Let’s be real, living in a cold climate isn’t easy. Anyone who says differently is either lying or is one of those people that never actually has to go outside to get to work/do anything.

I didn’t grow up in a cold climate — I’m from Vancouver, BC, but I’ve had more than my fair share of cold weather after two years in Saskatchewan and now almost two years in Calgary.

During these winters, I’ve found it can be a little tough to stay positive, especially on those extremely cold days when the wind slices right through your skin and you LITERALLY can’t feel your face anymore. I used to just avoid the weather as much as possible by staying in my apartment and watching hours of television — but that is not a solution, and I realized the hard way that it generally only makes things worse. So, here are the key strategies I use to make sure I have a happy winter.

Winter Blues

 

1.Get underground parking

 

There’s a reason this is at the top of my list — it is a game changer. For me to stay happy I have to be able to get out of the house, and I have wayyy more motivation to do that if I’m not getting into an ice-block of a car. Underground parking is KEY. It makes all the difference in the world. But, if you don’t have the option, take the next best which is an automatic starter. Driving anywhere, especially to an early shift at work when it’s still dark out, is way less sucky when you get into a warm car.

I lived in Saskatchewan during one of the coldest winters they’ve had in 100 years with no underground parking or car starter and I was miserable. Now, I have BOTH — which really comes in handy when my car is not at home but parked out on the street somewhere. It makes me hate the cold weather SO much less.

***EXTRA TIP…if you’re car doesn’t have heated seats, get THIS heated seat plug-in from Amazon. It’s cheap and you WILL thank me.

 

 

2. Wear PROPER winter gear

 

Lake Louise Banff Winter Blues

 

Minus forty will not feel like minus forty if you are dressed properly. This means a high-quality winter jacket (Canada Goose for the win), and maybe even more importantly, heavy-duty winter boots (I recommend Sorel). Thick wool socks and layers of loose clothing made of materials like wool, polyester, and fleece will make a huge difference. Also, invest in a good pair of gloves and a blanket scarf (trust me on this one).

 

 

3. Keep a clean home

 

Beat Winter Blues

 

There’s nothing worse than going from a complete shit-storm outside to an even bigger shit-storm in your home. You’re going to be spending more time indoors, so make it a clean, organized environment. Mess and clutter will only stress you out and bring you down.

 

 

4. Find an indoor hobby

 

 

Find something to replace outdoor activities that you can no longer do in the winter. It can be as simple as drawing, writing, knitting, scrapbooking or reading. Or maybe there is a project that you’ve been putting off for a long time — like organizing your photos, or going through your closet and figuring out what clothes you don’t wear anymore. Winter is the perfect time to tackle some of those things. Then you will have something to keep you busy while your staying in from the cold, and you will also feel more accomplished.

 

 

5. Focus on your health

 

Natasha Frakes Healthy Eating Heirloom Vegetarian Vancouver

 

 

It’s so much easier to pack on the pounds in the winter. You’re likely doing less outdoor activity, driving/using transportation more, and you’re probably eating more — whether it’s out of boredom or because of all the holidays. For many, myself included, weight gain can equate to depression, and that’s the last thing you need when it’s dark and cold outside. Solution? Find some kind of exercise you can do in your home, or near to your home that is convenient enough so you won’t use the cold as an excuse not to go. For me, it means following a workout guide I downloaded from a personal trainer online, but it could also mean exploring some of the yoga studio or gym options in your neighbourhood. Also, make sure you are eating nutrient-rich foods and not relying on fast-food or carbs to get you through winter. If your body is not getting the nutrients and vitamins it needs, it will impact your mental health. So, focus on staying active and eating healthy. Taking the time to exercise and cook nutritious food are also good ways to stay busy indoors.

 

6. Take advantage of sunlight

 

Beat Winter Blues

 

There’s not very much of it in the winter, so on a sunny day make the most of it! Even if it is cold as hell, bundle up and go for a walk. Or, take it one step further and go on an adventure. Go to the mountains, go ice skating, or check out something that looks completely different in winter, like a frozen waterfall. The exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D will do you good.

7. Embrace it

 

Beat WInter Blues

 

Fighting the cold will do you no good, you will lose every time. So give up the battle and embrace it. Go tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing…or go to a place you may have gone in the summer just to see how it looks in the winter. Chances are it will be just as beautiful, if not more.