How outdoor activities can help you beat the winter blues

Jan 23 2024

A man and woman look up at a waterfall towards the camera

Winter is a typically cold and dark season, leaving many people feeling low. In fact, the NHS says that the winter blues affects 2 million people. So, if you’re feeling sad or irritable this month, you’re not alone.

Happily, there are ways to fight this feeling. Getting outdoors can be a fun and fulfilling way of spending your winter. Here are four ways outdoor activities can help you beat the winter blues.

A boy does archery

Try something new

The first few weeks of the year are a time when you return to day-to-day life after the excitement of the December holidays. So it can seem like there’s less to look forward to. But now you’ve got more time and it’s a fresh new year, it’s the perfect time to try something new. In fact, learning new skills can improve your emotional wellbeing. It boosts your self-confidence, help you connect with others, and give you a sense of purpose. So, start the year off with an exciting new activity - whether it’s a one-off experience or a fun new hobby, like cycling or sailing. It can be a perfect way to shake off the winter blues.

A group of friends share food around a bonfire

See friends

When you’re feeling sad and cold, it can be tempting to stay inside and avoid spending time with others. However, loneliness can make you feel worse, particularly when you’re already feeling low. Enjoying a fun outdoor activity with friends and loved ones is a great way to socialise while you’re getting active . Seeing people who care about you can also help to remind you that you’re not alone and that winter will be over soon. Gather a group of your friends, bundle up in your coats and scarves and go on a wholesome winter walk.

If you’ve decided to pick up a new hobby or try an outdoor experience, you can also give it a go with your loved ones. Try swimming, orienteering, or choose a new team sport. You can also visit an outdoor centre to meet new people and join a community who are as passionate about your new activity as you are.

Two boys and a woman peer over benches at a screen

Make the most of midweek activities

You don’t need to keep all of your adventure activities to the weekend; weekdays can be fun too. Go abseiling on a Wednesday. Try bushcraft on a Thursday. Breaking up your routine and adding in some exciting outdoor activities into your calendar can energise you during an otherwise quiet month.

Adding new activities into your week also doesn’t need to be expensive. There are plenty of low-cost adventures you can enjoy at Hampshire Outdoor Centres.

A girl in a purple jumper and yellow hat holds a climbing rope

Get an exercise fix

Exercise can improve your mood and sleep, and boost your confidence, but it’s important to keep your activity choices manageable for you. This is true whether you want to train for a marathon or you’re looking for a gentler form of exercise. The NHS says that as long as you’re raising your heart rate, breathing faster, and feeling warmer, then the exercise you’re doing will benefit your health. So outdoor activities like mountain walking and rock climbing are solid alternatives to traditional cardio.

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If you need urgent or crisis support, you can contact the Samaritans for help.