How to Survive Winter (and Thrive) | A Couple Cooks

Do you loathe winter? Do you start having existential crises in the colder months (who am I, what am I doing)? Are you in and out of nagging colds? Semi-depressed from the lack of sunlight?

Making it through the winter months is tough for many of us in the colder parts of the world. As a born-and-raised Minnesotan, I’ve slid out of practice after years of residing in a milder climate in Indiana. This year, I’m delving in a bit more with the question: how can we take an emotionally healthy approach to the colder months?

After chatting with Melissa Coleman from The Fauxmartha on our latest podcast episode, we’ve come up with the following tips for how to survive winter together.

  1. Change your mind. Instead of seeing winter as a depressing series of dark days, look at it as a finite season of rest. It’s an opportunity to slow down and take stock. Cultivate thoughtfulness and intention, and prepare for the warmer months ahead.
  2. Hygge. Hygge is the Danish word for cozying up: both with family and friends, and with actual fuzzy soft things. Surround yourself with fluff. Light candles. Drink tea, and warm your hands on the mug. Sit by the fire. As much as I hate to say it, there’s no hygge in summer (my favorite season), so live it up!
  3. Cook more, starting with soups. Everyone’s on the healthy eating train in January, and soups are an approachable place to start. They’re simple to put together and a delicious way to pack in a ton of nutrients without realizing it. A few we suggest: Tomato artichoke lentil stew (pictured above) | Creamy coconut curry pantry soupSweet potato soup with harissa and greens 
  4. Read more. Immerse yourself in a story. As humans we’re captivated by story, and there’s nothing like a good story to pass the time. Alex and I are in a monthly book club and it’s a great way to motivate yourself to finish! A few we’ve loved: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  5. Exercise, indoors. Exercising not only brings physical fitness, but keeps those endorphins flowing to encourage emotional balance. If you can’t bring yourself to go out into the cold, try exercising in your home. Alex and I have found this to be the right fit for our lifestyle, and there are tons of free resources for in-home exercising. Two of my favorite videos as of late: Best Abs Ever by Rebecca Louise, 45-Minute Cardio + Toning Workout by Jeanette Jenkins
  6. Solidarity! This is the first winter where I’ve asked for help from others to get through the season, and it’s already working.

Will you join us? Share with us what you do to survive winter in the comments below, or even better on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #survivewinter.


Listen to our tips on surviving the winter here: Episode 35 Survive winter.


We’d love to hear what you do to survive winter! Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram, mention @acouplecooks and use the hashtag #survivewinter.




About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. This is right up my alley because I absolutely loathe winter. Right after the holidays, I tend to have a drop-off in my psyche. I have little trouble staying satisfied in the warmer months–a lot of that is outdoor activity and avid gardening. So, I definitely get into #1 and do some garden planning. Because I stay so busy during the not-painful months (see, I really detest the cold), I don’t like to schedule indoor activities then. The last few years, I have found that winter is the perfect time to do things I would not want to do in summer–like pottery and Italian classes. It gets me out and about while learning new things I can put to use the rest of the year, when it is blissfully warm and sunny!

  2. I love all of your ideas! Thanks for including your favorite exercise videos. I will check those out! I try to exercise at home when I can’t make it to the gym, but I need someone to tell me what to do. :) I find that exercising totally helps me beat those “winter blues” when I am feeling them. Happy New Year, Sonja and Alex!

  3. Two years ago I told my winter-despising self to embrace winter instead of complaining about it. At first I thought, this is silly. But, it actually worked! I have to remind myself when it’s below zero, like today, but it is liberating. Change your mind, give up the negativity. Embrace winter! Now I need to try this with more important things…

  4. I love this list Sonja. Such practical (and original!) action steps. Being surrounded by so many posts and articles encouraging new goals and resolutions, it’s nice to take a break from deeper thinking and focus on easy, feel-good actions we can do everyday. It’s the small things, isn’t it?! :-D

  5. This is my second winter living in Chicago and the lack of light and short days are the hardest part for me. I’m trying to remind myself it’s just temporary, spring will come. And I’m also trying to look at it not as something to just get through but to maybe even enjoy. Still working on it!

  6. Living at 53^N here in the UK, we certainly know about short days and long nights, driving to work and home from work in the dark – but though it’s snowing enough at the mo to make the cat think twice about heading outside, we don’t often get the shut-you-in winter weather that some of you get in the US. There’s something in me that takes pleasure in the cosiness, the squirrel-like discovery of winter foods, of cooking up big batches of warming, nourishing goodness (today’s is a what-have-we-got-in-the-cupboard coconut rice concoction with cardamom, bay, turmeric, onion and plump sultanas) and hoarding a batch in the freezer to add a handful of nuts to on a busier day. Spring, summer and autumn have their pleasures for sure, but this borderline introvert is cherishing winter right now. Xx