Skip to Content

Mix it Up: Ideas for How to Spend Leap Day

Last updated: February 23, 2024

Wisconsinites will recognize the feeling of winter doldrums. They hit at the time of year when we’ve already endured several weeks of cold and dreary weather, and yet many more remain.

With 2024 being a leap year, we get the joy of experiencing an additional day of the winter. So, what will you do with your once-every-four-years Feb. 29 in the midst of cabin fever season?

For ideas, we can look to our friends in Europe, specifically the countries of Norway and Denmark. They offer two different, yet appealing ways to spend winter days. Respectively, they are: embrace winter outdoors and get cozy and enjoy the indoors.

For this last day of February, we’re offering lifeinspired ideas for enjoying your bonus day.

Get Outside

The people of Norway are known to say, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” In other words, even if it’s frigid, snowy, windy, or some combination thereof, you can still enjoy the outdoors.

From a health and well-being standpoint, there’s a lot to be said for spending time outside. Outdoor time can promote a sense of well-being and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

If you’re outside — especially in the winter — you might also become inspired to take part in physical activity, which also benefits your health. Consider spending some time skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, taking a winter hike, or even building a snowman or having a snowball fight. (Provided there’s snow, of course — hello, mild winter!)

In short, if you bundle up and spend even short bouts of time outdoors in the winter, your mind and body will thank you.

Get Cozy

In Denmark, on the other hand, it’s all about hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). This frame of mind is about embracing and celebrating coziness and warmth.

What are some examples of hygge?

  • Snuggling under a blanket for a movie
  • Reading a book fireside
  • Drinking a favorite warm beverage inside while watching the snow fall outside
  • Sitting down for puzzles or crafts
  • Family game night

Hygge can deliver its own health benefits, such as decreased stress, improved emotional well-being, and the potential for increased social connection.

All About Balance

As you ponder how to spend your “bonus day,” consider embracing both the Norwegian and Danish philosophies. After all, it’s good to have a healthy mix of physical activity and rest and relaxation in your day.

So, maybe you go out for a brisk walk and then come inside and enjoy a warm meal and favorite movie — or reading to your child or grandchild.

No matter what, it’s also a great idea to also spend some time in gratitude for our extra ‘leap day.’ And remember, even though Wisconsin weather can tease and torture us about the return of spring, warmer, brighter days are on the way. 

Join the lifeinspired movement to get more ideas for healthy living delivered directly to your inbox.

Tags: hygge Leap Day Mental Health winter doldrums winter recreation

Related Articles

Link to the full post Health & Well-Being Health Care 101

STI Awareness Week Reminds Us to Prioritize Sexual Health

Link to the full post Health & Well-Being

Age in Place with Grace