How to Stay Joyful During the Winter Doldrums

"Winter doldrums" by Colleen Mallette (

Image credit: (2017), CC0 Public Domain

Winter can be a tough time to get through when you live in the upper Midwest like we do. Many days it is too cold, icy, or snowy to even go out. The grey skies most days can drag down attitudes and emotions after awhile. The more the kids are indoors, the more things need to be cleaned and noise levels need to be maintained. New Year’s resolutions may already be a strain to accomplish, leading to feelings of ineptitude. Plus, having an empty house after taking down all of the beautiful, festive Christmas decorations can add to the feeling of doldrums.

Having a routine helps get through the winter months. Having a reason to get moving in the morning even when you know the weather won’t allow you to go out is important. Snow days can be wonderful bonus time as a family, but it can also wreak havoc on a schedule. It is important to be flexible and not let interruptions or uncontrollable changes to your routine upset you.

Staying joyful and positive this time of year can take quite an effort. It is essential for parents to be the leaders of the family and keep everyone uplifted as best as possible. There are many ways to help yourself stay happy; one easy way is having lists of things to do always on hand.

Here are some Winter To Do List Ideas:

* Make a list of outdoor activities no matter the weather – snow sledding or skiing, taking walks, making snow angels or snowmen, going down a snow-covered slide at a local park, bowling.

* Make a list of indoor activities outside the home – visiting the elderly, walking in a mall, meeting friends at an indoor play area, going to Adoration or weekday Mass, volunteering at a soup kitchen.

* Make a list of indoor activities inside your home – playing games, making crafts, coloring, cleaning out closets or storage areas, organizing photos, writing letters to military or homebound relatives, praying a Rosary together, reading books, making a fire in the fireplace and roasting s’mores, watching a movie, doing an exercise class together in the middle of the family room floor, FaceTiming Grandma and Grandpa.

Making To-Do Lists gives purpose and excitement to our days no matter the weather. There are some days you may get through multiple activities on the list. Then there will be other days you may start one item and not even be able to finish it. Either way, it’s all right.  Slowly enjoy each item on your list and make them joyful bonding times for your family. We should be grateful to even HAVE a list of things to keep us busy this winter, let alone the health, desire and time to accomplish them!

What would you add to a Winter To-Do List?

Copyright 2019 Colleen Mallette


About Author

Colleen lives in Ohio and is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.

1 Comment

  1. Crystal Payne on

    In the winter when we’re stuck inside, I like to have the kids help make homemade pasta. Its takes a bit of time, so its not feasible most of the year. But its perfect for a long winter day. The kids like rolling out the pasta and then cooking it. And of course eating it.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.