How to Survive the Cold and Actually Enjoy Winter

I grew up in Jamaica, and I remember the very first time I saw snow.

It was my first year of boarding school and I was in class looking out a window, when just like that, little flakes began falling from the sky.

I felt like a kid in a Christmas movie. I could not wait to get outside.

It only took three months and a couple of New England snow storms for my excitement to die all the way down.

To make things worse, I travelled further north to Canada for university.

My poor Jamaican body was not having it.

Fast forward 6 years and I’m still in Canada, currently writing this post as it’s -17 degrees outside.

I’ve fallen in love with Canada and have no plans to move anytime soon, which means that I’ve had to learn how to stop hating winter and cope with these freezing temperatures.

Not only have I learned how to beat the winter blues and cope with the cold, but I’ve also grown to genuinely love winter.

Here’s how.

11 Tips on How to Survive the Cold and Actually Enjoy Winter

1. Get Heavy Duty Clothes

Invest in a proper, heavy, warm winter jacket, and waterproof winter boots with a strong grip.

(Throw in some cute scarfs while you're at the mall too).

Having proper winter gear literally takes away the sting of the cold weather.

High quality jackets and boots will also last you a couple of years.

And in addition to this you also need to protect yourself from getting sick.

The point is, give yourself permission to splurge a little on your winter gear.

With your health and icy streets to look out for, proper winter gear is a necessity- not a luxury.

2. Take in the views.

Winter is beautiful and when you stop cursing the cold long enough you’ll be able to see what I do.

I love a good winter drive (when the roads are clear), but my favorite view is the one right outside my living room.

Set up a space in your house where you can open your window and take in the wintery scenes from the comfort (and warmth) of your home.

If you’re up for a challenge, then go one step further and set aside 5 minutes everyday to sit by that window with a cup of hot chocolate and reflect on your day as you take in the view.

3. Pick up a Winter Project

While cleaning out your closet is productive and a good idea, the winter project I’m talking about here should be something that you enjoy and genuinely want to do.

The best winter projects are typically creative and/or related to your personal development.

My personal winter project this year is to learn 3 classical songs on piano, take 10 hours of singing lessons, and go to 12 kickboxing classes. (My winter project last year was dancing).

Your winter project could be health and fitness related, writing that book you’ve been meaning to get around to, playing a sport, or doing a creative hobby.

4. Put up Seasonal Decor Switch things up a bit and put up hassle-free winter decor around your home.

An example could be changing your bed set, burning vanilla-scented candles, placing pinecone accents on your counter, and putting winter-themed throw pillows in your bed or living room.

Decorating your home for the season makes winter feel special and adds a bit of joy to the season.

5. Bake and Cook Seasonal Foods

Reserving certain foods for winter gives you something to look forward to when it begins to get cold out.

Soups and stews are typical Saturday night dinners in my home during the winter. And a new tradition we’re starting is baking cookies on Sunday nights.

Just as Starbucks reserves Pumpkin Spice for fall, reserve a favorite meal or dessert for winter.

6. Connect

Have dinner, movie and game nights with your friends and family regularly.

Like I said earlier, winter can be extremely isolating, so you have to go the extra mile to stay connected with others.

7. Start a Mid-Winter Tradition

Start you own tradition that takes place towards the end of February.

This tradition shouldn’t break the bank like Christmas does mine, but it should be something that you genuinely look forward to.

8. Change Your Alarm and Wake Up  Brighter

Waking up to darkness is rough. The thought of waking up to a blaring alarm clock in a dark and chilly room at 6:00am is enough to make anyone stressed, depressed, and ready to buy a one-way ticket to the tropics.

The fix to this is an alarm clock.

About a year ago, I bought an alarm clock that changed everything.

In a nutshell, the alarm clock slowly wakes me up with a light that gradually gets brighter and plays a sound at the end to make sure that I’m up.

So every morning, I wake up to my personal sunrise and to the sound of birds singing.

9. Workout

I know, I just rolled my eyes at me too.

You’re probably thinking, “who has the time (and willpower) to get to the gym in -5 degree weather?!”

I get it. But with the lack of sunlight, cold temperatures, and indoor confinement you can’t afford not to stay active during the winter.

Even 20 minutes of physical activity will boost your mood and increases your energy.

Exercise classes and group sports are even better because having the connection of being with other people helps fight the isolation that often comes with winter.

Make distinctions

When I moved to Boston, I only knew 2 seasons: summer and winter.

Don’t pull a Jenine. Mentally label and distinguish Winter, Fall, Spring, and Summer.

Thinking of winter as a 3 month period instead of thinking of it as taking up ½ of the year makes winter less overwhelming.

In summary, to survive the cold and beat the winter blues do these 4 things:

  1. Get a wake up light alarm clock

  2. Buy heavy duty winter clothes and shoes

  3. Stay active

  4. Start personal winter-exclusive traditions to make the season special.

Keep your friends up North in the loop with these winter tips by sharing this post using the links below!

Stay warm.

Xo, Jenine