Free, cheap, sober… 10 verbs for chill(y) days and nights

A sober queer zinester offers a winter to-do list you won’t mind crossing off one by one. 

I like winter. I like the sharp cold and snow when it’s not wet or salty. But I know winter is ruinous on many people in my personal and community life. Here are some tips to help ease the impact during the season.


1. Read new books and zines! Visit a different library or bookstore weekly. My favourite used book stores in Toronto are ABC Books or Seekers. I just finished Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles and am starting A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver.

2. Journal Journal every day. Write your thoughts. Write about your feelings. Write without filtering or editing.

3. Host a weekly or monthly dinner with your friends that roams between places each time. Let each person ask a question for everyone to go around and answer. Non-alcoholic mulled apple cider is easy to spice and warms the spirit.

4.Visit an indoor plant conservatory or greenhouse. Many are public and free. In Toronto, I visit Allan Gardens Conservatory. Plant life, warmth and free entry.

5. Watch a free movie alone or with friends. Many colleges, universities and community groups host free screenings. In Toronto, there are Free Friday Films at Innis Town Hall.

6. Make an affirmation deck alone or with friends. Pull a random card each day. See The Affirmations Deck by Planned Parenthood Toronto for inspiration, or ask around for recent profound insights.

7. Write a gratitude list regularly.

8. Roll your own tobacco or herbal cigarettes. For an herbal mix, try passionflower and skullcap to relax, plus lavender for flavour.

9. Volunteer. Do some service for others by sharing your energy and time. Many drop-ins, food banks and harm reduction services always need extra help. At Pieces to Pathways we do harm reduction kit making regularly.

10. Dance! Dance a lot: in your room or at a rave. At a party, dance in front of the DJ so that you don’t have to focus your energy on anyone or anything besides the music.


Faith is a mixed race non-binary transfeminine artist, grassroots community organizer, and writer. They co-founded Pieces to Pathways, a peer-led substance use support program for queer and trans youth. Their Instagram handle is @living.not.existing.