We’re well and truly into Autumn now, and it won’t be long before we slip into Winter.
If you’re one of the many people who suffer with the winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, then you might already be feeling like curling up and hibernating with a Game of Thrones boxset (while hoping that our winter doesn’t last anywhere near as long as the ones that Old Nan liked to talk about).
According to the NHS 1 in 15 people in the UK struggle with SAD.
So you’re really not alone in feeling down as the days get colder and the evenings get darker. It’s thought to be down to the fact that in the winter we’re exposed to less natural light, so our bodies produced more melatonin, making us feel more lethargic and generally a bit down.
There are some things you can do to help get you through though, because if you’re anything like me when it comes to binge-watching then that boxset won’t last you the whole winter.
A study carried out by Conner et al. last year found that creative activities can improve our sense of well-being.
Specifically, they found that engaging in a creative activity one day, leads to a boost in positive emotions the next day. And feeling better makes us more inclined to engage in those creative activities again, and so we feel another boost and so on in a lovely little upward spiral.
Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be an artist or even a particularly creative person to get these benefits. There are all sorts of creative activities you can try this winter that don’t require you to be amazingly skilled. Remember, no one will be judging your efforts when Spring rolls around!
So, to get your creative juices flowing, here are 7 different things you can try this Winter:
- Creative writing
Grab a blank notebook and a pen and get writing. Who knows, you might have a bestselling novel in you! If you’re not a natural story writer though you could try other forms of writing, like poetry. If traditional poetry feels too intimidating then give haikus a go, they’re pretty fun to put together!
You could also go down a slightly different route and write some letters to your children. Maybe put a little scrap book together, of your memories of what it was like waiting for them to arrive. Your favourite memories of them so far. Your hopes for their future. Anything goes really.
- Knitting and crocheting
These hobbies have had a bit of a revival in recent years, and have become a pretty trendy thing to know how to do. And there is something cosy about the idea of curling up on the sofa of an evening, with a load of wool and creating something.
If you’ve never done it before then you can get a book on knitting or crocheting for beginners easily enough, or check out some of the videos on YouTube to get you started. My friend has basically taught herself how to do it this year and what she makes now is amazing. If you want something to inspire you, check out her Etsy shop – JoJoDesignsOnline.
Just remember to be kind to yourself, allow yourself to be a beginner. It might take some time and practice but once you’ve learnt the basics you’ll be away and the dark winter evenings will fly by!
- Cooking and baking
If you’d prefer a creative activity that gets you up off the sofa then cooking and baking could be the answer. Dig out your old family recipe book, or spend a bit of time on Pinterest to get some recipe inspiration, then get making!
To get you started, you could try my really easy slow cooker carrot and lentil soup which is so lovely and warming to eat on chilly winter days. Or if you’re more in the mood for something sweet, then my recipe for chocolate ginger bites should hit the spot!
- Drawing and sketching
For the more artistically inclined, grabbing a sketchbook and some pencils and getting sketching could be a great option. If you find yourself staring at the blank pages of your sketchbook, with inspiration not so easy to come by then Pinterest is your friend. Just search on there for something as simple as ‘what to draw’ and you’ll find so many ideas to get you going.
Taking the last idea one step further, you could give painting a go. There are so many options with painting that you’re bound to find a style to suit you. You might discover a natural talent for watercolour landscapes, you never know!
Even if paint-by-numbers is more your level, it really doesn’t matter, as long as you’re enjoying yourself and being creative.
- Playing an instrument/songwriting
Dig out your old recorder from your school days and see if you can still remember how to play three blind mice on it. Or step out of your comfort zone and find a local music teacher to help you learn something new. If writing is more your thing, then try your hand at songwriting instead. You could even team up with a musical friend to come up with a melody and some lyrics together.
I’ve saved one of my personal favourite creative activities for last. Photography can be such a great hobby for sparking your creativity. And I love how you can practice indoors on wet, gloomy days but it can also give you a push to get outside to capture some landscapes or fun outdoor photos of your family.
It doesn’t stop when you press the shutter either. Playing around with editing your photos can also be a lot of fun. Try various filters to find a style you like. See what photos work well as black and white rather than colour images. Then get some of your pictures printed and spend a few evenings sorting them into albums, designing a scrapbook around them or planning some fun ways to display them in your home.
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get a bit creative this winter, and that it goes some way in helping to keeping the winter blues at bay.
What are your favourite creative activities? Do you find you naturally spend more time doing them in the colder months?