Winter slows a lot of things down in Boston: T service, the feel of an average work day, and the general activity level of its citizens. A lot of people exercise more frequently in the winter, in order to keep their endorphins pumping while the temperature drops below 10 degrees. For those of us who prefer Netflix to a stairmaster, staying positive and energized can be just as challenging. Here’s how to keep an active mind in Boston until May (early April if we’re lucky).

1. Keep your mind active
As easy as it is to melt three hours away in front of the TV, especially on a weekday, you’re not firing your synapses watching “Homeland” reruns. Since no one is inviting you to a barbecue or to the beach in January, it’s a great time to learn a skill or pick up a hobby.

Think about it: When are you realistically going to have time to learn American Sign Language in June, when your friends want to drive up to Old Orchard and drink beer on the sand? Within Boston, you can sign up for a writing workshop and learn to write down your best bar stories, learn a computer program that will help you at work, or take a course in a language you might use one day (or may never use!)
[Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Globe Staff]

2. Wicked cultah
Museums in Boston offer specials in winter because they know that most of us are playing “Mario Kart” inside and wishing we could look at some sweet, sweet paintings instead. Check out the MFA’s “Mind Bending Film” series or penguin-waddle down to the Brattle in Harvard Square and catch a screening of a film you’ve never heard of. Coolidge Corner is good for weird flicks, as well. Getting out of your house to buy popcorn, meet a friend, and nestle into a theater to watch a movie is much different than pressing “play” on a Netflix documentary. You’re moving, thinking, and problem solving just getting there.

Comedy theaters like Improv Boston and Improv Asylum are busy cranking out their regular schedules, all through the winter, and both theaters have a cash bar available during their shows. Instead of watching “Downton Abbey” on PBS, DVR it and go see Improv Boston’s comedic version, “Downton IB.”

Going to shows is a great way to sweat and feel charged up about something in the dead of winter, and luckily for us, bands come through Boston no matter the season. Keep an eye on our event calendar for show dates.
[Photo credit: John Bohn/Globe Staff]

3. Make the most of your commute
If you get to work on the T or by bus, consider switching up your routine to make things interesting. This can mean getting up earlier and trying a different coffee shop or getting on an earlier train and giving yourself a little time to explore near your office (that is, if you’re in an area with stuff to do.) You can also switch to podcasts or an audiobook for a few mornings, just to see how your energy changes. If you’re into talk radio already, try switching to music for a morning, or change genres. Altering your routine in even the tiniest way can change how you feel about being outside on a blistery morning, especially because it’s a temporary distraction.
[Photo credit: John Blanding/Globe Staff]

4. Get physical
There are ways to use your body without putting in extra hours at the gym or joining a running club. Yoga and meditation change the way you inhabit your body, and taking a formal dance class can make you feel like a new person. Try O2 Yoga in Cambridge or Somerville or JP Centre Yoga to get your chakras realigned. Cambridge Insight Meditation is a great place to relax and meet people who are looking to expand themselves mentally. The center does a young adults’ night one Sunday each month, and they invite beginners on Tuesday evenings.

5. Put stuff in your mouth
Rejoice, broke foodies! Boston Restaurant Week is on in March, and some of the ritziest eateries in the city offer preset multi-course meals at lowered prices, just for people who want to shake off winter but can’t afford to visit Maui and eat pineapple.

Having a couple beers at your local bar’s trivia night can’t hurt your critical thinking skills, and it’s certainly more active and challenging than making boxed macaroni and cheese at home. Check out PJ Ryan’s in Somerville or Sweetwater Tavern near Back Bay.

For those interested in more alcohol, Boston Wine School hosts its “Beer 101” tasting class in January, and the Sam Adams Brewery offers free tours.
[Photo credit: Barry Chin/Globe Staff]