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Ten Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Wintertime Blues

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The following is from Shelly Wildman of Life on the Wild Side:

winter blues
source: Dawn

Winter can be a difficult time of year for many people. Sunlight is in short supply, and if you live in the North or the Midwest, like I do, it can get really cold and stay really cold for a while.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I’m looking for an escape — some change of routine from the long, dreary days of winter. But not everyone can physically escape winter’s grasp and head to a tropical island for three months. That’s expensive!

So what are some inexpensive ways to escape the wintertime blues, even if just for a few minutes? Here is a list of ten ways you can leave winter behind and perk up your day, inexpensively:


What else?! Go to a fancy chocolate shop and buy yourself a couple of your favorite little chocolates (salted chocolate-covered caramels for me!). Eat one as soon as you get in the car, savoring its deliciousness as it melts on your tongue. And save one for later in the afternoon, as the light is dwindling, to enjoy with a cup of tea. A sweet escape.


This one’s a no-brainer. Every expert will tell you that exercise releases endorphins that just make you happy, more alert, more relaxed. Make time for the gym, or, especially on those rare, sunny days, try to get out and take a long walk. Sure you’ll have to bundle up, but it will be worth it when you come home refreshed and energized.

Get a haircut.

And, if you can afford it, some highlights. Brightening up your hairstyle is a quick pick-me-up when you’re probably not feeling the best about yourself.

Rearrange a room.

Grab a friend and start shoving the furniture around. In the winter, we tend to stay home more, so changing up a room might just help you enjoy your space on the inside, even though the outside might not be very pleasant. Plus, the change of scenery will help lift your spirits.

Bake some bread.

For me, baking is therapy, and bread-making is the ultimate counseling session. The process takes a while, but, hey, in winter you’ve got nothing but time. It’s a chance to get your hands gooey while you make something that is ultimately satisfying. Plus, your family will love you for it. I’ve been making this recipe for about a year now, and it is fantastic!

Plan a trip.

Or at least look at some travel websites. Maybe you have plans to take a summer vacation, but you haven’t finalized those plans just yet. Take a few minutes to browse some travel websites. Many have photo galleries that you can click on to take a mini vacation in your mind. The Caribbean, Tahiti, and Hawaii might be fabulous places to start that virtual vacation. A couple of websites with photo galleries are and

Shed those sweats.

In the winter it’s easy to just throw on a pair of sweats to stay comfy and warm. I get that. I do it too. In fact, sometimes in the winter I just want to stay in my sweats all week. But once in a while you’ll feel so much better if you dress up a bit—dress jeans, nice blouse, nice sweater—even if it’s just to run to the grocery store. Just dressing a tad nicer than normal will make you feel like you’re not stuck in a winter rut.

Makeup, perhaps?

And while you’re dressing up, pay a little more attention to your makeup. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself on those dark, dreary days.

Invite a friend over for coffee.

I tend to hibernate in winter. I’m a homebody anyway, but in winter it becomes much worse because I just don’t want to go out in the cold. One nice way to break up the monotony, especially if you’re home with small children, is to invite a friend over for a couple of hours of coffee and conversation.

Read a book.

But not just any book. Read a book that takes place during the summer or in a different setting as yours. I love to read books that take place in England because while I’m reading I’m transported there. During winter, you might want to choose a book that takes place in the summer. You’ll be able to feel the warmth! Your local librarian can help you with this.

Wintertime doesn’t have to be dreary, and these simple, inexpensive escapes can help pass those long winter days. And remember, spring is just around the corner!

Shelly Wildman (thus, the “Wild Side” title of her blog) lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband of 25 years and three teenage daughters. Needless to say, life is wild, but when she finds spare time Shelly likes to read, write, cook, and walk her energetic but adorable dog, Thunder. Come join her everyday adventures at Life on the Wild Side.