7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

January 1. The calendar is blank, a fresh year is before you. It is an awesome feeling. We head back to school refreshed (I hope) after time spent doing those things we love. We make resolutions to do better.

Winter Blahs

…and then the month wears on. The weather is cold(er). The sunlit hours of the day are short. The art shows are looming. The calendar is filling up. Being stuck inside is wearing on everyone. The holiday pounds are still hanging around. Ah, how quickly the winter blahs can attack.

Keeping yourself rocking that new year’s motivation is important.

Here are a few ways to fight the winter blahs.


1. Re-Focus on Your Resolution! I have been doing the one word resolution for the last few years and I love it. Creating something with my word helps me keep it in focus throughout the year and it allows me to “get creative.”

2. Go Get Creative! As art teachers we are creative people, but it is easy to let the hustle and bustle of life get in the way of creating for ourselves. Setting aside time to create is so good for my mental well being. Sometimes I work alone, sometimes with my kids and sometimes I invite my friends. No matter what, creating always is a good thing.

3. Challenge Yourself! Is there a class you have been wanting to take? Is there something you have been wanting to learn? Make now the time to do it. I have taken a Saturday class at our local art center, signed up for a book study at the library and done free classes from the local college. Learning something new or doing something you didn’t know you could do is a great motivator.

4. Go Somewhere! This doesn’t have to be a trip to Cabo (although that would be great) but getting out and going somewhere can be exciting. It can be as simple as a trip somewhere in town you don’t usually go or a weekend trip to a nearby destination. We are planning on taking our kids for an overnight shark reef camp out at the zoo this February. Definitely something to look forward to.

5. Get Active! This time of year I can really start to feel sluggish. Going to exercise class, running on the treadmill or taking my kids to the YMCA for swimming all help. It might seem counterproductive to get up at 5 am to work out, but it really does help improve my productivity throughout the day.

6. Make a List! This time of year at school can be daunting. There isn’t another break for a long time, the kids are cooped up, state testing and art shows are looming. It can seem like a lot, but we have done it before and we will do it again. It helps me keep my sanity when I simply write a list and check things off as I go. Making a list of art show due dates, state testing blocks and due dates for grades helps me keep my focus and prevents those “I forgot and now I am up all night” work sessions.

7. Make another List! Keeping a separate list for home will keep things manageable. Plus, crossing things off of TWO lists will help you realize all you’re accomplishing. Be mindful when writing your to do list to keep the tasks small; “Organize bedroom closet” is a lot easier to check off the list than “Organize all the closets.” It is a silly mind trick I play on myself, but it helps me feel more accomplished.

I hope the end of January finds you blasting through the winter blahs and staying motivated.


What new challenges are your tackling this year?

What fun ways do you beat the blahs?




Jennifer Carlisle

Jen is a middle school art teacher from Norfolk, NE who loves exploring and teaching art through traditional and digital art mediums.


  • Mr. Post

    The only thing that works for me is sunshine. Fortunately being an art teacher means there are frequent breaks in the school year to get away to someplace warmer than Michigan in the winter. In our family we set up a direct deposit bank account so we always have money set aside for vacations. It’s important to remember to pay yourself first – saving for retirement, vacations and future goals before the money just disappears a little bit at a time out of your wallet.

    • Jennifer Carlisle

      Sunshine is AMAZING. My grandfather had this advice for us at his 80th birthday… make travel with your family important, that’s when memories are made. So glad you do that!