It’s healthier and more productive to engage in winter hobbies and activities instead of using the cold, dark weather as an excuse to sit on the couch all day. When it gets colder and colder outside, the likelihood of you not leaving the house for anything other than essentials starts to increase. The temptation to stay in all day and binge Netflix in bed increases. With below-freezing temperatures setting in, physical activities often come to a screeching halt because there’s a natural desire to hibernate and eat.
However, studies suggest that hibernating indoors when it’s cold out could adversely impact your mental health and decrease overall satisfaction with life. For some people, these coldest and darkest months of the year could even result in the ‘winter blues’ or an actual medical condition called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that usually sets in around fall and lasts until the end of winter. It is just as harmful and debilitating as traditional depression. Often, depressed individuals aren’t very interested in winter hobbies – or in leaving the house at all.
It’s important to find productive ways to kill time during the snowiest stretch of the calendar year, to keep your mental health in good condition. Whether you’d like to explore outside with snowshoeing or stay indoors cooking up a storm, there are a lot of different winter hobbies to make this season fun and exciting. The most important thing is to find the motivation to start the hobby and stick with it. Check out these fun winter hobbies that will help you make these frosty days zoom by:
Simple Winter Hobbies: Reconnect Indoor or Outdoor Games
Just imagine when you were young, playing simple indoor or outdoor games was considered time well spent. Doing these games stimulate the brain and encourage a little healthy competition. It helps you pass the time while allowing you to bond with family, friends, or even your roommates.
You could do classic indoor board games like Sorry or Monopoly or more interactive ones like Cards Against Humanity, Telestrations, and Brainiac. Doing a giant puzzle is also a night well-spent if that’s your jam. If you don’t have kids, you can leave it on the table and revisit it each night. You could kick things up a notch with a little wine, cheese, and deli meat charcuterie board.
Alternatively, you can have game nights outdoors with your friends. You can build snow mazes, go sledding, or simply create snow angels. If you have kids in your family, these simple activities give them unrestricted spaces for play. It also provides limitless opportunities for learning and physical development. Most of all, playing in the snow provides fun memories no matter your age. Enjoy steaming mugs of cocoa together to warm up afterwards.
Experiment in the Kitchen
One of the best winter hobbies is to do weekly kitchen experiments and have fun cooking new recipes. You can make it fun and exciting by having different themes each week, like an Italian food theme, for example. Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, there are a lot of gastronomic adventures waiting to unfold in your own kitchen. You can try and master each of the following cooking categories:
- Main dishes
If you’re an amateur chef and don’t feel confident with complicated recipes, you can find many simple recipes online. Try as many different dishes and flavor profiles as you can. Playing with food and getting creative is an enjoyable way to pass the time. Moreover, your family will love you for whipping up nutritious and delicious treats to warm their belly.
Affordable Winter Hobbies: Snowshoeing or Ice Skating
Winter hobbies like skiing and snowboarding can be a blast, but they’re often quite expensive and can hurt your pocketbook. Fortunately, you can get through the slow winter months without breaking the bank. You can cure your cabin fever by taking part in a much more affordable winter hobby like ice skating or snowshoeing. These are leisurely-paced activities that will pass time.
Many mountains will rent snowshoes out for only $10 – $15, and ice skate rentals are generally only about $5 – $10.
Ice skating is reasonably-priced at both indoor or outdoor ice rinks. If you have your own ice skates, you won’t have to pay the rental fee. Best of all, friends and family members with different skill levels can make this a weekly date while staying in the same place. Unlike skiing and snowboarding which separates beginners from experts, people can stay in one rink or a city-approved frozen lake.
If you want to enjoy beautiful snowy landscapes and snow-capped tree-lined trails, snowshoeing is one of the best winter hobbies for nature lovers and hikers. You’ll find national parks and local mountains that will allow you to use their trails. This is an excellent activity to keep you moving in winter. Just make sure you stay bundled up to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Experts say that snowshoeing on somewhat tough terrain for a couple of hours can burn about 800 calories. You can do this weekly to keep fit and healthy. Find a snowshoe buddy and take turns finding trails.
Learn a New Language
One of the most beneficial winter hobbies you can do to pass time is learn a new language through a language app like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo. This means you can conveniently learn through a mobile device whether you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, doing laundry, or staying at home. This activity is a challenging brain stimulant. According to Dan Roitman in TELC (a language testing center), “Because the language centers in the brain are so flexible, learning a second language can develop new areas of your mind and strengthen your brain’s natural ability to focus, entertain multiple possibilities, and process information.”
Moreover, language learners tend to become better listeners and creative thinkers. If you spend your time learning a new language, you could have fluency by summer and spend days in a country where you can practice your new language. You can also have goals to strive for like watching a Spanish, French, or Korean movie without subtitles. Achieving your objectives will feel very fulfilling.
One of the most stunning winter hobbies you can engage in is stargazing. May as well take advantage of all of those extra dark hours, right? During winter, the Earth’s position in the Milky Way makes the Northern Hemisphere look a lot clearer. At this time of the year, cosmic spectacles are breathtakingly abundant. You can keep an eye out for these galaxy highlights:
- Pirate Moon Cluster
- Neary Planets
- Crab Nebula
- Orion’s Belt
If you live in the Arctic Circle, you may also be lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis. This fascinating light display is a sight to behold. Going out to appreciate the beauty of the universe is one of those winter hobbies that will enrich your soul and lift your mood. After all, studies show that those who stargaze feel more connected with nature, bringing a sense of calm and serenity to the mind and body.
Which Types of Arts and Crafts Could Be Your New Winter Hobbies?
When you’re bored indoors, arts and crafts could make the days pass by. Having winter hobbies that allow you to express yourself creatively will help you fight the winter doldrums. Creative outlets also help you in expressing yourself. When you continually allow your creative juices to flow, you learn to think outside the box. This is a very helpful skill that could help with problem-solving, especially if you have challenges to overcome.
More importantly, research indicates that people who engage in creative activities feel more optimistic, have brighter moods, and enjoy higher levels of self-esteem. In contrast, those with minimal creative outlets tend to be more bored, feel negative, and have higher levels of depression. To pursue creative winter hobbies and find a healthy creative outlet, check out these examples of arts and crafts you could try out:
Use this traditional art to improve your handwriting. It feels very zen to write with a fancy, old-fashioned pen. Because this requires skill and concentration, you won’t notice those icy winds howling outside.
Purchase yourself a calligraphy set, and use YouTube or other resources to teach yourself this craft.
Put it to good use by writing beautiful Christmas cards in calligraphy.
Anyone can teach themselves how to knit. The most traditional of all winter hobbies is knitting because once you get the basics down, you can do it while watching TV or listening to a podcast. Newbies can pick a simple pattern to start with. Knitting needles and yarns are also affordable. Knitting something while you watch TV makes vegging on the couch productive. In the end, you could have bonnets, scarves, or sweaters.
This comes in handy for Christmas presents, as it’s winter time, and many people love handmade knitted winter accessories.
Find tranquility by learning the art of Japanese flower arrangement. You can use flowers in season and use your creations to beautify and uplift your space. This is a very tranquil and peaceful endeavor that could put your mind at ease.
The Japanese art of folding paper is an excellent crafting project for winter. Once you master the basic folds, it’s easy to create different shapes like cranes, flowers, and animals. You can use these as holiday ornaments (like cute origami tree ornaments) or gift them to friends.
Which Winter Hobbies Will You Engage in This Season?
Just because winter is here doesn’t mean your activity options are limited due to the dark, dreary weather. Engaging in fun winter hobbies will benefit you because it gives you an outlet for de-stressing while bringing more happiness into your life. Find time for hobbies that you truly enjoy that are not related to your work. This helps in boosting life satisfaction.
Moreover, it feels very rewarding and relaxing to engage in activities that you love and feel passionate about. Doing them could help in taking the edge out of the daily rigors of everyday life. So when facing the long, cold winter season, find time to partake in winter hobbies that will enrich your life.
Not sure which winter hobbies would suit you best? Take a CircleDNA test as this shares information on your personality traits and potential hobbies that may be suited to you, based on your DNA. For example, the DNA test might inform you that you may have a genetic talent for skiing, or that your body composition suits exercises like hiking or snowshoeing.
- Quality of life in patients with seasonal affective disorder: summer vs winter scores (Erin Michalak et.al.) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15968846/
- Winter seasonal affective disorder: a follow-up study of the first 59 patients of the National Institute of Mental Health Seasonal Studies Program (PJ Schwartz et.a.) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8678171/
- How to snowshoe your way into a happier and healthier winter (Yukon Charlies) https://yukoncharlies.com/snowshoe-happier-healthier-winter/
- How does learning a new language improve your brain? (TELC) https://www.telc.net/en/about-telc/news/detail/how-does-learning-a-new-language-improve-your-brain.html
- The surprising reasons you should give stargazing a try (Amy Lawrenson) https://www.rituals.com/en-nl/mag-spirituality-benefits-of-stargazing.htmlCreativity, Boredom Proneness and Well-Being in the Pandemic (Nicholaus Brosowsky et.al.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945222/