7 Ideas to Make it Through the Last Stretch of Winter

Whether you’re in Ann Arbor or beyond, February can feel like January 2.0 – cold, dull, and draining. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are seven ideas to help get through the last few weeks (or if you're in Michigan, months) of winter.

By Maryam Masood February 22, 2021
U-M campus with leaves changing color in the fall

It’s (still) cold out there. A year ago, winter in Ann Arbor looked fairly similar – snow showers coupled with random, intermittent days of sun, and short daylight hours dragging on for months on end, with the end of the semester still far from sight. Our first pandemic winter has brought additional hurdles, as students grapple with the winter weather on top of the ongoing crisis. 

If you’re in need of some ideas to stay energized (and warm) this winter, look no further!

Get regular sunlight 

If there’s anything you take away from this post, it’s this. It’s so easy to hibernate all winter, especially with online classes, and end up not going outside for days in a row. But we all need light – even in the winter! 

I find taking a walk at least every other day or even just planting myself near windows that catch sunlight (or most days, clouds) while I’m studying/in class helps keep my internal clock in line with my fall semester schedule. (Read: helps me avoid staying up till dawn every night to get work done.)

Me walking to Weiser to get my weekly COVID test.
Me walking to Weiser to get my weekly COVID test.

Stay active

You’re probably thinking, “Not another person telling me to exercise!” (I know). Working out in regular times is not always fun. And getting yourself to work out in the winter is a whole other feat. Rather than bore you with the benefits of exercise, here are two upcoming events to kick-start your physical wellness, put on by IGR:

  1. March 11, 8-10 p.m. | Hip hop class with Flowdom - a free virtual beginner's open hip hop class with the campus hip hop team Flowdom.
  2. March 19, noon-1 p.m. | EveryBODY - a dialogue focused around body positivity, what that looks like, and how we can practice it. And a friendly reminder that we’re still in a pandemic and your ability to focus on your physical health among gym closures and other stressors might look different this year! 

Insulate yourself

Like any cold-weather native will tell you, it’s all about the layers. I find three layers usually does the trick: one base layer, one for warmth, and one water-wicking jacket. Here’s an excellent example.

Try these recipes 

Winter is potentially one of my favorite seasons in part because I’m a warm food snob, and everything tastes better when you’re cold, in my opinion. Since you’re already stuck indoors for most of the day, why not try out some of these recipes? I made chole (Indian garbanzo beans dish) the other week and it was delicious!

Chole, an Indian garbanzo beans dish.

Here are some easy recipes with ingredients you might already have in your pantry (or can access for free through the Maize and Blue cupboard) to get started:

  1. Minestrone soup
  2. Chole Masala
  3. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
  4. Butternut squash lasagna

Watch these cozy shows

The holiday season may be long past, but that doesn’t mean our mutual affinity for feel-good television has lessened at all. Here are some of my favorite cold weather watches (these would go perfect with any of the above recipes!).

  1. Gilmore Girls - A classic staple that always provides a nice escape into a small town bubble.
  2. The Great British Baking Show - I used to think this show was overrated, but then I went through all eight seasons over winter break. This is no Gordon Ramsey cooking show – you are almost certified to leave every episode feeling happy, warm, and ready to bake bread for 100.
  3. WandaVision - This is not a “light” watch in the sense you can just put it on in the background and still follow the plot, but I couldn’t omit this in a list of must-watches for February. I won’t spoil it for people still catching up, but the first few episodes basically replicate sitcoms across the decades in a way that is both nostalgic and disconcerting.

Try out Ann Arbor Restaurant Week 

Restaurant Week is here until Friday, Feb. 26! This is the perfect time to snag some great deals on take-out, attend virtual food demonstrations, or split a meal between your roommates/family members! My personal favorite deals I will be looking out for are the $10 breakfast special to go at Avalon and Miss Kim’s bibimbap demo!

Utilize your wellness days!

For current Ann Arbor students, Wednesday, Feb. 24 will mark our first of two pre-planned Wellness days of the semester (the second will take place Tuesday, March 23). 

Take advantage of these days how you see fit. Whether that means doing absolutely nothing, or catching up on assignments, take the day as a reminder to recenter yourself and prioritize your wellness this semester!

Maryam Masood

Maryam Masood is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in Organizational Studies with a minor in Spanish. During the year, she keeps busy as a student employee for CommonGround and Treasurer for the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Outside of class and work, she enjoys to travel, procrastinating at the CCRB, and is most likely watching Kim's Convenience or Criminal Minds on Netflix.