winter song or watch one movie that isn't solely focused on winter but takes place during it.

Here are some easy listening winter-esque songs for you:

• Winter Winds by Mumford & Sons
• I Was A Kaleidescope by Death Cab for Cutie
• Winter In My Heart by The Avett Brothers
• December Song by Birdtalker, Joy Williams
• Cold December by Matt Costa
• Snowfall by Ingrid Michaelson
• Winter Song by Ingrid Machaelson
• A Long December by Counting Crows
• Warm With You by Hayden Calnin
• Winter Song by The Head And The Heart
• Don't Leave Me (Ne me quitte pas) by Regina Spektor

A few winter books and stories:

The Snow Queen (the Hans Christian Anderson story that inspired Frozen)
• The Snow Child (a short and lovely Russian tale)
Wintering by Katherine May
• The Ice Maiden by Hans Christian Anderson
• Ripple, the Water-Spirit by Louisa May Alcott
• How Sampo Lappelil Saw the Mountain King (traditional Swedish tale)
• The Star-Child by Oscar Wilde
• Jack Frost (another Russian tale)
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

All of the short stories listed above can be found in The Snow Queen & Other Winter Tales. 

And here are a few non-Christmas movies in a winter setting:

Charade (Audrey Hepburn & Cary Grant)
Scott Pilgram vs The World
Barefoot in the Park (Robert Redford & Jane Fonda) 
Groundhog Day
Frozen (my kid is obsessed with "cutting" ice with his plastic saw thanks to this movie)
Defiance (with Daniel Craig and it has beautiful cinematography)
Everest (technically in the spring but with lots of snow)
• Togo (a Disney+ original and more historically accurate than Balto)
The Bourne Identity (such a cool classic)

Finally, I want to say a few things about "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" and why it's perfect to watch at the start of the new year.

If you haven't seen it, this is a film about a man who wants so badly to travel and really experience life. What I love most is not the courage and confidence that he finds after his adventures.

No, the best part is when Walter comes home and discovers that the photographer he worked with for years had always seen him as an incredible person. Walter was already amazing.

And like him, we don't need a life full of "been theres" and "done thats."

This movie inspires me to do something exciting and feel content with who I am and what my life looks like right now.

I love New Year's Eve. It's such a fun holiday and my baby's birthday. I don't care for the "new me" part of the new year, though.

How many of us really like a January where we are chasing new goals and counting workouts, counting books we've read, counting macros? We might as well be counting breaths and is that what life is really about?

So if you only try one idea from this post, celebrate Walter Mitty Day with us and relax into your current season of life.

What do you like about winter? What helps you enjoy it more? Share in the comments below!

Kait's Clementine Cake
For the Candied Clementine Slices:
• 3 clementines, thinly sliced
• 1 c sugar
• 1 c water

• Combine the water and sugar in a wide skillet and bring to a boil, stirring all the while until the sugar is dissolved.
• Once it's boiling, turn the stove down to low and place the clementine slices in the syrup.
• Let the clemetines cook until the skins are translucent (about 30 minutes)
• Remove from heat and put both clementines and syrup in another bowl or container to cool.

For the Cake:
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 c butter (softened)
• 1/2 c buttermilk
• 1/2 t almond extract (optional)
• About 350 g whole clementines
• 175 g cake flour
• 75 g almond flour
• 275 g sugar
• 1 t salt
• 1 t baking soda

• Set eggs and buttermilk out to reach room temp
• Prepare an 8 inch cake pan with cooking spray and flour.
• Preheat the oven to 350° F
• Mix all the dry ingredients
• Poke the clementines about 20 times each with toothpick.
• Microwave clementines for 5-6 minutes
• Pulse the cooked clementines in a food processor until blended to a pulp.
• Cream the butter and eggs.
• Mix in buttermilk, almond extract (optional), and clementine pulp.
• Slowly mix in dry ingredients
• Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes
• Let cool and remove the cake from the pan.

For the Clementine Curd and Mascarpone Icing:
• 1/2 c clementine juice
• Zest of 1 clementine
• 1/2 c sugar
• 2 eggs yolks
• 3 tbs butter
• 4-8 oz mascarpone cream cheese (softened)
• Whisk the egg yolks in a medium size bowl and set aside.
• In a medium saucepan pan, combine the clementine juice and sugar and bring to a boil.
• Whisk constantly while slowly pouring the boiling clementine juice into the egg yolks.
• Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to a boil.
• Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
• Pour the curd back into the bowl and cover with plastic.
• Be sure to press the plastic onto the surface of the clementine curd to keep a skin from forming.
• Chill for at least 2 hours.
• Starting with 4 oz of mascarpone, whip it in a mixing bowl for a few minutes before mixing in the clementine curd.
• If you like it, leave it. Otherwise, add mascarpone a little at a time until you like the taste of the icing.
• Optional: add some or all of the syrup from the candied clementine slices to sweetened the icing a little more.
• Pour the mascarpone icing over the whole cake and top with the candied clementine slices.
• Watch "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" while you enjoy a slice. 🍊 🥮

Follow me on Instagram @whatscooking_kait for more recipes!

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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