Got the winter blues? 10 ways to feel positive about winter, Scottish style

Deer at Dean Castle, Kilmarnock - A wonderful winter trip to Ayrshire with kids - copyright:

Having taken a winter trip to Ayrshire to find out everything there is to do in this region of Scotland in the colder seasons, I have fallen in love with their way of enjoying winter. So I’ve put together by 10 ways to feel positive about winter, Scottish style.

1. Eat hearty, rich meals

The Scots are great at serving up rich, tasty food that is so warming and satisfying. I lost count of the number of sticky toffee puddings we had, big bowls of sponge cake drenched in sweet, sticky sauce. There is something about the classics too, haggis or even vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties, creamy mashed potato and veggies. This is comfort food at its best. So forget the January detox, I’m all about the rich comfort food, the new diet can kick in when spring arrives.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - Got the winter blues? 10 ways to feel positive about winter, Scottish style - copyright:
Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Waterfront, Ayr

2. Get to the sea

The sea in Scotland is beautiful and in every weather we saw people out, walking by it, sitting watching the waves, even just driving past it. There is something so centering about the ocean, it calms and lets you realise the rhythm of the earth is always moving and warmer days will return soon.

Top 10 things to do in Ayrshire with kids - copyright:

3. Don the knits

Arran wool and Fair Isle knits are perfect for snuggling up in on the coldest days so treat yourself to that special jumper or scarf that makes pulling them on a treat. Wrap up against the elements and enjoy the warmth of a luxurious yarn.

4. Embrace the season

Enjoy the winter for everything it brings. I am really trying to embrace the weather, understanding the earth turning away from the sun as it recovers and rests before springing to life again. This is a great time of year to have an excuse for an early night in or to get out and enjoy it, the early dark sky can be perfect for star-gazing so why not sign up to a class to learn more.

A Starlit sky in the Scottish Highlands
A clear, starlit winter night across Loch Cluanie, Highlands.

5. Enjoy meeting people

The Scots are so friendly and getting out and meting people can lift a day. It’s easy to hibernate but actually that human touch, warmth of a smile or nod of a greeting can make such a difference. Organise tea and cake with friends to lift your mood instantly.

6. Remind yourself of summer

Scotland has some of the best summer scents from beautiful heathers to lavenders and wild Scottish raspberries. Smell has long been known to lift the mood so pick a candle with a fresh fragrance reminiscent of the happiest of summers and light it no matter what the time of day to enjoy a blast of summertime.

7. See the light

It’s easy to stay indoors and hibernate but it’s not good for your mental well-being to do it constantly and just being outside in the light can really help to keep a positive focus. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature has so many benefits. Hire bikes to go for a cycle, take a long walk followed by pub lunch or just make a point of walking to the shop can make a huge difference to a day. It’s a positive way to embrace the season.

Cycling around Great Cumbrae - A wonderful winter trip to Ayrshire with kids - copyright:

8. Allow yourself those sweet treats

Rich butter shortbread and creamy fudges are the staples of Scottish sweet treats and when winter arrives it’s good to allow yourself these tastes of goodness. Indulge in a few little treats or even better have a go at making some of them yourself to help the season feel even sweeter.

9. Enjoy the heritage and history

Stepping into the hallowed halls of one of the many castles which are spread far and wide across Scotland you’ll feel an immediate sense of the history of the building and may find yourself being transported in your mind back to ancient times. There’s a real sense of wonder to these grand buildings where you can lose yourself in their heritage and together with your family, enjoy learning more about the area and how the people of the time relied on the castles for their sustenance and livelihoods. It’s a great chance to step away from the pressures of modern life for a moment and enjoy some of the finest castles in the UK and winter is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them.

Dean Castle, Kilmarnock - A wonderful winter trip to Ayrshire with kids - copyright:

10. Finish the evening with a little tipple

While I’m certainly not advocating over-indulging in alcohol a wee dram at the end of the day is a great winter treat. Invest in a good Scottish whisky, a bottle of Irish Cream or a berry infused gin and make a ritual out of pouring a shot to finish off the day in warming style.

For other ways to embrace winter read about top ways to beat the winter blues, Danish style here.

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  • I really do struggle with this time of year as feel the cold really badly but I am a lover of knitted jumpers so I agree with that one for sure some great tips here for us to get out and about despite the cold weather

  • I love these ideas for embracing the winter. I have to admit I find there is something bracing about getting to the beach at this time of year. I wish I didn’t live quite so inland.

  • Scotland is my absolute favourite (so sad that I live down South!) That sponge cake looks out of this world and Scottish fudge and tablet… oh myyyy god I love it.

  • Couldn’t agree more with point seven! I work in an office 8 – 5 so I get into work before sunrise and leave after the sun sets. Not seeing day light really messes me up! I make a particular effort to leave for lunch and go for a walk to ensure I see a bit of daylight!

  • Rich hearty meals always make me think more positive about winter!! Also just going for a walk on a crisp icy morning can be so refreshing and nice x

  • Comfort food is of course my go-to when it comes to cheering myself up in winter. I do miss the light right now so we’ve been trying to get out as much as possible to soak up every last ray.

  • I struggle a lot with the winter months and getting me out on an evening is just impossible so I love the ideas you have included in this. I honestly don’t think you can beat hearty winter food such as stews and casseroles, totally cheers me up. I am quite a distance from the sea, but as I now have an 11 month old puppy, It could be great to have a day trip as he has never even seen the sea!
    A small beverage at the end of the evening has to be my favourite though!

  • What great ideas for embracing winter. Sometimes when we pick up my partners children for the weekend we head to Brighton beach and enjoy fish and chips in the cold sea sir, something about it just makes me feel warm inside x

  • These are all great Ideas for winter although Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons! Summer and Winter dont really bother me at all and I always tend to see some positivity in everything. Thanks for sharing this awesome tips 🙂

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