Beating the Wisconsin Winter Blues
February is a bluesy time of year for many people. Holiday cheer is in the rearview mirror, but spring still feels a lifetime away. New blankets of snow start to feel more like a chore than a delight. It’s so tempting to hole up in your home and wait out the season. But the best way to fight off the winter blues is by raging against the weighted blanket and Netflix option. Head into the community. Get outside, give back, and find some stimulation and excitement. Luckily, the city of Madison has plenty of opportunities for winter fun.
Get Outside in Snowy Madison
I totally understand why your first reaction to this would be NO WAY. But fresh air is good for your health, even if that air is a bit icy. But temperature isn’t a bother if you have the right layers. Keep your body moving, and you’ll work up a nice inner toastiness before too long. Layer up with merino wool base and ski bibs and head outside for some winter fun.
Strap on some skis and explore the city’s best cross-country trails. Cherokee Marsh South, Turville Point, and Yahara Hills are groomed weekly after a snowfall. You can also check out the Blackhawk Ski Club and the CXC Outdoor Center in Middleton. If you’re in for more of a thrill, check out the downhill skiing and tubing at Tyrol Basin.
To learn more, this article outlines all the best ski hills in the Madison area.
Lake days aren’t just for summer! When the lakes are frozen there you can get out onto the water with snowshoes, fat tire bikes, or even a boat. Ice boating is one of our favorite traditions (although prepare yourself for the wind chill!).
We look forward to winter hikes every year. Snow-covered pine trees and frosty lakes look straight out of a postcard. Watch for wildlife as you trek into Indian Lake County Park, Door Creek Park, and Yahara Hills.
Did you know Madison has 19 different ice rinks and lakes? Rentals and tickets are only a few dollars. Just be sure to check the conditions before you head out onto the ice (safety first!)
Get Pumped about Madison Sports
Pour yourself a beer and head to the court. We’ve all got some pent-up energy right now… channel it into cheering for our awesome local teams.
Hockey games are ALWAYS high energy. The Madison Capitols play regularly at the Capitol Ice Area. The season ends in April and tickets are only $11-33. You can also catch Badger games for only $5.
Badgers basketball runs through March. In December the Milwaukee Bucks mascot went viral when he broke the rim during the halftime show dunk. Will Bucky Badger do the same? Buy a ticket to a game and see for yourself.
Try a new sport for yourself! We highly recommend checking out one of Madison’s climbing gyms. Indoor climbing gyms are both warm and stimulating. The sport exercises both mind and body. When you’re on the wall it’s impossible to focus on your winter blues… if you do… you’ll fall (onto safe thick pads, of course).
Delve into the Arts and Culture Scene
The art scene in Madison is thriving. This winter the city is hosting an immersive Van Gough exhibit at Greenway Station. You can also check out new exhibits at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art or the Chazen Museum of Art.
There are also several theatre productions worth attending at the Bartell Theatre, Forward Theatre Co, and symphony experiences at Overture.
A guaranteed way to rid yourself of the winter blues is by giving back to the community. A 2006 study by the National Institute of Health found that when people volunteer or give to charities it activates the brain region associated with pleasure, creating a “warm glow” effect. Altruistic behavior releases endorphins. It boosts your own mental health and contributes positively to your community. There are plenty of amazing organizations in Madison that need volunteers.
- Habitat for Humanity
- Food Pantries
- The Urban League of Greater Madison
- ARTS for ALL Wisconsin
- The Wisconsin Innocence Project
There are so many more! Click here to view a full list.
Improve your space
Your home plays a big role in coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder. In what ways could your home better support your mental health? Denmark is the darkest, coldest country in the world. And yet they’re the happiest country in the world. Their secret is the concept of hygge. It means curating a lifestyle where you delight in life’s small pleasures. Revel in the luxury of coziness. Would the flickering light of a fireplace help you cope with early sunsets? Could larger windows bring in more natural light and boost your vitamin D? If you’re looking to improve your space, let us know. That’s our specialty.