6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in New York
After the lights have stopped twinkling and the Christmas trees have moved from our living rooms to the grounds of city parks, New Yorkers face yet another winter.
January brings plummeting temperatures and rip-roaring winds to the city that never sleeps, and I dread it every year. With so little daylight and so much cold, the winter blues are practically a given. By the time February rolls around––as I’ve done for the past five or six winters––I contemplate moving to a warmer climate with more sunshine and milder days. Yes, even I, as much as I love New York City, wonder if I can hack yet another frigid three months.
The winter blues in New York are practically a given.
Honestly, winters in New York are tough. They’re cold, dark, often cloudy, and not nearly as social as the other three seasons, which explains why SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects a percentage of city dwellers. Most of us New Yorkers barely leave our apartments on the chilliest days, so even on the sunny days we don’t get much natural light because the sun sets as early as 4:30 or 5 p.m. To avoid the freeze, New Yorkers huddle inside where their compact living quarters provide a toasty refuge. Or, they break out of hiding as a result of cabin fever, only to shop for necessities at the closest market, dine in their favorite restaurant, or grab a beer at the corner pub.
Some only get a glimpse of daylight first thing in the morning before ducking into the subway, or for a few moments running through Midtown to a meeting. To thrive, humans need more than a quick flash of the sun’s rays each day, and eventually, the lack of Vitamin D takes its toll. Hence, why we need to create ways to beat the winter blues every year.
Even counting the days to spring can help beat the winter blues.
As I try to remain positive, keep my energy up, and stay on task, I count the days until I get a peek at spring, which in NYC doesn’t necessarily mean sunshine, blooming tulips, and chirping robins. Our winters can last through March and even into early April, but once spring hits, it’s absolutely glorious.
Right now, it’s not spring, but almost mid-January, so we’ve just gotten started. This winter, no matter how bone-chilling and never-ending, I’ve resolved to get through it with grace, and perhaps even enjoy it a little bit, which is why I put together a list of ways to beat the winter blues in New York.
Experiment in the kitchen.
Since I tend to stay in more during winter, cooking becomes one of my pastimes. Saturday nights are ideal for trying a new recipe, and then hopefully eating it after spending several hours slaving away in the kitchen. (And if it’s inedible, there’s always delivery.)
Manicure. Pedicure. A haircut or blowout. A day of shopping inside (think the Shops at Columbus Circle). A bubble bath. Taking time for myself and doing something out of the ordinary will not only make me feel better about the cold weather, but better about myself. A day or evening at the salon will surely lift my mood.
Invite friends over for wine or cocktails.
Winter is the perfect season to entertain inside my cozy New York apartment. All I need to do is throw some dates out to friends and get a night scheduled. My bar is stocked and I always have a few great bottles of wine on hand, so get ready to imbibe at my place.
See a new exhibit.
A stop at the Museum of the City of New York, MoMA or the Guggenheim could be just what the doctor ordered. Indoor cultural activities appeal to me most on cold or rainy days, so this time of year encourages me to venture out to see a new exhibit. January is ideal for museum-going, don’t you think?
Take a trip somewhere (anywhere) warmer.
I’ve escaped winter weather for Barbados, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Even a few days of intense heat and sun readies me to tackle the remainder of winter in New York.
Embrace the season.
Finally, as dismal as these frosty months can be in New York, wintertime brings opportunities to don sweaters, boots, scarves, and other cold-weather paraphernalia. I vow to forage deep into my closet and pull some of my favorite yet forgotten wearables to the front so I can change up my wardrobe, and maybe even put together a few new looks. I almost have to remind myself how much I love winter fashion. And then, before I can wear every wooly accessory, spring comes knocking yet again…
How do you beat the blues in winter?
A light therapy lamp can help lift your spirits, as can aromatherapy.
Also, reasons to visit New York in winter. Plus, fall-winter escapes.
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