How to make the cold and dark days less depressing

Winter Self-Care: how to make dark days less depressing and more enjoyable

Fall and winter can be a dark, cold and depressing period. The temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter fast. It may sound extreme, but I actually haven’t seen the sun in a while now, and it won’t get any better until after the new year has started. Moving to Norway has definitely forced me to implement some extra self-care and apartment hacks to make the dark and cold season feel warmer and brighter. I’m sure these tips will make the dark winter days less depressing, and even more enjoyable, for you as well, no matter where you live.

String lights

I see those string lights everywhere these days, and with a reason! They don’t only literally brighten your house or apartment during dark winter days, but they also make everything look and feel like Christmas! The nice thing about them is that they’re brighter than Christmas lights, without making your room too bright, so everything still feels cozy in the evening. They’re also available for outdoor use, and I think they’re perfect to make small balconies more attractive.

string lightsstring lights


Where the lamps bring more light to your day, tea and other hot beverages will easily warm you up during the cold months. There are so many different herbal teas, it’s actually pretty easy to find one that fits the correct season. For autumn and winter, I prefer teas that have cinnamon, cloves or anise (or the combination of them), and peppermint tea is a good fit as well. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the stores, you can always create your own tea blend.


As soon as summer is over, the blanket season starts for me. They’re extremely cozy and warm, and can also make for great decor. Most of the ones in my apartment are plain white, but I also enjoy some that have more colorful patterns. Especially during autumn, when the sky looks gray and the days are generally pretty dark, bringing some color in your home feels really necessary.


Throw blankets in the picture: Bettina Throw Sherpa, Navajo 3 Piece

Read books

Fall and winter are definitely the best seasons to read, wrapped in a blanket in the front of a fireplace. It can also be nice to get a few pillows, blankets and other nice decorations (such as lamps) to create a small reading corner in your house or apartment. I made a small self-care/reading corner like that on my windowsill, and it’s a really enjoyable place to be. I can be productive while also enjoying the view outside my window.


Whenever I see a cute plant, I buy it immediately. And I’m I do so because it makes my living room so much greener and happier. My favorites are definitely succulents and cactuses, mainly because they’re extremely easy to take care of. Every store selling plants usually also sells succulents and cactuses, but Ikea has a lot of really cute ones as well.

plants plants


I’ve always been into self-care and wellness, but it becomes extra important for me during winter. I do hot yoga on a weekly basis, it’s 90 minutes of yoga in a HOT room. It relaxes me, keeps me in shape, and warms me up, which is very important during winter. It’s just so nice stepping into a hot room when it’s freezing outside! And after the yoga session, the cold temperatures feel really enjoyable.

I also have a sauna visit and an after-work massage planned during the next months, but if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on wellness, it’s pretty cheap to have a wellness routine at home. You can practice yoga for free at home, use essential oils and homemade scrubs in the shower, use bath bombs in the bathtub, and use a massage ball or foam roller to give yourself a massage. The massage ball feels a bit better, but it’s easier to access yourself with the foam roller.


Candles are a must-have this season. They’re the perfect decoration, provide warmth and light, and they come in a variety of different smells. Personally, I like a combination of small tea lights and bigger, smell candles. You can also put them as an oil diffuser, to spread your own essential oil blends in your room.


Recommended organic candles: Red tealights, Red pillar candle, Kona Coffee (brown with natural perfume), Pumpkin Spice (orange with natural perfume), Lavender Hills (purple with natural perfume).

Find a new project

Finding a fun project during the colder seasons is only something I started trying out this year, and I love it so far! I’m finally picking up my photography again and documenting how the season is changing in and around Oslo. It makes being outside way more fun, even when it’s freezing or raining outside because I have something fun to do outside and I can complete some goals. You could also try picking up a sport or make it a hobby to try as many different coffee shops or bakeries as possible in your area. Or, if you’re really not keen on going outside, try drawing, writing or playing video games inside.

Essential oils

Essential oils make your room smell more enjoyable, and can also bring the season inside. I wrote a DIY about essential oil blends that fit well into autumn, all based on cinnamon, but you can also try oils that give off a warmer and more summery smell. I usually just put them in an oil diffuser, but you can also use them to make a scrub, moisturizer or perfume. I definitely recommend using an oil diffuser, though. When buying one you can choose from two different types: some work on electricity or batteries, others need a candle inside or underneath to work. While the ones with the candles don’t look as modern as the other ones, they do bring an extra layer of coziness to your place.

essential oil diffuseressential oil diffuser

Diffusers shown in the picture: Oakleaf, Metal oil warmer

Prepare for the holidays

If the darkness is really putting you down, and none of the tips above help, why not start the holiday preparations a bit earlier this year? Try out some recipes for Christmas eve, do some fall or winter DIY’s, go shopping for presents or get the Christmas decorations out already. Or, start planning your summer vacation already (it will be cheaper now)! It’s so much easier to stand the cold temperatures, rain, and darkness if you have something to look forward to!

What are your tips to make the cold and dark days more enjoyable?

This post contains affiliate links, but everything I wrote is my own and honest opinion.

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  1. Love love love! Loveee those string lights. I currently have skull lights up for halloween, but they are strangely soothing. Lol. I have to implement a TON of self care in colder months too, already feeling the sadness of it getting darker so much earlier =/

  2. Winter is my favorite time of the year! I find summer depressing. 😅

    I really love the warm foods, like soup, and ability to wear shorts with sweaters. 😍 It doesn’t snow much in Texas, though—that part is rather depressing. 😒

    I like the idea of stringing the lights! I’ve considered getting some Christmas lights for my room to use and have some lights. I’m actually considering creating a reading “corner” (really just a space alongside a wall), because reading on my bed gets annoying, and reading at a desk starts to feel like work. 😩

    So glad to have contributed to your happy things post; it resulted in me reading a post on your blog, clicking around, following you and enjoying it. ☺ It’s hard to find people who blog about mental health in a respectful way. 😞

  3. I do love the dark Autumn nights, but mostly because I can light them up with candles, while being snuggled up with my owl-blanky and drinking sweet nettle tea. Inspired by this post I dug out my old string lights (the lights themselves are in the shape of stars, awww) and hung them up in the hallway. Cheers babe 🙂
    Katja xxx

  4. Preparing for the holidays is the favourite part of winter for me… I find the time from January onwards more difficult. All the things you’ve listed above are amazing to brighten this time of the year. Im writing this from under a warm blanket and a cup of tea in front of me 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness your. After reading this I want it to be gray outside so I have an excuse to do all these amazing things. I am definitely in the mood of getting plant for the house now.

  6. Always looking at things to keep happy and love the list 🙂 some I’d not even consider doing such as hot yoga! I do love yoga so worth a try. Thanks – love the post!

  7. This was such a beautiful post. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I am from Seattle, but currently live in Ecuador where it is spring all year. This post defiantly made me miss cozy fall nights <3

  8. Love Love your article. Candles! Welcome to heaven. My boyfriend even bought two new blankets which are super cozy and I am walking with them around the house only because I don’t want to let them go haha. Tea omg yes all the time my favourite drink over the whole year. It is warm and fills you whole body with this wonderful warm cozy feeling simply love it. Thank you for the aticle kisses

  9. I suffer from SAD (a depressive disorder which affects you during winter months because of the change in light), so winter really is a dark and difficult time for me. I’ve found that it’s really important that I take extra care of myself during this period, so these little tips are just perfect!

  10. I seem to be the only one that enjoys cold dark days! I love putting my string lights on and my fake fire. I love having to keep warm under a blanket and having my heating on. I am happiest when it is cold (but dry) out.

    Laura x x x

  11. The changes in seasons can trigger mood changes in me because of my bipolar disorder. In those moments warm colorful blanket fireplace and nice book is pin up. It helps me always to return my energy and go trough winter time.

  12. What a lovely post! Always love to read things that promote positivity. I try to keep up with hobbies, and love to cuddle up to a film as it gets colder (feels more socially acceptable at this time of the year)

  13. Loved this post I love fall and spring they are my favorite seasons, winter and summer are ok I guess lol… I love getting cozy though in the winter with my favorite candles and hot coco or pumpkin spice hot drink and watch Netflix all day lol…

  14. You could’ve just put “Candles” and I’d have liked,commented,pinned and whatever else I can do to share this. HEHE, I love candles and an open fire. Perhaps some whiskey in a hot chocolate, you know.. the warm things 😉

    Sending warm hugs! <3

  15. I do love Autumn but do find that the darker nights and the colder weather do make you wish that Spring would hurry up. I love seeing fairy lights around the house as that along with candles make your living space warm and cosy.

  16. Plants, blankets, candles, and tea are definitely my go to for melancholy moods! I absolutely love this article, it’s so practical and definitely does make an impact on the bad days. As a fellow mental health blogger, I really appreciate this. 🙂

  17. Hello Lovely!

    This is such a beautiful post + I luuurve everything you’ve suggested. Right now I’m sitting amongst lavender + geranium essential oil (it smells SO good!), and I also spend a lot of time devouring books. They are the perfect escape from the glum days of winter, and you can’t help but feel happier afterwards. This year I’ve decided to try a new hobby – art journalling, so I’m going to see how that goes and how it makes me feel so I have something else to turn to when I’m feeling glum.

    Great post!

    So much love + happiness,
    Lottie (Little Miss Sunshine)