As Australia (and New Zealand 😉 ) heads towards winter, the urge to fall into the doom and gloom of the cold season is strong. Here are 10 ways to resist that urge and stay happy over winter.
Perhaps it’s the stark contrast of bright, hot days of the Sydney summer and the gloomy, cold – surprisingly cold – days of winter here. Perhaps it’s the poor to non-existent insulation in the buildings here. Perhaps I’m just getting old.
Sydney’s winters are not much fun. And that’s coming from someone who grew up in the UK. The UK – where daylight only exists between 10am and 3pm, and temperatures can dip way below anything Sydney sees.
SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – is a much bigger problem in places like England.
Still, in Sydney both Mrs Romance and I struggle from May to October to stay upbeat and – more importantly – warm. What a pair of wimps!
Mind you, there are new statistics on just how many people get the winter blues in Australia thanks to new research Cheapflights has gone into. Click this infographic segment to see all the details:
Here are our top 10 tips for ways to stay happy over winter:
10 ways to stay happy over winter
1. Comfort food
I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s salad consumption dips a little over winter. Our advice: don’t fight it. Enjoy the chance to explore some of the amazing slow-cooked dishes that have become very popular recently.
Get those stretchy pants on and make the most of it. Here are a couple of recipes we love to cook over winter, They’re great because you pretty much do the prep, stick them in the oven and forget about them till dinnertime.
Check out our 5-hour slow-cooked beef vindaloo curry recipe and this incredible slow-cooked lamb shoulder and quinoa salad recipe. Both to die for!
2. Make your bed a destination
If there’s one place you yearn for over winter it’s your bed. Make sure you create a place you’re happy to climb into at the end of a cold day but pimping your bed up a bit over winter.
Flannelette sheets, a thick bedspread and – our latest investment – an electric blanket have made our bed the place I dream about during the day!
For more tips on maxing your bed’s snuggle factor, check out our post here.
3. Get all new comfy
We were on assignment in Thailand in the middle of one of Sydney’s winters. We knew the weather we’d be coming home would be very different to the warm shores of Phuket, so we planned it out on the plane home.
Before we’d even unpacked, we headed straight for the shops for new comfy slippers, house pants and long-sleeved pyjama-style tops.
You need to give yourself – as our friend Carly from Smaggle.com says – ‘Permission to Comf’ to stay happy over winter.
4. The beach in winter
One of our favourite things to do during winter is to go to the beach. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But the beach in winter is one of the most cathartic places you can go.
In the UK, we used to do it all the time and even there it was awesome. There’s no one around, the sea is so much moodier, there’s no feeling of guilt from not wanting to go for a swim – it’s the best.
You wrap up really warm, grab a coffee or a hot snack, and when you get back to your warm home, you appreciate it all the more.
Check out our post on Winter Escapes where we stay at Coogee Beach in Sydney’s east for the night.
5. Massage treatments
Treating yourself to a massage is always a good idea – especially to put you in a good mood and relax you. During winter it’s even better. It’s always warm in massage places, the music is so soothing, the smell of the oil and the feeling of being massaged… it’s the perfect remedy to the chill of winter.
Find a local place so that it’s not a long journey back home and you can make that relaxed feeling last longer.
6. A weekend of warmth
Most of us live surprisingly close to much warmer places than where we live – either a long drive or a short flight away. For us Sydneysiders, Queensland isn’t far at all and neither’s Southeast Asia.
For the UK, southern Europe is an hour’s flight away, and Mexico and the southern states of the USA would be perfect for those of you in North America to stay happy over winter.
It might be too far to travel for just a weekend, but 3 or 4 days away would be the perfect antidote to winter blues.
7. Find your winter tipple
I’m not advocating drinking your way through winter – that would be incredibly irresponsible – but how good is a glass of something warming in the middle of winter?
If you’re not sure what to sip on, have a look through our tips on finding a good Shiraz for winter or perhaps something stronger. This is a link to our post on choosing the right whisky for you.
If booze isn’t your thing, how about using the excuse of cold weather to master these amazing hot chocolate recipes from our mate Not Quite Nigella and stay happy over winter!
8. Fire is your friend
There’s something about an open fire in the middle of winter that just works. One of the first weekends away Mrs Romance and I had was in May years ago when we stayed in a little cottage in the Blue Mountains. Curling up with the slow-combustion fire there was amazing.
If you can’t get away or find anywhere to stay that has a fire, try finding a local pub with a fire. Even spending a couple of hours next to some roaring flames is enough to cheer you up.
9. Warm your heart with winter romance
When winter nights draw in, it’s easy to just bunker down and not leave the house. But when it’s cold outside, there are some great opportunities for a bit of romance.
Plus getting outside really helps with the claustrophobia that can set in over winter. Here are some winter date ideas we’ve come up with.
10. Escape the cold completely
Our end-game goal is to be able to avoid winter altogether by chasing the summer. It’s definitely one thing that lots of travel affords.
Travelling to somewhere that is either in summer or simply doesn’t have a cold season doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive exercise. Here are our tips on booking somewhere warm for a winter escape when you haven’t saved for a holiday.
Bonus: Plan summer holiday destinations
If you can’t get away from the winter but you really want to, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming and planning. Instead of focusing on how cold you are now, think about your travel destinations for the coming summer or the rest of the year.
Planning out your summer holidays lets you think more positively about why you’re sticking out the winter, and looking at pictures of warm days and beautiful beaches is way better than staring out the window at the rain, isn’t it?
Find great prices on domestic and international flights here at Expedia.com.
How do you stay happy over winter? Do you get down in the colder months? Talk to us in the comments!