Photo by Lynda Shenkman @kayakerlynda
Words by Katie Hake
You may have heard of the “winter blues,” the term people use to talk about feeling down during that time of year when the sun sets at 4pm and you just want to curl up in a ball and watch Netflix by yourself. Researchers have even found that some people suffer from Seasonal Depression Disorder, also referred to by the fitting acronym SAD. SAD is a type of depression thatusually shows up during the winter months, when the days run shorter and light is harder to come by.
Whether you’re experiencing SAD or simply feeling un-motivated to do anything because, duh, cold temperatures are outside and blankets and hot chocolate are inside, exercise and exposure to more sunlight can help. Luckily, both of these can be accomplished through fun outdoor activities. Below are a few suggestions for how you can stay active this season to fight the urge to hibernate and have a blast outside, instead.
Just because snow is blanketing your favorite mountain doesn’t mean you have to avoid it until next summer. Discover some sparkling winter terrain by snowshoe to see what your favorite summer haunts looks like covered in powder. Fun fact:Hiker Hunger trekking poles come with snow baskets, so you can use them for support even when you’re trekking over deep snow.
2. Enlist a Friend for a Neighborhood Walk
When it’s cold outside, your couch may be tempting you more than it does when you can walk around without a puffy jacket and two layers of pants. Add an accountability buddy to your life to get you outside in the winter, and keep things interesting by exploring a part of your neighborhood you haven’t been to before. Bonus: you can use this time to catch up with friends who are hard to pin down for coffee, but like to exercise regularly.
3. Hit Up Your Nearest Ski Resort
This one may be the most obvious: if you like skiing or snowboarding, winter just means swapping hiking boots for ski boots.
4. Take Winter Wonderland Photos
Whether you’re shooting with your camera phone or a fancy DSLR you got over the holidays, photography is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the winter landscape. Your kids’ snow forts and the views from the top of your favorite winter hikes are waiting to be captured.
5. Try Backcountry Skiing
Not interested in braving the crowds at the resorts? Maybe it’s time to try backcountry skiing and enjoy the glorious, untouched snow you’ve always dreamed of flying through. Just be sure to take an avalanche course before you venture into any terrain where avalanches could be a threat, and do your research on what to bring.
6. Stay In A Cabin
Finally, if you really don’t want to entirely give up the great indoors, consider renting a cabin for a weekend - bonus points if it has a woodstove. Chopping wood to feed the fire will put you in touch with nature, and you may even muster the energy to go on a cross-country ski tour while you’re enjoying the simple things.
However you decide to get outside this winter, find something you enjoy and stick to it. Developing a routine, whether that’s a daily run with a friend or a snowshoe excursion every other weekend, can help you find fun activities that have you actually looking forward to this season.
After all, hot chocolate and Netflix are even better after a great day outside in the cold.
Read more of Katie’s outdoor writing on her blog,The Wandering Adult.
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