As winter approaches, the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. With these changes, the winter blues can be hard to avoid. The lack of sunshine can bring a truly dreary mood for some, causing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Though you’re certainly stuck indoors more than usual, there are a variety of fun indoor winter activities you can do to break up the monotony of wintertime.
Indoor winter activities for everyone
Sometimes, it’s just too cold to go outside. Cold weather can have a negative effect on your body. When you have to stay inside on a cold day, we have a few ideas that the whole family can enjoy to raise morale in spite of the cold. Here are a few indoor winter activities that can boost your mental health this season.
A day of self-care
Gather face masks made of mud, charcoal, honey and a variety of other natural ingredients so relaxation can take center stage in a fun activity to either enjoy solo or with the family. You can also check out online recipes for homemade masks and bath salts. Spend some time creating an at-home spa experience by adding candles, some herbal tea and your favorite music or podcast.
If you have little kids, science experiments can be a fun and educational way to pass the time this winter. Nature lovers, scientists, computer experts and chemists alike will enjoy trying at-home experiments that are entertaining for the whole family.
Research online to find easy-to-do, at-home things like making a tornado in a bottle, creating an erupting volcano or making invisible ink. Participating in a group activity with your family can lift the spirits and is a great option for snow days.
Streaming services mean there is no shortage of great shows for you to binge this winter. Almost every channel has their own streaming service where you can stream all your favorite shows. While it’s beneficial to limit screen time overall, sitting inside in the warmth and watching a show or movie on your own or with company is a relaxing pastime to enjoy this winter.
Get everyone involved by hosting a themed movie night with the family. Kids can make tickets to the show and set up a refreshment stand with treats like hot cocoa or ice cream. Wear costumes to watch your favorite series. Plan a night around a movie that includes creating a special meal that ties to the show.
However, watching TV doesn’t always mean being a couch potato. There are plenty of ways to stay active inside – find a new workout or dance class online and try it out together. You can also work up a sweat by setting up an obstacle course throughout the house, or even starting an indoor snowball fight, complete with fake snow
Board games are an easy and fun way to introduce some competition and get the whole family involved in a game night. Add in some treats and maybe even prizes to make it even more special. What are some of your family’s favorite board games? Yahtzee, Monopoly and UNO are all favorites with wide age appeal for families. Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are fun choices for very young children. Twister is a more active board game that all ages can enjoy.
Setting up a scavenger hunt in your home can be a creative way to entertain your little ones. Think of ways to turn everyday rooms into treasure troves. You can use small toys or make shapes out of colorful construction paper for everyone to find.
Challenge those thinking caps for older kids by asking questions about where they would find specific household items. Let them take photos around the house to make it more interesting and incorporate things that can’t be moved.
You don’t have to be crafty to set up fun, seasonal crafts for kids. Paint toilet paper rolls or paper bags to make snowmen, make snow globes using glitter and water in jars or build castles and igloos out of cardboard boxes in the living room.
Homemade slime is often a hit with kids. You can mix one-half of a cup of white glue, one-half of a cup of water, one to two tablespoons of saline solution and one-half of a teaspoon of baking soda together to make slime. Add food coloring to your desired shade.
Indoor winter activities for your mental health
All these indoor winter activities are family-friendly and help to make the world indoors a bit more interesting. It is important to be aware of how the time inside affects everyone’s well-being and to build in ways to improve mental health. Sometimes a few breaks outside of the normal day go a long way. When weather permits, take time to get outdoors, but while inside, try some of these activities to boost moods.
However, these should not be a replacement for seeking professional mental health assistance if it is necessary, such as showing signs of depression. If you feel that you or someone in your family needs help talking with a mental health professional, you can start with your primary care provider or explore other therapy options if cost is an issue.