4 Hobbies to Banish Your Winter Blues

Woman pouring wax into a candle maker.
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.

As a certified water-sign-identifying (Cancer), beach-loving, sunshine-obsessed person, summer is my favorite season. My whole life, after the holidays wrapped up, I’d wish away the months leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, just counting down the days until summer began. 

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a change in my experience of winter. Slowly, without even realizing, I stopped hating it. I’ve come to appreciate winter as a time to look inward, recharge, and embrace coziness. Plus, it’s an opportunity to try out different creative ways of passing the time, especially on those precious snow days. Read on for four unique hobbies to pick up when the days get short and the weather gets snowy!

Channel your Pinterest board with candle-making

During the pandemic, a friend from college picked up candle-making as a hobby and gifted me with a candle when we could finally see each other again. Since then, I’ve always wanted to try! 

The main items that you need are a heat-proof container, soy wax, a candle wick, and fragrance oil. You can spice up your candle by adding toppings like dried flower petals, berries, cinnamon… the list goes on. Bonus points for getting creative about the container, such as using a cute mug or DIY ceramic bowl. (Just make sure they are non-porous and heat-proof!)

Do your part to slow climate change by composting

A friend recently shared that she composts in her Brooklyn apartment. My jaw nearly dropped– I thought only people with backyards could compost! It turns out I was wrong. There is an entire compost community right here in NYC. In fact, the city website has an entire section dedicated to drop-off composting sites, complete with an interactive map to help find the location most convenient for you. 

You can start with a mini compost bin from Target or Bed Bath and Beyond, and start collecting food scraps like banana peels, apple cores, uneaten veggies, etc. In between drop-offs, you can keep scraps in the freezer so they don’t smell. Easy! 

Connect with nature by birdwatching  

I took an ecology class in college and one of our projects was birdwatching through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this project, especially during the typically boring and cold months of January, February, and March. Plus, during the winter, it’s so much easier to see birds when the trees are bare! The Cornell Lab offers a bunch of “Citizen Science” projects to engage the general public to start paying attention to the birds we encounter in our daily lives, whether it be in our backyards, community parks, or on the walk to work. 

Start an Etsy side hustle (or win at gift-giving) with cross-stitch needlepoint

As I’ve been Christmas shopping this season, pretty much every gift guide I’ve seen has a cross stitch/needlepoint kit or item on the list. They are such cute, personal little eruptions of joy that anyone can try their hand at making. Cross stitch is the beginner version of needlepoint, but both are both a means of practicing creativity and relaxation simultaneously, by creating something beautiful and peaceful with your hands. This cross stitch kit from Bando caught my eye, as well as these beginner kits from Etsy. I’ll definitely be giving them a try this winter! 

So whether you’re a summer-lover like me or a certified ice king/queen, winter has something for everyone: time. Time is our most precious resource, and quiet, cozy winter days cooped up at home can provide opportunities to test out different hobbies like these. Enjoy! 

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Francesca is a devoted cat mom (and Taylor Swift fan) currently living in New York City. She is pursuing a Masters degree in teaching. In her free time, she loves visiting museums, hiking/spending time outdoors, and reading. Her favorite Starbucks order is a chai latte with almond milk.