The winter season can bring about mixed feelings. Leading up to the holidays, the cold and snowy weather is often viewed as merry and bright, but what about after the new year? With a couple of winter months still to come, Lauren Sky – a Dutchess BOCES school social worker - and Salt Point Center student, Colton Schinella, share some tips for families and students to beat the winter blues.

“I think having plans and connections, and just really maintaining that throughout the season is really important,” Sky said. “Find some time to be off of screens and with your family and loved ones.”

This can take on many different forms, such as a family game or movie night, baking project, or craft. These can become routines to provide something to look forward to each week.

When the winter weather is keeping families inside, Sky suggests giving a call to someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time, making gifts or cards for people, and learning new skills. “You could learn to whistle, learn to knit, pick up some kind of musical instrument, or try yoga. Learning a new skill is always a good thing to do.”

Schinella shared what indoor winter activities he enjoys, including playing with toys in his room, building things, and helping out around the house. He looks forward to “making something delicious” with his grandma, including “cookies, brownies, or a cake.” It’s a perfect recipe for combatting the winter blues.

Regular exercise is a good way to keep spirits up during the winter as well, especially with family and friends. Even if you can't do it with someone, Sky shared, you can check in with others and keep each other accountable. “For example, a friend and I both do three sun salutations every day,” Sky shared. “We just send each other like a little sun text after, which adds a little perk to our day.” In addition to exercise, maintaining a regular sleep cycle is beneficial, and can support your immune system.

While staying in the warmth of home is enticing during the winter months, “when you can, go outside, even if it's cold. Bundle up,” Sky said. “Enjoy the snow, do winter activities, and definitely catch as much sunlight as you can.”

Schinella enjoys all that the season has to offer. “In the winter, I play with my sister,” he shared. “We build snowmen, we play with snowballs, we have a snowball fight, and we even make snow angels.”