How To

Why Reading is a Great Path Out of the Winter Blues

Laura Marie

Staff Writer

Laura Marie is a writer and teacher in Ohio. She reads one or two audiobooks every week, loves falling into a good cooking memoir, and debates feasibility of tech from sci-fi books with her husband.

The weather may be gray or may be cold, and most days, it is going to be both of those. The days can easily make you want to sleep in and stay under the covers all day long. However, there is a solution (the same solution we at Book Riot often propose): books and reading! You’d be surprised by how much books are pretty much tailor-made for getting rid of the doldrums in mid-winter.

Why reading is a great path out of the winter blues. winter blues | cures for winter blues | reading and health | reading habits

Transport Yourself Elsewhere

Most of us, even the snow-lovers out there, need a break when it is cold and gray for a long time. Our list of 6 Summery Reads might be just the ticket for leaving your current circumstances and feeling like you’ve truly escaped the cold. The best books don’t “feel” like reading. They feel like exploring, battling, learning, speaking, and all the other things the characters do. When we choose to read during times that are quiet and cold, we give our brains a chance to live the exciting life implied in a book.

Perfect For Staying Warm

So many fun activities, other than skiing, maybe, really require it to be a little warmer than winter usually offers. By choosing reading as your winter-blues go-to, you get to do something while ensconced in an excellent blanket. Many choose to get a great cup of tea to go with their reading habit, since a cuppa can be a further fight against the bitter chill. There is something about making your physical body feel extremely safe and comfortable while reading that makes it even more fun to read a truly chilling psychological thriller or an exciting mystery.

Cozy Up With Those You Love

Children often are some of those who get the most “cooped up” with too many days of inhospitable winter weather. If you are one of the intrepid people spending a lot of days and hours with little ones who cannot run outside right now, reading is the solution. You can check out our list of Cozy Books for Preschoolers to help you amass a stack of books they will happily read again and again. As a family, you can choose to declare one or two nights a week “reading nights,” and everyone from babies to teenagers can convene on the most comfortable furniture in the home.

Making sure you have some quiet time together can really help you feel truly surrounded and loved, which cannot hurt when it is so cold and uncomfortable outside. Winter may get you down in the dumps, but getting people you care about together can help. In fact, if you live alone, consider starting a reading club, just to spend time together reading, or join a book club for new friends and new chats about books!

Learn Something New

One of the best ways to beat the blues is to remind yourself of all the exciting knowledge out there in the world. Books can be one of the best ways to be a “lifelong learner.” Think about something you wish you had learned about more in school or college. That might be the exact thing for you to look up at the library; the book that will teach you the basics is right there. Whether you pick up a programming language or a history of the night sky, learning something new makes you feel like you are progressing and growing even when outside the plants aren’t changing at all. If you want to combine two strategies, get a book or two about gardening, which will teach you something while also reminding you of the warmer weather to come in a few months.

Use Audiobooks To Spend Winter Exercising

Many people find that part of the winter blues is simply that they aren’t moving around as much, and our bodies beg for movement in many cases. Find a way to exercise, whether it’s a few floor calisthenics at home or a good hustle on a treadmill, and put your audiobooks to use. By listening to audio while you work out, you get just as many benefits for mood stabilization but also get to be a little distracted when you are feeling the burn. It’s helpful to feel like you are getting the exercise that will help you stay positive during these tough months, but it doesn’t hurt to feel like you are running alongside an adventuring heroine rather than just sweating at the gym.


No matter why you choose to read, books can be a major player in the fight against the winter blues. By proactively seeking out your local bookstore or library and getting some delectable reads, you are more likely to have a smooth transition through winter. Before you know it, the little flowers will be pushing through the earth again; no need to stop reading a lot of books just because it gets warm, though!