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Winter hobbies to take up right now

Illustration of a woman and a child baking cookies
Image Credit: Cheyenne Dockstader, Ian Indiano

If you’re anything like me, you probably consider winter to be optimal hibernation time. We tend to burrow indoors this time of year, and due to COVID-19, we’re forced to seclude ourselves more than ever.

But in the bleak winter months, hunkering down without staying busy can lead to seasonal affective disorder and anxiety. That combined with COVID-fatigue could mean a rough winter for those of us already struggling with our mental health.

With this in mind, here are some fun ways to fill your time in the snowy season.


Knitting is the ultimate time-killer. It requires focus and patience, but is also an easy task to keep up while kicking back with a holiday movie. Start simple with blankets and scarves, and work your way up to sweaters and mittens. The sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a knitting project is enough to beat the winter blues. Plus, your creations will make perfect handmade gifts for your loved ones.


In the Northern Hemisphere, the stars are never brighter and more visible than they are in the winter months. A drive up to northern Ontario in January might even result in a glimpse of the elusive aurora borealis. A step outside into the cold winter night may give you a chance to see a neighbouring planet or the Crab Nebula.


The smell of baking cookies is enough to evoke the memory of Christmases past, but the fun doesn’t have to end with the holiday season! Remember the start of the pandemic, when we all stayed home and tried to bake bread? Clearly there’s something about this chemical process that brings us some kind of comfort. Fill the house with the warmth of freshly baked goodies the next time a winter storm hits.


While we’re in the kitchen, how about saving some money and pickling your own vegetables? Pickling is not the same as fermentation, which means it’s actually pretty easy and can be a fun few hours. You really only need four main ingredients: vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, and classic pickled cucumbers are some of the most common options. But feel free to experiment; you can quite literally pickle anything.

Winter birding

Okay, this one might take some exploring outside the city. Some birdwatching in winter will open your eyes to a range of wild birds that love a frigid Ontario winter. The snowy owl, Northern Cardinals, and black-capped chickadee can all be spotted in this area in the winter months. A rare sighting is the snow bunting (also known as snowflakes). These white-bellied birds usually live in high altitudes in the Arctic but migrate south to Canada and the U.S. for winter. A pair of binoculars and a warm winter jacket is all you need to take in these majestic animals.

Card games

If you’re lucky enough to live with other people, a card game is a great way to get everyone around the table for a few hours. Bridge, euchre and war only require one piece of equipment to get the games going: a deck of cards. Throw in some chips and try a game of poker. If you do live alone, there are still options like solitaire and emperor that only require one player. Card games make a great alternative for those of us looking at cutting back our screen time.

Movie marathons

So maybe not everyone is trying to cut back on their screen time. If that sounds like you, then a solid movie marathon may be what you’re looking for on a winter afternoon. Winter makes the perfect time to hunker down with a bowl of popcorn and screen every too-long movie franchise that no one usually has time for. Watch every Godfather movie, every Twilight movie (for a good laugh), or sit down and actually sit through every Lord of the Rings movie. Or, take a different approach and try watching every movie by a certain director, like a Tarantino marathon.


It’s never too late to learn a new dance style. There are tons of tutorials for many different genres on YouTube, including hip-hop, shuffle and contemporary. This is a great way to work out at home, have fun, and maybe even share some new routines on TikTok.


We can all agree that the year 2020 has been a mental, physical and spiritual test to us all. Learning to meditate, even for 15 minutes a day, will reduce anxiety and keep you feeling more centred while dealing with school and COVID-fatigue. It will also help you to gain new perspectives, as well as increase imagination and creativity. You can learn using numerous meditation apps, or find a YouTube meditation channel that resonates with you.

Rediscover your old favourite music

When was the last time you listened to that one record that changed your life, even years back? Maybe now’s a good time to revisit yourself by listening to music from times you haven’t had a chance to reflect on until now. This activity also creates opportunities to reconnect with old friends and family members who may have shared those favourites with you. 

Outdoor Winter Sports in London

Skiing & Snowboarding

Even amid COVID-19, the hills around London will be open when the season starts and they’ll be calling your name. Skiing is actually not as daunting as it seems, and cross-country skiing can even be quite relaxing and peaceful. Picture yourself gliding along a wintertrail, taking in the shining forests in the dead of February. Then there’s the best part of a day out skiing: lunch by the fire in the chalet after.

Illustration of people skating in bubbles at Victoria Park
Credit: Ian Indiano


While London’s outdoor skating rinks won’t be open this year, indoor rinks have been available for use since late October. Every Canadian should try to hit the ice at least once in their lifetimes. Falling down is all part of the fun.


Could we even get through a list of winter activities without mentioning the ultimate Canadian pastime? Trust me, it’s still fun as an adult. Grab your toboggan and hit a quiet hill for a few hours. An afternoon out sledding is only topped by the obligatory hot chocolate when you get home.


Looking for a more challenging winter activity? Snowshoeing helps to build your quads, hamstrings and calf muscles, while providing an exhilarating outdoor workout that can significantly reduce stress levels. Circle R Ranch is located in Delaware, just outside of London, and offers 4 kilometres of tracked snowshoe trails in addition to its 13 kilometres of trails for cross-country skiing.