Hey everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday season. I know I am recovering *still* from eating my weight in snickerdoodles and chocolate ball cookies, as well as three different Christmas dinners between my family and Josh’s.

Anyway, the holidays are officially over, and it’s back to school and work. My dad has always said that “January 2nd is the worst day of the year,” and I have to agree with him. On January 2nd, the holidays are officially over. There are no more costumes to make, turkeys to roast, or cookies to bake. There are (likely) no more presents to wrap or family parties to attend. To make matters worse, if you live in a gloomy place (like much of the Midwest), the winter blues and dreary weather can last from January through March (or even April).

I always struggle to get myself motivated to be active in the evenings and weekends during the cold winter months. It is dark, dreary, cold, and uninviting. However cold and long the months may be, it is crucial to stay active! I have compiled a list of 10 different activities to beat the winter blues, tailored especially to those living in Ohio (with some specific suggestions for those who live in Cleveland). However, if you live in another state, you can easily modify the suggestions to fit where you live

Let’s Beat those Winter Blues!

Go Ice Skating Outside

Ice Skating outdoors is one of my favorite ways to get fresh air in the winter. Plenty of cities have ice skating rinks located outdoors, usually in their downtown areas. My personal favorite rink in Cleveland is “The Rink at Wade Oval” located in university circle. There is also a rink in Downtown Cleveland at Public Square.

Most of the rinks are fairly cheap, and they offer hot chocolate and other snacks as well. I used to associate ice skating with only the Christmas season, but it has recently become one of my favorite activities during January and February!

Click here for a detailed list of ice rinks in Northeast Ohio. If you don’t live in Northeast Ohio, a quick google search will help you find an ice skating experience close to you!

Ice skating at Wade Oval!

Hike at a Local Park

There are hundreds of hiking trails in Cleveland’s metro park system. Spend a Saturday morning with your significant other or your dog and see all of the wildlife that Cleveland has to offer. The winter blues are easy to beat when you’re really enjoying where you live!

As long as there isn’t a snowstorm or slushy rain, hiking in the winter time can be peaceful, quiet, and not very crowded.

When Josh lived in El Paso, one of our favorite pastimes was to hike in the mountains. Although Ohio is a very flat state, we still have lots of beautiful wildlife and outdoor space to enjoy. I usually like to leave my phone at home (if I’m with someone else) and just enjoy being outside.

Click here for a link to the Cleveland metropark’s hiking trails!

Josh & I hiked this weekend while at my family’s holiday party!

Take a Day Trip to Ohio City

If you are in the Northeast Ohio area (or anywhere within an hour or so of Cleveland), consider taking a trip to Ohio City. This is by far one of my favorite areas in Cleveland (I plan on doing a post about it in the near future!), and it is definitely worth a day trip.

From the breweries, restaurants, and bars on West 25th to the West Side Market, you certainly will not go hungry. There are also cool galleries showcasing local artists and fun Ohio-owned boutiques to visit. Click here to visit their website and plan your trip.

There are plenty of neighborhoods similar to Ohio City across Ohio & the U.S.! If you do a quick google search, you should be able to find a similar spot to visit.

Take a trip to your local zoo

Ohio is home to six different zoos, located near most of our major cities! Although most people associate the zoo as a spring or summertime activity, zoos can actually be quite fun in the wintertime. There are rarely any crowds, so it is an optimal time to see many of the animals without interruption. Although some animals aren’t around during the winter months, there are still plenty to visit. AND, it’s a perfect way to get outside and beat cabin fever.

Here is a list of Ohio’s zoos.

Visit Hocking Hills

I mentioned hocking hills in one of my previous posts (click here to read it!), and I’m bringing it up again because it is one of Ohio’s hidden gems. January-March is usually their slow season, so cabins are cheaper. You can bring a group of friends for a long weekend (like me and my roommates plan to do in February), or you can make a day trip to hike and explore!

There is plenty to do, even when it is freezing cold. Click here to check out their website!

Find a favorite restaurant

My parents make it a priority to have a date night at least once a week, especially during the winter when it’s hard to get out of the house except to go to work or run necessary errands. Because it is so cold, they usually don’t like to travel far, so they pick a nearby joint each year. Even if you don’t have a significant other, it can be fun to have a regular place with friends or coworkers. I know Condado’s Tacos is popular in Columbus. 🙂

Spend a day in one of your favorite neighborhoods

It’s easy to forget how much there is to do in your own town. Grab a hot chocolate, coffee, or tea and explore your local neighborhood. Maybe visit a family-owned bookstore or see if you like any clothes in a cute boutique. The options are endless, especially in the Ohio area, believe it or not!

Make dinner

This seems like a necessity more than something to beat the winter blues, but it can be fun if you put some time and thought into the process. During my break from school, I hosted three of my roommates in Cleveland. The first night they were in town, I whipped up some homemade shrimp tacos, and it turned out to be so much fun. From hunting down a good recipe to grocery shopping and meal prepping, it took almost a whole day! It was a great way to forget about the cold weather and enjoy spending time with the people I love the most.

Take a Saturday (or any day!) to make dinner for your family, friends, or significant others. It’s relatively easy (and can be extremely affordable!)   

Visit a botanical garden

Luckily, Ohio is home to some of the best botanical gardens and arboretums in the country. They are a perfect way to feel like you’ve escaped to another part of the world right in your own neighborhood. I love that Cleveland has a Botanical Garden so close to my house (Khloe Kardashian even brought her daughter there!). Click here for a list of Ohio’s botanical gardens & arboretums.

For those of you that don’t live in Ohio, here is a list for you!

Enjoy this time

It’s easy to get caught up in disliking the cold weather and wishing for warmer months. Take a weekend to stay inside the entire time, binge-watch TV, and hang out with the people you love the most. It’s the best time of year to do this because you can blame the weather for making you stay inside all day!

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this post. 2019 has finally arrived, and I am so excited to see where the future takes this page! 🙂