9 Little Things to Help You Cope Through Michigan’s Winter

For those new to the great state of Michigan, adjusting to winter can be a bit challenging. There is a lot we can do to prepare, right?

You buy the right clothes, make sure you have the right shoes, put cat litter in the back of your car just in case you get stuck in the snow, etc. But what about the little things? Things that are not necessarily necessary for survival, but help us to cope with very Early sunsets and cooler lingers for months on end.

On a Reddit page in Michigan, someone asked,

What are the little things that help you get through the winter and the darkness? I’m not talking about necessities like an ice scraper or a good jacket. I’m talking about the “smaller” (not the tiniest) things that can make a huge difference in your mood.

They went on to list things like comfy socks, a dip in the hot tub, and even a light box. But they are looking for more.

Based on personal experience (as someone who moved here from Florida) and comments from Michiganders, here are at least 9 mood-boosting things and activities that will help you get through the winter:

1. Going outdoors

This was the number one answer when it came to surviving the winter in Michigan. Whether it’s maintaining a running routine (even if it’s outside), enjoying the local nature trails, or stargazing…there are plenty of things you can do outdoors to get you out of the winter chaos. Just make sure you are wearing appropriate clothes.

If you’re particularly interested in stargazing, here are some of the best places to do so around Kalamazoo:

Here are some of the best places to see Stargaze near Kalamazoo

2. Celebrate festivals in and around your city

A Reddit user named in part bythepowerofgreentea said,

Countdown to the solstice and I’m celebrating it DifficultGo to Christmas parades in other cities

What a genius idea. In Michigan, you usually don’t have to travel far to find a smaller town that celebrates the holidays with some kind of festival or parade. If you feel safe, given the pandemic, why not drive 30 minutes to see it all if nothing is happening in your town at the moment?

3. Soup!

The excitement about “soup season” is nothing to laugh about. People take it very seriously. But, whether it’s soup or some other comfort food, definitely use the cold/dark sky as an excuse to indulge in your favorite foods. Plus, trying new soup recipes (I use crock) can be a fun way to pass the time, too.

4. Be creative!

If you’re stuck at home, exploring your creativity can be a great way to forget that the temperature outside is 20°C. Whether it’s painting, drawing, sewing, or something else, surprisingly, this activity can be a great stress reliever. And as a reminder (she tells herself), it doesn’t have to be perfect. This is just for you. Make it what you want! Or, if you’re trying to get creative that pressures you, get the book you’ve been wanting to read.

5. Catch up on these projects

U/diskebbin said,

I try to keep busy with internal projects, so I don’t get bored.

Have you been putting off organizing your closet? Finally putting those photos into an album? Are you sorting through DVDs stacked haphazardly in the corner of your living room? Now is the perfect time. And sure, these projects can sometimes seem like chores that aren’t always the most desirable thing to do especially when battling seasonal depression. But, personally, I find that once these things are done (if you want to do them), I feel like a weight of some kind has been lifted off my shoulders.

6. Puzzles

This suggestion came from u/miley_whatsgood who said,

I’ve never been a big puzzle person, but I’m just starting to get into it and it’s great. It keeps my brain moving while I watch TV.

I can confirm: I never thought I’d be someone sitting at home doing a Friday night puzzle, but, as mentioned in the comment above, it keeps my brain moving. Sometimes distraction is the best way to keep moving forward.

7. Throw in some lights

U/writer commented,

My fiancé and I put Christmas lights inside the window and on the Christmas tree last night. I turned them both on this morning and thought this was the most beautiful time of the year. I also love the LED candles in my windows, they make them so welcoming. I leave them in my windows all winter and it feels great.

It may seem a little “basic” as the kids say, but a little extra lighting adds a sense of comfort to the room. If you live in a small apartment, you can find string lights for $10 or less which should be long enough to provide the desired effect. Or, as the comment above mentions, turn off some LED candles to add to your living room or bedroom.

8. Exercise

I know. Everyone recommends this and it can be very annoying, but in fact, even just 20 minutes a day (or every other day) makes a big difference. If you need motivation, you can find workout tutorials on Youtube or even on free apps like FitOn.

9. Use the default connection

This was not one of the suggestions for the original post but, rather, it comes from personal experience. It’s so easy to get caught up in the feeling that you’re alone, that you’re aloof. In fact, again speaking personally, it is very easy to completely isolate yourself as you struggle to cope every single day (especially in the case of an ongoing pandemic). Zoom calls may not be the same as face-to-face hangouts, but if your friends are away, this is a perfect way to stay in touch.

Wine night? Call your friends in a group virtual session. Spend movie evenings, trivia nights, or just sit in silence if you’d like. As long as you remind yourself that you are not alone.

Surviving the winter, especially if it’s your first, can definitely be a challenge. We hope these little things can help give you some comfort as each cold day goes by.

If you decide to take a road trip to change the mundane nature of winter, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these very strange sculptures that you can see from the road:

Strange carvings spotted from Michigan roads

Or, if you’re in the Kalamazoo area, find a new restaurant:

These 10 Restaurants Make Visitors Fall in Love with Kalamazoo

A First Timer’s Guide To Enjoying The Traverse City Winery Tour

Want to visit Traverse City for a winery tour but don’t know where to start? This guide should help you!


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