Productive Things to do on a Winter Evening
Every January, as the holiday season ends, the same exact thought comes to my mind: “I’m so ready for spring“.
It’s not that I don’t like winter, I just can’t stand the cold and the SAD or winter blues. Gloomy, dark winter weather conditions are also less than ideal for my “after work photography sessions”, so my routine always has to change quite a bit. I think that the lack of daylight often gets to most of us, and we all get a little lazy/tired and staying on top of things doesn’t come as easy.
BUT, it’s the beginning of the new year, we all set out so many new and exciting goals for ourselves, wouldn’t it be great if you achieved some of yours, by the time spring comes?
Journaling is a great way to establish a good connection with your goals. Have weekly (or daily) check-ins, keep track of your progress. Journal writing can help you get mental clarity, get rid of a lot of “mental clutter” that fogs your focus. Make this a nightly ritual. While it might not seem like a very productive thing to do, this will help you achieve your goals, however big or small. It’s something that will assist you in holding yourself accountable and staying disciplined.
If you’re anything like me, you have a ton of books stacked up under your desk and your “to read” list keeps getting longer and longer. Cold winter evenings are perfect for catching up on reading books, magazines and blogs. Warm blanket, a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a good book is a perfect recipe for a cozy evening in. I love that moment when I sit down by the fireplace and open up a new book. I remember being a tween, getting home after school on a cold, wet Fall or Winter day, I’d drink tea, eat oranges and rest against the heater while reading HP- it was my favorite thing to do and it kinda still is- but I definitely don’t get to do it as often as I’d like.
Audiobooks are also great because you get to listen to them, while doing something else like folding laundry or doing the dishes. Sometimes, even on those long Winter evenings I don’t have enough time to actually sit down and read, so this is a great way to still do some “reading” (nothing beats reading an actual book though, let’s be real here). I usually like to listen to something about personal development/growth.
TRY A NEW RECIPE
I am obsessed with Food Network shows like Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen and I myself love trying out new and often complicated recipes. I love putting some music on, having a glass of wine and cooking. Sometimes when I have a really stressful day, one of my favorite things to do is cook- it’s soothing and relaxing. This is even more fun when you can do with your partner or your roommate. Another cool idea is to do an at-home version of Chopped- pick a few mystery items for one another and try to come up with a meal (preferably one that’s edible :) ). Maybe learn how to bake a perfect apple pie, or make homemade bread? On Sundays, I love making a batch of homemade raw bars or banana breakfast bars for the week ahead, which usually takes care of my breakfast and snacks during the workweek.
Winter evenings are a perfect opportunity to clean your closet, your pantry, laundry room or your kitchen. I did this last month and right now I’m painting my huge mirror frames in my closet/room and next I’m getting started on are the moldings and the closet itself. I’ve been putting this off all summer and then fall because there was always something else or more important to do. Now, that I have a bit more time this is a great way to stay busy and do something productive.
To most of us, work is pretty important. We’re constantly busy while also trying to take care of things like our family, school and/or home. When was the last time you had a few minutes just for yourself? Turn off your phone, take a long bath, go for a run, take your dog for walk, do some at-home exercise, take care of yourself.
This might not seem like the most productive thing to do, but it is. If you want to take care of your family and give your best at work, you have to make sure you practice self-care even if it’s just little things like picking up a cup a coffee from your favorite place or eating your favorite dessert (all by yourself!), or maybe spending just 10 minutes alone. Few years ago I almost went through a nervous breakdown when going through a very difficult time. I was so busy worrying and taking care of someone close that even doing things like eating or trying to catch a breath felt guilty. If you wear yourself out, you’ll have nothing to give to others.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
We live in an amazing day and age. With a simple click of your computer mouse you can access a ton of free information and make use of endless resources. With websites like edX or Open Culture you can access free online courses from the world’s leading universities like Yale and Harvard, whatever your interests might be. I especially love learning new things about nutrition and food (find a list of my must-see food documentaries right here) and I’m also obsessed with everything that has anything to do with personal development. A few websites I visit regularly are TED, Marie Forleo and Gabby’s blog which I mention quite a lot here on Thirteen Thoughts.
What about you guys? What do you love to do on a cold, gloomy Winter day? How do you stay productive?