Productive Things To Do On a Winter Evening

Productive Things to do on a Winter evening

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.


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.


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?

  • Christine C.

    I’ve been organizing, reading and cooking up a storm! I’m trying to spend more time at home, away from my TV and my phone. As silly as that sounds, I’m trying to remember that there are other options other than sitting on social media for hours or watching Netflix all day and night. Do you have a book that you’d recommend for self-care?!?!

  • I used to read so much but I haven’t done so lately. Winter time definitely makes me lazy, I need to get started on some new books.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

    • I used to read all the time, getting back into reading is definitely something I look forward to this year!

  • I absolutely needed this post Paula you’re so right after all the holidays it kind of feels empty I’m totally going start reading some new books which I love doing! Very helpful post Paula :)

    • Thank you so much Mona! I have so many books I bought, hopefully I get read a bunch of them this month haha! :)

  • I totally agree with all of these, but I definitely connect with the reading part the most. Reading is the best thing on a cold winters day! Especially with some hot chocolate in hand. I definitely read and organise myself a lot more in the winter.

    Lizzie //

    • Reading is one of my favorite things to do all year round ;)

  • I love these tips! Especially the organizing part! I love to clean out my closets and home!

  • Wildfire Charm

    These are some wonderful tips! Baking something on a winter evening just makes it so much better. Although I’m not super good at it, I try to practice now and then x

    PS: There’s a iPhone case/ Laptop skin giveaway happening right now on

  • I have the strongest SAD in the world, I swear. As soon as it gets cold and dark, I just switch off and start getting headaches every other day. I just want spring back, eh.

    • Aw that sucks! I’m a little weird but I actually like the darkness lol I always find it much easier to function once it gets dark haha :)

  • Great ideas! Love the idea of trying some new recipes. I tend to get kind of stuck in my ways when it comes to food.

    • Trying out new recipes is always fun!

  • So many lovely ideas here. I’m slacking on the reading front and I’m conscious now is the perfect time to restart!

    Jodie //

    • Colder months are perfect for cuddling up with a book! :)

  • Yes, I’m over the cold and dark days too. I’ve learned to embrace these wintry days because it allows me to stay inside with a good book and also push my creativity in photography + cooking!

    • Staying inside with a good book is always a great idea :)

  • I have been doing journaling for awhile now and it has been so beneficial to my mindset, couldn’t recommend it enough! x

    • It makes such a big difference, doesn’t it?

  • Elizabeth Hisle

    Reading, cooking, and hot baths are always at the top of my list for the coldest, gloomiest winter nights. Plus, it distracts me from the yo-yo weather. Sunday, it was 12 degrees. Tomorrow should be about 60. Choose one of the other, planet.

    • Haha same here! Two days ago I had all the windows opened in the house, it was so warm. Today, it’s 20 degrees and it’s snowing!

  • Love this post! Its very easy on a dark winter evening to lose motivation and waste time! I will definitely be trying to do some of these things this evening!

    Rachael xx.

  • I’ve really gotten back into reading now it’s colder and I can just curl up in my covers, it’s been so lovely

    – Natalie

    • Reading is the best. Add cozy, wintry weather and it gets even better :) lol that rhymed!

  • meg

    Reading is definitely the one thing I’m trying to get into more, especially as I have a pile of books next to my bed waiting to be read!

    Meg | Elmpetra

    • Same here! I must have at least 20!

  • I loved this post! I am planning on re-organising my entire home this Winter whenever I have some free time, I spend so much time in my house during these cold months so it’s the perfect time for it really!

    Lynnsay x

    • Thank you! It really is perfect time for getting organized, as you’re not missing much by staying inside!

  • Fab ideas! Winter is the perfect time to snuggle under a blanket and get lost in a good book. I definitely want to do more of that before spring/summer get here x

    Lauren |

    • Yes! Once spring and summer come around, we’ll all want to spend more time outdoors so it’s great to take advantage of the gloomy weather by catching up on some reading ;)

  • Such a great post! I used to be so into online classes, thanks for the reminder on how much I’ve been slacking ahah . I’ve also been stepping up my reading game, perfect winter nights activity! Next up on my list is cleaning out my closet and donating/selling things I no longer wear. Thanks for sharing : )
    xx Tess | Sequins are the New Black

    • Thanks Tess! Reading is one of the best things to do in winter, especially if you can sip on something hot and delicious while doing so! :)

  • ninegrandstudent

    I’m very much a fan of cooking – particularly if it makes multiple portions to freeze!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

  • Stephanie Hartley

    I’ve really been trying to embrace doing things like this after having such an awful mental health week at the start of the month. Baking, cosying up with a book and writing are all things I want to do more of to help

    Steph –

    • I had an awful start to this year as I lost my granny right before the holidays, so I can relate. Hope you’re doing much better now!

  • Melina Pena

    There are a lot of these things I like to do during a cold winter evening! I really like reading and writing in my journal xxx

    • Love journaling! It can be so relaxing and eye-opening.

  • Loved this post! I like doing a lot of these things and also using Duolingo, a language learning app!

    Katie //

    • Thank you Katie! I actually use Duolingo too, it’s such an awesome tool!

  • Biana Perez

    I’ve been really good about reading to relax after a long day, but I like your idea of trying a new recipe out! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

    • I always have a ton of fun when testing out a new recipe ;)

  • We don’t have winter but we sure do have rainy days. These are really great tips to get out of boredom or loneliness.

    • They’d definitely work for rainy weather too (which, btw is my favorite!)

  • All these make me wanna a cold, snowy evening to happen. ?

    Cristina | *janded

  • Personal growth books are my faaavourite right now – so great to boost your motivation levels during the colder/darker months ♥

    Amy //

  • All such great suggestions! It kind of makes me excited to have a cosy night in!
    Kelly x

  • Natalie Redman

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.